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How to Reduce Leash Pulling

Leash pulling is one of the most common frustrations expressed by pet owners. Dogs pull, which makes them difficult to manage, leaving many pet owners unable to provide their dogs with the exercise, stimulation, and enrichment they need. While leash pulling may seem like more like a frustration than a behavior problem, it should be addressed and corrected as soon as possible to prevent more difficult issues from developing.

You will find a number pet products out there that claim to fix the pulling behavior, however nothing will completely solve the problem without actual training. Below are a few tips to help get you started with the training process. If you need further support, we suggest contacting one of our behaviorists or reaching out to your local trainer.

Pick Your Equipment
The Harness Lead and the Easy Walk Harness are both great choices. The Harness Lead is a leash and a harness all in one, and the Easy Walk offers an easily attachable harness that clips at the dog’s chest, essentially turning them around when they attempt to lunge. For stronger pullers, a head collar may be appropriate. This works similarly to a bridle on a horse, but must be used carefully and acclimated slowly. We suggest visiting with one of our behaviorists to discuss options.

Teaching A Heel Command
Once you’re ready, it’s time to begin teaching your dog that good things happen when they walk at your side. Try walking just one or two steps, stop to reward your dog, and then repeat. It is important that you reward your dog with the hand that is closest to your dog as it helps train and reinforce where he is to walk. For example, if your dog is walking on your right side, offer the treat from your right hand. This will help reinforce your dog to come back to the location of the treat, ultimately walking on the same side and with a loose leash. Continue this reward exercise, slowly fading away the treats as your dog becomes more and more reliable.

How To Address Pulling
Pulling is very simple in nature. All it means is that your dog wants to get to to a destination faster than you are allowing him to. Why does your dog pull? Because it has worked in the past. We fight it, which reinforces the pulling, so we give in, which also reinforces the pulling. You have to retrain a new behavior to override the existing behavior. To do this, you have two choices. First, when the leash begins to gets tense, abruptly change direction and head another way. When your dog joins you at your side, reward him. Your other option is to stop completely and back up until your dog is back at your side again. Reward, and then move forward.

This is not easy training, but it works. For pet parents who train using this technique, it works permanently. Consistent training sessions of no more than 5 – 10 minutes are all it takes to have a dog that walks beautifully on leash.

Derby Brackett, CEO

There’s a saying I seem to remember more than most over the years…’The only constant is change.’ Throughout the years, the VBSPCA has been recognized as a constant in our community despite the multitude of external changes. This past year was a tribute to that saying as the organization worked through an unexpected leadership transition. From the beginning of our organizational shift, Derby Brackett has been another constant.  Derby is a former VBSPCA Board member who initially volunteered to assume the reins of the organization as our Interim CEO. Through this past year, she has gone above and beyond, exceeded the Board’s expectations, and united the staff like never before. While our focus, of course, is the animals in our shelter, the clinic, and the community, without our BOD and staff’s support and efforts, the animals we serve day in and day out wouldn’t be able to receive the treatment, rehabilitation, and attention they deserve. Derby’s influence, guidance, and leadership is to thank for our recent success. It’s my distinct pleasure to announce Mrs. Derby Brackett as our new Chief Executive Officer. This change has brought a constant to our organization and we couldn’t be more excited about our future.  -Scott Taylor, VBSPCA Board Chair

After serving for one year as Interim CEO of the VBSPCA, Derby Brackett has stepped into the position permanently. Brackett is originally from Richmond, Virginia, but she’s been a Virginia Beach resident since 2017. As the Chief Executive Officer of the VBSPCA, she will bring vision and stability to the organization while continuing to further and serve the mission that has guided the VBSPCA for over 50 years. Her most recent professional experience includes 10 years in an Executive role at Goodwill of Central and Coastal Virginia. Prior to that, Derby worked with Ukrop’s Supermarkets, a family owned, values based grocery leader in Richmond. Her experience is based in project management, communications and advocacy, and servant leadership, with a firm focus on strategic visioning, solutions grounded business, and community impact. She also serves as a member of the board of the LIFT Fitness Foundation and is an active member of 757 Angels.

While in her 12 month stint as Interim CEO, Derby established clear values for the organization, and her groundwork will be a guiding force in all that lies ahead for the animals and people of the VBSPCA. The Virginia Beach community can look forward to an animal shelter driven by empathy, compassion, dedication, collaboration, innovation, and joy, all pillars of an organization that seeks to serve.  

Derby enjoys all outdoor activities including running, biking, skiing, walking the dog, and, lately, has tried paddle boarding. But most of all, loves spending time with her husband, Doug, and extended family including her black lab, Rainey Storm.

“I feel that I have come full circle in my career- making the transition from human services to animal welfare provides me with great opportunity to provide leadership and create impact in an arena in which I have been most passionate since childhood. I can put my BS in Zoology as well as my long-time values-based leadership skills to work together! I am humbled and honored to serve the skilled staff, engaged Board of Directors and most of all, the animals in our care.”  -Derby Brackett

Compassion in the Community | May 2019

Our community is blooming with compassion this May! We have painting workshops, kitten showers, the VBSPCA’s first ever Paw Crawl, and – of course – the Pungo Strawberry Festival, plus a variety of other events where you can feel good for a good cause. Read on for more!

Thursday, May 2nd – Paint For A Cause! (Sold Out)
Paint your Pet Night for the VBSPCA is back by popular demand, but this time we’re being hosted by MUSE Paintbar! The VBSPCA is receiving a portion of all ticket sales, so your participation in Paint Night will support the VBSPCA shelter animals. This class is beginner friendly with lumify technology, which illuminates your pet’s photo right onto the canvas making the painting process a little bit easier. Didn’t get a ticket in time? Visit our events page to check for future Paint Your Pet Nights benefitting the VBSPCA!

Saturday, May 4th – MEOW-er Shower
Spring brings kittens! Join Norfolk Animal Care Center, Norfolk SPCA, Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center, Virginia Beach SPCA, and Chesapeake Humane Society at MacArthur Center’s Center Court for our first-ever regional kitten shower! Enjoy non-alcoholic “meow-mosas,” kitten-face painters and selfie stations, cat-centric tunes, and even some adorable adoptable kittens! You can also find out how you can volunteer, foster kittens, or bring much needed supplies. Click here for more information.

Saturday, May 4th – Home-a-Rama
What better place to find a forever home than at Home-a-Rama? Stop by the dog park at 3833 Whites Landing in Chesapeake between 12pm-3pm and socialize with some adorable adoptable dogs from the VBSPCA! Please note that adoption applications will not be available and must be completed at one of the VBSPCA locations.

Saturday, May 4th – Landstown Spring Fling
Come join the fun at Landstown Community Park on Monet Drive, 12pm-5pm, for the Landstown Community Spring Fling! There will be bounce houses, pony rides, a chili cook-off, music, and more! Plus, the VBSPCA Pet Supplies and Adoption Center will be there with pet products for your four-legged family members. See you there!

Sunday, May 5th – Cinco de Meow: A Children’s Painting Workshop
Celebrate on Cinco de Meow with an animal-themed paint class for kids! This class will be led by Heather Donis Designs at the VBSPCA’s main shelter, 1pm-3pm, and each child will take home their very own 11 x 14 canvas. This workshop is for kids ages 7-12 years and will include a tour of the shelter, critter time, and snacks. Registration is only $35 and seats are limited so register now!

Saturday, May 11th – Poochella
PETA’s multi shelter dog adoption event is happening at Bea Arthur Community Dog Park and Playground from 11am to 2pm. The VBSPCA is among the 12 local shelters and rescues participating. Be prepared to meet a lot of cute dogs, all looking for loving homes!

Monday, May 13th – Give Local 757 Kick-Off Party
Join us on the eve of Give Local 757 and help us kick off our fundraiser with a party for the pups! We will gather at Hot Tuna on Shore Drive for an evening of food and drink specials, raffles and prizes, and yes – dogs. All dinner and bar guests who say they are with the VBSPCA will have 10% of their tab donated back to the organization. Click here for more information and to check out the raffle prizes!

Tuesday, May 14th – Give Local 757
Give Local 757 is Hampton Roads’ biggest giving day of the year, when the community rallies together to support local nonprofits to make an impact in all the good work being done right here in our community. This year, the VBSPCA is dedicating all funds raised through Give Local to our Dog Yard Expansion Project. This project will give our shelter dogs more space, expanding our current count of 10 dog yards to 24 with over 8500 square footage of outdoor play space. Click here to find out how you can how you can help give our dogs more space, sunshine, and more play!

Saturday, May 18th – VBSPCA Paw Crawl
Join us on May 18th from 3-6pm for our first annual VBSCA Paw Crawl! We will be crawling to local pubs around the 31st Oceanfront corridor, all in support of homeless animals. Each participant will receive four (4) drink tickets and a commemorative VBSPCA Paw Crawl Stein! This is a dog friendly event, so bring your pup, bring your friends, and get ready to party for the animals! AND, if you wear a VBSPCA T-shirt, you will get a free raffle ticket and a chance to win one of our prizes! Click here for more information and to register.

Saturday, May 18th – Woofstock
Enjoy bands, barks, and brews at the first ever Woofstock! Bring your K-9 companion out to Red Wing Park, 3pm-7pm, for an afternoon of fun with live music, food trucks, “Doggie Dates”, a photo booth, specialty vendors and more. The Virginia Beach SPCA will be there with high quality pet products for your four-legged fur-baby, all in support of a good cause! Admission and parking are free. Check out the Facebook event for more information.

Saturday, May 18th and Sunday, May 19th – Petsmart National Adoption Weekend
It’s that time again! The VBSPCA’s four-legged canine friends will be visiting Petsmarts in Landstown Commons and Pembroke. Stop by between 12pm-2pm and meet your new best friend!

Sunday, May 19th – VBSPCA Kitten Shower
Spring has arrived, and the Virginia Beach SPCA will be collecting much-needed supplies for our foster and wildlife programs. Stop by the main shelter at 3040 Holland Road from 1pm to 3pm for food, games, and find out how you can become a life-saving foster volunteer! For a list of items to donate, click here

Wednesday, May 22nd – Tales and Tails: Children’s Workshop (3 years and under)
Join the VBSPCA from 9:30am-10:30am for tea time, story time, and cuddling some adorable VBSPCA animals. This is a “mom and me” style event for children ages 3 and under, inviting parents (dads are welcome!) to enjoy some quality time together while also benefiting the animals of the VBSPCA. This event will include an animal story, an animal-themed craft, cuddle time, and light refreshments. Registration is only $10* per child. Register here.

*If you are a VBSPCA member, please contact humaneeducation@vbspca.com to receive your discount code.

Saturday, May 25th and Sunday, May 26th – Pungo Strawberry Festival
This Memorial Day weekend, come out and enjoy live entertainment, arts and crafts, pony rides, food, and fun at the 36th Annual Pungo Strawberry Festival! Make sure to stop by the VBSPCA tent and pick out some of the best pet toys for your best friend at home! All proceeds help the animals at the VBSPCA. Visit the website for festival details.

All Year Long – Sustainable Support
Let your dollar make a difference every time you purchase your pet supplies at VBSPCA’s Pet Supplies and Adoption Center. Carrying a full line of cruelty-free toys, treats, supplies, and nutrition, the VBSPCA Pet Supplies and Adoption Center in Kempsville has everything you need to keep your pet healthy and happy. Plus, 100% of the proceeds help animals find loving homes just like yours!

Give animals a second chance at finding forever homes of their own when you shop at Second Chance Thrift on Shore Drive, where a portion of all proceeds are donated to the VBSPCA!

Help homeless animals anytime you buy groceries at Kroger! Simply sign up, swipe your Plus Card when you shop, and a portion of the sale will be donated back to the VBSPCA! Sign up to participate here.

Become a Member
As a VBSPCA Member, every adoption we complete, every wildlife animal we rescue, every child we reach, and every pet we treat in our clinic connects back to you. YOU make our mission possible, and all it takes is $10 a month. Plus, VBSPCA members receive exclusive perks and discounts in gratitude for their dedication to sustaining our mission! Interested? Click here to find out how you can become a VBSPCA Member.


The Virginia Beach SPCA is incredibly grateful for the continued support from our local community. If you are interested in hosting a fundraiser or event supporting the VBSPCA, please contact Jessica Traynor at jessica.traynor@vbspca.com.

Children’s Activities at the Virginia Beach SPCA

The VBSPCA Humane Education Program is gearing up for the Spring and Summer seasons, and we have lots of activities in store for kids of all ages. We have one day workshops, half day workshops, and week long camps, and we’ve even added our popular Vet for a Day workshops to our summer schedule! All of our humane education programs have been designed to cultivate kindness and empathy in children while also providing fun, enrichment, and education.

Descriptions and registration info for each event can be found at the bottom of the page.  

May
May 5 | Cinco De Meow – A painting workshop
May 22 | Tails and Tales – Stories, teatime, and critter cuddles

June
June 17th -June 21st | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 6-9)
June 24th – June 28th | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 9-12)

July
July 8th – July 12th | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 6-9)
July 15th – July 19th | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 9-12)
July 22nd – July 26th | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 9-12)
July 29th | Intro Vet for a Day Workshop
July 30th | Advanced Vet for a Day Workshop
July 31 | Kitten Around Workshop

August
August 1st | Junior Trainer Workshop
August 5th – August 9th | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 6-9)
August 12th – August 16th | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 9-12)
August 21st |  Kitten Around Workshop
August 22nd | Junior Trainer Workshop
August 20th | Advanced Vet for a Day Workshop
August 26th – August 30th | Animal Adventure Camp (ages 9-12)


Workshops

Cinco de Meow – A Children’s Painting Workshop
Celebrate on Cinco de Meow with an animal-themed paint class for kids! This class will be led by Heather Donis Designs, and each child will take home their very own 11 x 14 canvas. This workshop will include a tour of the shelter, critter time, and snacks. Registration: $35

Tales and Tails
Join the VBSPCA for tea time, story time, and cuddling some adorable VBSPCA animals. This is a “mom and me” style event, inviting parents (dads are welcome!) and children ages 3 and under to enjoy some quality time together while also benefiting the animals of the VBSPCA. This event will include an animal story, an animal-themed craft, cuddle time, and light Refreshments. Registration: $10

Kitten-Around Workshop
This one-day workshop is purr-fect for kids who love kittens and who want to learn all about kittens (and cats) and their care! This workshop also includes kitten-related activities and crafts. Kitten-Around workshop requires a minimum of five campers registered, three weeks in advance, to avoid cancellation. All Kitten Around workshops are at the Virginia Beach SPCA Main Shelter from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Registration: $85

Vet for a Day Workshop:
Vet for a Day is an educational program that exposes your child to a potential career in veterinary medicine. With both introductory and advanced workshop options, children ages 6-12 are invited to participate in a fun exploration into the veterinary world. Workshops include a tour of the facility, an introduction to animal sheltering, and hands-on time with our veterinary staff. There is a limit of 12 students per workshop – Spots fill quickly! All Vet for a Day workshops take place at the the main VBSPCA Shelter. Registration: $85

Junior Trainer Workshop:
This one-day workshop provides an interactive dog-training experience for children ages 6-12. In collaboration with the VBSPCA Pet Academy, junior trainers will get a head start on learning how to humanely train a dog. Whether you have a dog at home or your child is just a dog lover, this workshop reinforces compassion, empathy, and kindness. This workshop also includes dog-themed crafts and activities. All Junior Trainer workshops are at the Virginia Beach SPCA Main Shelter from 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM. Registration: $85

Week Long Animal Adventure Camps
These camps offer a behind-the-scenes look at an animal shelter, guest speakers, animal inspired arts and crafts, field trips, critter time, and more. Camps are broken up into two different age groups: 6-9, and 9-12. Nine-year-olds have the option to participate in the age group they feel most comfortable with. Animal Adventure Camps begin the week of June 17th and run Monday through Friday from 9:00 AM until 4:00 PM at the VBSPCA Shelter. Registration: $275

To register for Camps, Visit vbspca.com/camps
To register for Workshops, Visit vbspca.com/worshops

April Showers Bring May Flowers, and Some Flowers are Toxic

Spring is finally here! But did you know certain flowers are lethal to your pets? Before you bring those beautiful blooms inside, be sure your four-legged family members are safe! One of the most popular flowers this time of year is also the most toxic: Easter lilies. Here’s what you need to know about these lethal lilies.

Lethal Lilies  

Toxic to: Cats
Level of toxicity: Moderate to severe
The most dangerous lilies for cats are “true lilies” from the Lilium and Hemerocallis species. Benign lilies, like Peace, Peruvian, and Calla lilies, are still moderately toxic to your cat but not as dangerous. Examples of lethal lilies include:

  • Easter lilies
  • Asiatic hybrid lilies
  • Japanese show lilies
  • Rubrum lilies
  • Stargazer lilies
  • Red lilies
  • Tiger lilies
  • Western lilies
  • Wood lilies (Lilium species)
  • Daylilies (Hemerocallis species)
  • Even small ingestions – including pollen or water from the vase – may result in severe, acute kidney failure.

Common signs to watch for:

  • Low or no appetite
  • Lethargy and/or hiding
  • Vomiting
  • Drooling
  • Increased or decreased thirst or urination
  • Diarrhea
  • Painful abdomen
  • Difficulty breathing

If you suspect your cat may have ingested any part of a lily, or any other potentially toxic substance, immediately take them (and the plant) to your veterinarian or local emergency vet as soon as possible for treatment.

24/7 Hotlines are also available:

  • Animal Poison Control Center (APCC): 888-426-4435 ($65 consultation fee may apply)
  • Pet Poison Helpline: 855-764-7661 ($59 per incident fee applies)

Identify the breed of your mutt!

Have you ever wanted to know which breeds have come together to create your lovable mutt? Is he part German Sheppard/ part Husky? Part Jack Russel Terrier/part Golden Retriever? Well, you can find out.

In honor of National Pet Parents Day, which is coming up on April 28th, the VBSPCA is hosting a raffle for a Pet DNA kit provided by EasyDNA! You can get a pack of 5 tickets for just $4 at either the VBSPCA main shelter on Holland Road or the VBSPCA Pet Supplies and Adoption Center in Providence Square Shopping Center. Stop by today and enter to win this paw-some prize valued at $79!

Rules of Entry:

  • Winner must be at least 18 years old, have a valid photo ID, and provide valid and legible contact information on ticket.
  • Winner will be contacted by the VBSPCA by phone or email provided and is responsible for responding to VBSPCA within a week of being contacted. Winning ticket will be void if winner does not respond within one week.
  • Must be able to pick up the DNA kit at the main shelter by May 31st, 2019 during operating hours. Schedule pick-up by emailing outreach@vbspca.com. Winning ticket will be void if pick up is not completed by May 31st, 2019.
  • Winner is responsible for performing and submitting DNA kit. This raffle is solely for DNA kit and does not include any additional services.
  • Must show photo ID to confirm pick up.

For more information, email info@vbspca.com

Compassion in the Community | April 2019

It’s time for spring and sunshine! From egg hunts to Earth Day, there’s lots of ways to celebrate compassion this April. Take a moment to meet adoptable animals out in the community, plant a flower in honor of a loved pet, have fun at a festival, or sit back and enjoy a drink at a Yappy Hour. There’s something for everyone, and we hope to see you around!

April 1st-April 28th – Enter to win a dog DNA kit!
Rescue pets make the best pets, but what breeds make up your best friend? Starting Monday, April 1st, enter for a chance to win DNA My Dog Breed Test by EasyDNA. You can get 5 raffle tickets for only $4.00 at our main shelter on Holland Road and at the VBSPCA Pet Supplies and Adoption Center. The drawing will be held on Sunday, April 28th in celebration of National Pet Parents Day! For more information, please visit our website.

Wednesday, April 3rd – VBSPCA Pet Remembrance Ceremony
We welcome our community to join us as we celebrate the companionship and love that only a pet can provide. Stop by 3040 Holland Road anytime between 4pm to 6pm. Flowers will be available for a donation to plant in our Memorial Garden in honor of a beloved pet.

Saturday, April 6th – Bayville Farms Dog Park
Meet some of Virginia Beach SPCA’s adoptable dogs at Bayville Farms Dog Park, 12pm-2pm, for Cassie Taxter’s Rescue event. Inspired by her own rescue dog, Hudson, Cassie wanted to raise awareness about the importance of adoption for her senior project. We are so pleased that Cassie asked the VBSPCA to participate in her adoption awareness and supply drive. Compassionate people like her make all the difference. Thank you, Cassie!

Saturday, April 6th – ODS Spring Scavenger and Egg Hunt
Old Donation School is hosting their spring egg hunt with eco-friendly prizes from 12pm-2pm. The VBSPCA will also be onsite raising awareness on the proper care when adopting a rabbit. After all, rabbits are lifelong pets! Proceeds will benefit lifelong adoptions at the VBSPCA. Click here for more information.

Tuesday, April 9th – VBSPCA Yappy Hour
Join the VBSPCA for our April Yappy Hour, 6pm-7pm, at Civil Libation. Gather with your fellow animal lovers as we kick back, relax, and wrap up the day. There is no cost to get in, and VBSPCA Members can look forward to extra discounts and drink specials! Visit our website to find out how you can become a member.

Saturday, April 13th – VBSPCA Egg & Dog Toy Hunt
VBSPCA’s annual Egg & Dog Toy Hunt will take place 10am-2pm at our main shelter on 3040 Holland Road. Festivities include photos, prizes, a bake sale, and new spring products for your pet! Tickets for the Egg Hunt are $10 per family which includes a photo, and Dog Toy Hunt tickets are $5 per dog and includes a toy! Space is limited so please register in advance.

Saturday, April 13th – Hot 100 KINDfest
Take part in family friendly festivities at Hunt Club Farm in Virginia Beach from 12pm-4pm for the 3rd annual Hot 100 KindFest. Enjoy live music, giant games for adults as well as kid activities, delicious food, plus visit the VBSPCA and check out some amazing pet products! For more information, click here.

Saturday, April 20th – Banyan Grove Apartments
Interested in meeting your new best friend? Come meet some of VBSPCA’s adoptable dogs at Banyan Grove Apartments between 1pm and 3pm. Our Neuter Scooter will also be onsite. Visit our website for more information on Neuter Scooter services and how you can adopt!

Saturday, April 20th – Book Signing: My Cat Ate Aliens
My Cat Ate Aliens is a collection of humorous, unscripted tales of animal loving professionals in their everyday careers. Come meet Dr. Natalie Griffin, author of My Cat Ate Aliens, at our main shelter from 12pm-2pm. Get your copy at either VBSPCA location where all profits are donated to the animals at the VBSPCA!

Monday, April 22nd – Be Kind With Your Line
Celebrate Earth Day with the VBSPCA! Volunteers will join forces, removing hazardous fishing line and making a difference in our community. We couldn’t do what we do without the support and hard work of our volunteers. For more information and to participate, please email volunteer@vbspca.com.

Thursday, April 25th – Modern Classic Unleashed Auction
Join American Office and the VBSPCA and the Smartmouth Pilot House, 5:30pm-7:30pm, for a fun evening of modern art, cocktails, and a few four-legged friends! There will be a silent auction benefiting the Virginia Beach SPCA of decorated and reinvented Herman Miller Puppies by local design firms, and the VBSPCA will be attending with some pups of our own! RSVP is required to attend.

Saturday, April 27th – Pet Valu National Adoption Weekend
It’s Pet Valu’s National Adoption Weekend! Stop by Pet Valu on 737 First Colonial Road 11am-2pm and meet adorable, adoptable dogs from the VBSPCA. Pet Valu has also kindly chosen the VBSPCA for their PAW Drive for the month of April!


All Year Long – Sustainable Support
Let your dollar make a difference every time you purchase your pet supplies at VBSPCA’s Pet Supplies and Adoption Center. Carrying a full line of cruelty-free toys, treats, supplies, and nutrition, the VBSPCA Pet Supplies and Adoption Center in Kempsville has everything you need to keep your pet healthy and happy. Plus, 100% of the proceeds help animals find loving homes just like yours!

Give animals a second chance at finding forever homes of their own when you shop at Second Chance Thrift on Shore Drive, where a portion of all proceeds are donated to the VBSPCA!

Help homeless animals anytime you buy groceries at Kroger! Simply sign up, swipe your Plus Card when you shop, and a portion of the sale will be donated back to the VBSPCA! Sign up to participate here.

You can even support the VBSPCA from the comfort of your own home. At no extra cost to you, Amazon Smile will donate a portion of every purchase to the Virginia Beach SPCA every time you shop. Just visit smile.amazon.com and select the Virginia Beach SPCA as your charity of choice.

The Virginia Beach SPCA is incredibly grateful for the continued support from our local community. If you are interested in hosting a fundraiser or event supporting the VBSPCA, please contact Jessica Traynor at jessica.traynor@vbspca.com.

Bringing Your New Dog Home

Bringing a new dog home is an exciting time for a family, and you want to be sure you’re taking the right steps to welcome your new friend into an unfamiliar space. Even though going to a forever home is an awesome upgrade from a shelter, an unfamiliar environment can still be scary. Many pets will make housebreaking mistakes, hide, or spend long amounts of time looking from room to room. Puppies that are used to sleeping with siblings could cry or whine for several nights. To help welcome your new family member, here are a few tips to ensure your pet experiences an easy and successful transition into your home:

What You Need To Get Started
Having the right supplies is instrumental to easing your new dog’s transition from shelter to home. Below are a list of supplies along with our recommendations to help get you started:

Essentials:

  • Crate* – Precision Pet Care Crate
  • Collar* – ECO Lupine collars
  • Harness/Leash* – Harness lead
  • Food/Water bowls (sample bag of food is supplied to you)
  • Bed
  • Toys – choose a variety that’s appropriate for your dog’s play style or needs; i.e. fetch toys, teething toys, plush toys, etc. Busy Buddy toys are a staff favorite!
  • Treats – choose a variety for training, chewing, special crate treat, etc.
  • Waste bags for walks

*These items are required at the time of adoption.

Additional:

  • Flea and tick preventative (6 months Heartworm preventative is included with adoption)
  • Grooming supplies  – supplies based on your dog’s coat, cleaning aids for teeth and ears, and nail clippers. VBSPCA Aloe & Oatmeal Shampoo is great to have onhand.
  • House training supplies – puppy pads, enzyme cleaner

Dog-proof Your Home
Before bringing your new friend home, be sure to move anything chewable up and out of the way. A resident dog might not be as interested, but a new dog will be ready to explore. Some items might be obvious, but you will also want to position yourself so you are at a dog’s level to see what your dog will see. Give a thorough look around and make sure nothing potentially harmful is in reach. This will help prevent your dog from chewing your shoes, books, toys,  remotes, or other household items that may be enticing to a curious pet. Dogs also tend to chew on electrical cords, so tuck those away and out of sight.  This might mean you will need to gate off certain areas of the house, specifically the kitchen and living room. You may also want to use a gate to block off the stairway, prohibiting access up or down the stairs.

Create a Sanctuary Space
As much as we want to spoil our new family member and give full access to his or her new home, your home is not yet a familiar place and your new dog needs time to adjust. How much time is different for every dog, and it’s recommended to start small.  Creating a smaller, safe space where your dog can leave/smell his or her own scent allows your new family member to feel ownership of the space, which helps to increase confidence and reduce any stress.

A great way to create this space for dogs is crate training, which can also help with separation anxiety and other concerns when a dog is first introduced to a new home. Set up a bed inside a crate and make this your new dog’s sanctuary space.

Crates
The right crate size should be tall enough so your dog can stand up comfortably and wide enough for your dog to turn around. The crate shouldn’t be too large, however, with just enough space for a bed and food/water bowls. We recommend the Precision Pet Care Crate. This crate has 2 doors, a secure lock system, rust resistant, black e-coat finish for extra longevity, and an easy to clean polypropylene plastic pan. Plus if you have a growing puppy, this crate comes with a divider panel that allows you to adjust the size of the crate as your puppy grows. The Precision Pet Care Crate also folds down to store and transport and is available for purchase at our Holland Road shelter as well as the VBSPCA Pet Supplies & Adoption Center.

Crate training tips:

  • Make the crate a soft and warm environment with blankets. It’s also recommended to lessen the lighting by draping a blanket over the crate..
  • Find a location that’s best for your dog. Either in a calmer area of the home or a human-centered location like where everyone sits to watch TV.
  • Feed your dog meals in the crate and/or give your dog special treats only when in the crate.
  • Have positive associations happen in the crate while you’re at home so your dog will not associate being in the crate to being alone or times when you’re gone.
  • Don’t approach leaving the crate as a reward by getting your dog excited to come out. Wait until your dog is quiet with all four paws on the floor before opening the crate.

Facilitate Responsible Introductions
If you already have a pet in your family, have a meet-and-greet in neutral territory before bringing the new pet into the home. The Virginia Beach SPCA requires and conducts a meet-and-greet with any resident dog(s) prior to adoption; This is scheduled after an adoption application is submitted and is a way for us to see how the dogs will behave towards each other prior to bringing a new dog home. If you have other pets such as small animals or a cat, you will want to introduce them slowly and with supervision. Let them sniff each other through the door first so they can familiarize themselves with the new smells before seeing each other. It also helps to associate the other pet’s smell with something positive, like feeding them on opposite sides of the door around the other pet’s scent.

When your pets do meet face to face, try to keep it short and sweet. Your dog(s) should be safely restrained on a leash during initial introductions. If your dog appears to over-focus on your other pet, see if you’re able to distract your dog with a toy, treat, or by calling your dog over to you. If you’re not able to get your dog to look away/break eye contact, end the face-to-face introduction and try again at a later time. It might take some time for them to get used to each other, and that’s okay, but make sure you don’t force interaction as this could cause aggression and fights. Pay attention to body language. Reactions  like “freezing” could be a sign that your dog is stressed and uncomfortable and needs a break away from your other pets. If necessary, they may need to go to their sanctuary space to relax. If you continue to have problems, please give us a call. Shelter staff and our Pet Academy trainers are happy to help!

Provide Supervision and Space
The time it takes to acclimate is different for every dog. For the first week or so, your new dog might need some space. Let your new dog explore the new environment at their pace, and if your new dog still prefers to be away from the family, allow it. However, even when allowing extra space, remember to keep an eye on your new pet to prevent any chewing, accidents, or potentially dangerous situations. You will also want to give your new pet time to get used to the new environment before meeting extended family and friends. Two weeks is typically a good adjustment period, after which you can slowly introduce your new pet to new faces. However, be sure to keep an eye out for signs of stress, such as panting, running away, cowering, growling, or pacing around the home. If these signs appear, give your pet some more time before any more introductions.

Stick to a Consistent Schedule
Set your dog up for success by starting a regular schedule as soon as possible. An inconsistent schedule is confusing for dogs and may contribute to behavioral problems. Try to keep feeding times and bathroom breaks on a consistent schedule. The general rule for bathroom breaks is dogs up to 6 months of age should be let out at least every 4 hours. Older dogs may need more frequent breaks depending on size and age. Pets thrive with routines as it helps with an overall feeling of security.

What Food Should I Use?
You will be provided with a starter supply of Purina One, or any specialized food your new family member is currently eating at the VBSPCA. Keeping food familiar can help to reduce stress after a change in environment and is also easier on a dog’s stomach. If you prefer to change brands, slowly transition by adding 25% of the new food into their current diet. Every few days, increase the amount to 50%, then 75% until switching over to the new food completely. Gradually changing their diet gives their digestive system time to adjust which helps prevent an upset stomach. If the animal is on a special diet, please check with your vet before making any changes.

Food packaging  provides a guideline on how much to feed your pet based on weight. However, all pets are different and you should check with your veterinarian if you notice your dog is gaining too much weight. Pet obesity is a growing problem so we cannot stress this enough. Anxiety can also cause pets to eat very little or refuse to eat at first. Try adding wet food to your pet’s dish to encourage him or her to eat. If your pet is not eating after 24 hours, please contact the shelter or your veterinarian.

Offer Plenty of Toys, Exercise, and Training
Make sure your new dog gets plenty of exercise, and this doesn’t just mean walks. You will need to engage your pet in games of fetch, tug, and chase. Regular exercise will help prevent unwanted behaviors such as digging, chewing, and barking, while also providing quality time for you and your pet to bond. In addition to exercise, have lots of interactive toys on hand and don’t forget to reward your dog with healthy treats! You can also sign up for dog training classes which will strengthen the relationship between you and your pet while also establishing healthy discipline and good dog behavior. You might even learn some fun tricks, too!

We recommend Busy Buddy dog toys by PetSafe as a fun and positive and training tool for pups of all ages. Made of thick, durable rubber, these toys are are a great for separation anxiety, boredom, exercise, chewing, barking, digging, training rewards, and crate training. Each toy is designed for a new challenge, and with available sizes ranging from extra small to extra large, it’s easy to find the perfect fit for your new dog!

Remember to be Patient
Patience is the key ingredient to the successful integration of a new pet into a home. Every animal has his or her own individual personality and it will take time for both of you to settle in to your new family. Some dogs may develop new behaviors once your dog feels comfortable and confident in your home that were not seen at the shelter.  If these new behaviors are not desired, VBSPCA Pet Academy offers a variety of different training classes and workshops and our trainers are happy to help!

Compassion in the Community | March 2019

Feeling lucky? Get ready for spring by supporting Virginia Beach SPCA’s mission of compassion. You can participate in the first ever St. Patrick’s Day Kick Off Fun Run, cheers to our mission at Yappy Hour, lend a hand in your community, or revel in rhinestones at VBSPCA’s annual gala. Whatever you decide, we’re lucky to have your support!

Saturday, March 2nd: St. Patrick’s Day Kick Off Fun Run at Murphy’s
Join the VBSPCA and New Belgium Brewing at Murphy’s Irish Pub, 2914 Pacific Ave, for a Fun Run with your four-legged friend! Everyone including leashed dogs are welcome. Try your luck and win some raffle prizes, sample some beer, and check out the costume contest! Festivities begin at 9am, and runners can participate in either 1.5 mile or 4 mile routes starting at 10am. Check out their Facebook event for more information.

Tuesday, March 12th: VBSPCA Yappy Hour
Gather with your fellow animal lovers as we kick back, relax, and wrap up the day at Smartmouth Pilot House from 6-7pm. There is no cost to get in, and VBSPCA Members can look forward to extra discounts and drink specials. VBSPCA Yappy Hours will be hosted by a different brewery or restaurant each month, so keep your eyes out for our next event.

Saturday, March 16th: The Ruck for Rescues
American Sled Dogs in Virginia Beach is hosting a donation drive to benefit local shelters, including the VBSPCA! The donation drive’s grand finale will take place at 9am, when the ASD team brings their donations to the Virginia Beach Animal Care and Adoption Center to be distributed. Donations can be dropped off at American Sled Dogs Gym prior to March 16th. You can also bring donations directly to the Virginia Beach SPCA at 3040 Holland Road. Thank you so much for your support!

Thursday, March 28th: ADS Pick Your Purpose Community Volunteer Fair
The Virginia Beach SPCA will be looking for compassionate people ready to lend a hand, 10am to 3pm at 621 Lynnhaven Parkway. Can’t make it to the event? Email volunteer@vbspca.com for more information on how you can get involved.

Saturday, March 30th: VBSPCA Western Wags and Whiskers Gala
Join us at our annual Western Wags and Whiskers Gala at the Cavalier Golf & Yacht Club. This year’s theme is Rhinestone Cowboy, so put on your glitz and glam and round up your friends for a rhinestone studded night of delicious food and drink, a bounty of exciting auction items, live music by Buckshot, dancing, and – of course – adorable animals. Come together for this one of a kind celebration, making a difference in the lives of thousands of animals in Hampton Roads. Please visit our website for more information.


Let your dollar make a difference every time you purchase your pet supplies. Get your pet supplies at the VBSPCA’s Pet Supplies and Adoption Center in Kempsville. Carrying a full line of cruelty-free toys, treats, supplies, and nutrition, the VBSPCA Pet Supplies and Adoption center has everything you need to keep your pet healthy and happy. Plus, 100% of the proceeds help animals find loving homes. Stop by Providence Square Shopping Center and see all the goodness we have to offer!

You can also support the Virginia Beach SPCA by shopping at Second Chance Thrift on Shore Drive, voted the best thrift store in the state of Virginia. Second Chance Thrift has been a longtime supporter of the VBSPCA, and donates a portion of all proceeds towards helping animals at the VBSPCA find forever homes of their own!

Help homeless animals while buying groceries all year long at Kroger! All you have to do is sign up to participate, swipe your Plus Card when you shop, and a portion of the sale will be donated back to the VBSPCA! Sign up to participate here.

Yes, you can event support the VBSPCA when you purchase something online! At no extra cost to you, Amazon Smile will donate a portion of every purchase every time you shop to the Virginia Beach SPCA. Just visit smile.amazon.com and select the Virginia Beach SPCA as your charity of choice.

The Virginia Beach SPCA is incredibly grateful for the continued support from our local community. If you are interested in hosting a fundraiser or donation drive in support of the VBSPCA, please contact Jessica Traynor at jessica.traynor@vbspca.com.

World Spay Day | 10 Reasons to Spay/Neuter Your Pet

Need to get your pet Spayed/Neutered? Find all of our upcoming Neuter Scooter dates and locations here. 


In recognition of World Spay Day, here are 10 reasons to Spay/Neuter your pet:

  1. Spaying helps prevent uterine infections and breast cancer, which is fatal in about 50 percent of dogs and 90 percent of cats. Spaying your pet before her first heat offers the best protection from these diseases, and will help your female pet will live a longer, healthier life.
  2. Neutering provides major health benefits for your male. Besides preventing unwanted litters, neutering your male companion prevents testicular cancer, if done before six months of age.
  3. Your spayed female won’t go into heat. While cycles can vary, female felines usually go into heat four to five days every three weeks during breeding season. In an effort to advertise for mates, they’ll yowl and urinate more frequently—sometimes all over the house!
  4. Your male dog won’t want to roam away from home. An intact male will do just about anything to find a mate! That includes digging his way under the fence and making like Houdini to escape from the house. And once he’s free to roam, he risks injury in traffic and fights with other males.
  5. Your neutered male will be much better behaved. Neutered cats and dogs focus their attention on their human families. On the other hand, un-neutered dogs and cats may mark their territory by spraying strong-smelling urine all over the house. Many aggression problems can be avoided by early neutering.
  6. Spaying or neutering will NOT make your pet gain weight. Don’t use that old excuse! Lack of exercise and overfeeding will cause your pet to pack on the extra pounds—not neutering. Your pet will remain fit and trim as long as you continue to provide exercise and monitor food intake.
  7. It is highly cost-effective. The cost spay/neuter surgery is a lot less than the cost of having and caring for a litter. It also beats the cost of treatment when your un-neutered tom escapes and gets into fights with the neighborhood stray!
  8. Spaying and neutering your pet is good for the community. Stray animals pose a real problem in many parts of the country. They can prey on wildlife, cause car accidents, damage the local fauna, and frighten children. Spaying and neutering packs a powerful punch in reducing the number of animals on the streets.
  9. Your pet doesn’t need to have a litter for your children to learn about the miracle of birth. Letting your pet produce offspring you have no intention of keeping is not a good lesson for your children—especially when so many unwanted animals end up in shelters. There are tons of books and videos available to teach your children about birth in a more responsible way.
  10. Spaying and neutering helps fight pet overpopulation. Every year, millions of cats and dogs of all ages and breeds are euthanized or suffer as strays. These high numbers are the result of unplanned litters that could have been prevented by spaying or neutering.

The above list of reasons was borrowed from http://www.animals-abused.org/spay-neuter.htm.