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 Ronai Rivera 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 Ronai Rivera 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 https://blog.humanepa.org/?m=202110

 

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Pet Appreciation Week: Henry’s Story

June 1st, 2022 | Posted by Ronai Rivera 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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