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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Prepare Your Pets For Natural Disasters

May 10th, 2022 | Posted by CCadmin1* in Animal Rescue | Animal Welfare | Emergency Preparedness | Humane Pennsylvania | Natural Disasters - (Comments Off on Prepare Your Pets For Natural Disasters)
By: Humane Pennsylvania Community Outreach Programs Manager, Alexandra Young

In 2005, I spent several months in Louisiana doing animal rescue and recovery work after Hurricane Katrina. Of the 250+ cats in our care at the Alley Cat Allies base camp in Bogalusa, LA during that time, only 11 pets were reunited with their owners. Although some progress has been made since then, human evacuation shelters do not automatically accept pets in the same areas where their owners are living (called co-sheltering).

In 2010, as a direct response to the outcomes of Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Citizen Corps declared May 8 as the National Animal Disaster Preparedness Day to raise awareness and encourage pet owners to actively plan for their pets’ safety long before a disaster strikes.

Why Being Prepared Is Important

Some thoughtful planning and a little research will go a long way when you find yourself and your beloved pets in an unexpected situation.

In our area of Pennsylvania, we don’t have to worry too much about natural disasters like hurricanes and tornadoes. However, severe weather here can easily lead to flooding. And no matter where you live, you can be affected by a local water main break or power outages due to high winds and ice storms.

A more common scenario, and one that’s often overlooked, includes auto accidents. Dogs can easily be thrown from vehicles — especially if they’re smaller, sitting on your lap, or near an open window. A crate secured with a seatbelt is generally considered the safest method to transport a dog.

New safety products are always emerging, although few pet seatbelts/harnesses are actually crash tested. However, there are some products that have been independently reviewed that may increase the chances of your dog surviving a car accident. [1] [2]

Remember: Your pet will observe your behavior and mirror your energy — especially during an unusual, chaotic situation. The key to calmness is advanced preparation: Envision the difference between trying to corral your loose dog with…your bare hands, or maybe a belt, versus clipping a sturdy leash to his well-fitting collar! Taking the following steps now can significantly reduce everyone’s stress later, regardless of the scale of “disaster”.

How To Get Prepared

Get Ready

  • Pack a “go” bag of your pet’s essentials: medications, food and water for several days, extra collars, leashes, and/or harnesses, and a favorite toy/scent article. Pack a duplicate bag to keep in the car if you travel often with your pet, and be sure to rotate medications so they stay fresh.
  • Consider investing in a solar-powered battery pack for your phone, water treatment tablets, and a solar-powered weather/emergency radio. Pack these in your personal “go” bag with other human essentials.
  • Regularly incorporate positive association tasks with your pet so traveling and confinement (crates and carriers) are normal places for treats, toys, and relaxation.
  • Create a first aid kit that covers basic needs for both you and your pet in case of minor cuts, scrapes, insect bites, or other minor injuries. Large towels make great slings and can act as padding or absorbent material.

Be Current

  • Keep your pet’s vaccinations and microchip registration updated in case you need to board them or stay at a pet-friendly hotel. Pandemic schedules are still causing longer wait times for veterinary appointments, so don’t wait!
  • Ensure your vet’s records are easily accessible, both on your phone and as hard copies in your vehicle. Use a PVC pipe with threaded end caps to store hard copies that show yours and your pet’s veterinarian’s contact information, along with your pet’s most recent vaccination history and medical conditions.
  • Keep digital and hard copies of current photos of you with your pet in case you get separated. It’s especially important to show multiple views of markings on cats.

Stay Informed

  • Keep a list of local boarding kennels (preferably with veterinarians on-site), pet-friendly hotels, and the local animal shelter if they offer emergency services.
  • Research your county’s disaster response agencies and keep their contact information handy.
  • Confirm if any local agencies offer co-sheltering options during disaster evacuations.

Extend Your Family

  • Identify one or two trusted people who can access and care for your pet in case you are separated, injured, or otherwise unable to do so.

Humane Pennsylvania Maintains Disaster Preparedness

Humane Pennsylvania is home to the Berks County Animal Response Team (CART), which works directly with the Pennsylvania State Animal Response Team (PSART) and serves as the primary Eastern Pennsylvania large-scale emergency distribution resource for pet food and supplies. We are gearing up to deploy emergency supplies for up to 1,500 animals.

We attend ongoing training with the Berks County Department of Emergency Services and coordinate with numerous other county agencies to prepare for a variety of disasters, including chemical spills, radiation contamination, and severe weather damage.

Our organization also supports families and their pets by offering temporary foster housing for needy pets in emergencies. PeNet has been recognized by Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as a “Government Innovation” program. Find more information on both of these programs and much more at humanepa.org.

 

[1] https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/care/collars-harnesses-leashes-muzzles/dog-car-harnesses-review/

[2] https://www.whole-dog-journal.com/lifestyle/small-dog-car-safety/

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