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Compassion in the Community | July 2022

From Christmas in July to a movie outing to a youth animal experience here at the shelter, there are all kinds of ways to have some fun while supporting the animals of the VBSPCA. Here’s a look at unique ways to give back this month.

Pawsome Pet Portraits FUNdraiser – July 1st-31st
Support the animals of the VBSPCA and receive a custom portrait of your pet through our Pawsome Pet Portraits FUNdraiser! For a $10 donation, you will receive an original portrait of your furry friend created by a young member of the community. This special fundraiser is a great way to provide financial support to homeless animals while fostering the importance of giving back in the hearts and minds of our youth. To make your donation and request your custom portrait, click here.

Tails and Tales – July 9th & 23rd
Join the VBSPCA for a special experience for young animal lovers. Tails and Tales is a reading, craft, and animal experience for children ages 6-10. A guest reader will read a book to the group before participants make a craft, visit with a shelter animal, and tour our shelter. Kids will also get to take home a bookmark, pencil, and their craft. Tails and Tales will be offered on three Saturdays this summer including July 9th and July 23rd at 11:00am. All proceeds go directly back to the animals of the VBSPCA. Click here to learn more and register today.

Locals on the Lawn – July 15th
Enjoy a night of music and family fun at King’s Grant Presbyterian Church’s Locals on the Lawn. The event takes place on Friday, July 15th from 5:00-7:00pm. Meet some of the VBSPCA’s adoptable dogs and drop off a monetary donation or an item from our Wish List.

Christmas in July at CP Shuckers – July 24th
Stop by CP Shuckers on Shore Drive for Christmas in July! The festivities take place on Sunday, July 24th from 3:00-6:00pm. Get your photo taken with Beach Santa – just bring a monetary donation or an item from our Wish List. We’ll also have some of our adoptable dogs there for the festivities.

DC League of Super-Pets – July 30th
Celebrate the super-pets in your life at the opening weekend of DC League of Super-Pets at Cinema Cafe in Kemps River. Donate an item from our Wish List and receive free popcorn to enjoy while you watch the movie. You can also meet some of the VBSPCA super-pets who are available for adoption.

All Year Long – Sustainable Support

Black Dog Real Estate LLC
Looking for a new home? Try Black Dog Real Estate. A total of 5% of each sales commission will be donated to the VBSPCA. Click here to learn more.

Andy’s Paw Prints
Order a custom pet portrait from Andy’s Paw Prints, and 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the VBSPCA! This is a great way to support our animals while celebrating the special pets in your life. Andy’s Paw Prints supports various animal shelters, so click here for our referral link to order your custom pet portrait.

Kroger Plus
You can 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.

Host a Fundraiser through Bonfire
Create a t-shirt to benefit the animals of the VBSPCA! Bonfire makes it easy – upload your design, select the VBSPCA as the nonprofit, and they take it from there. This is a great way to support the animals while also putting some style out there in the community. Learn more here.

Nextdoor
Paypal Giving Fund has partnered with Nextdoor in order to bring charities a new way to gain support from their communities. With Nextdoor’s Sell for Good, neighbors can support charities by simply buying and selling items on the For Sale & Free marketplace. Sellers will now have the option to donate proceeds to benefit nonprofits like the VBSPCA through the PayPal Giving Fund. Click here to get started today!

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 become a VBSPCA Member.

#VBStrong
In solidarity with our two legged and four-legged community, VBStrong T-shirts and tanks are available at the VBSPCA shelter, located at 3040 Holland Road. 100% of the proceeds from these VBStrong shirts will go to families of those who were lost on May 31st, 2019.

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 our Outreach Department at outreach@vbspca.com.

Lurking Bacteria | Water & Food Safety

Keeping your pet’s food and water bowls clean is just as important as providing your furry friend with fresh food and water each day. You wouldn’t eat off the same plate or drink out of the same glass without washing it day after day, and neither should your pet. Yet a recent study found that most pet parents don’t follow recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration that are designed to keep pets, and their people, healthy.

What’s Lurking in the Bowls
Have you ever noticed a layer of slime in your pet’s water bowl? That’s not drool, that’s a bunch of bacteria that has bound together. The bacteria from an animal’s mouth can be transferred to the bowls while eating or drinking, and the bowls are a good environment for the bacteria to multiply. The bacteria left in a pet’s water or food bowl can not only make them sick, it could also cause illness in the human who handles their bowls.

Preventing Illness
It only takes a few extra minutes to prevent illness in your pet, and you! Here are some tips from the FDA to keep those food and water bowls clean.

  • Wash Daily
    Wash food and water bowls daily in warm, soapy water. At least once a week, put them in the dishwasher to fully sterilize them. Be sure to have a designated washcloth or sponge that you use on your pet’s dishes that is separate from the one you use for human dishes.
  • Have a Separate Scoop
    Never use your pet’s food bowl to scoop out their food. Instead, use a cup, scoop, or spoon so that you’re not contaminating their food with any bacteria from their bowl.
  • Keep Hands Clean
    Wash your hands before and after you handle your pet’s food or bowls.

When it comes to picking out your pet’s bowls, experts recommend stainless steel. Plastic food and water bowls are more likely to get scratched, which can make it easier for bacteria to develop. Glass and ceramic bowls can also be good options, but make sure you double check for cracks or chips and that the glaze used on the bowl is certified for food use.

Food Storage Safety
Storing your pet’s food properly is also important for preventing sickness. All food should be stored in a closed container, and wet food should be stored in the refrigerator once it has been opened. While plastic storage bins are the most popular choice for dry food, be sure your container is BPA-free. Stainless steel is also a great option for storage bins since they are durable and easy to clean. It is recommended that you wash and dry storage containers before refilling them with any new food. 

By keeping bowls clean and storing food safely, your pet will be much less likely to get sick!

Brandon Pavlacka | In Service to the VBSPCA since February 2022

As a lifelong animal lover, it didn’t take much to get Brandon Pavlacka to join the VBSPCA Board of Directors once an opportunity presented itself earlier this year. “When I found an opportunity to potentially have an impact on the lives of animals, I knew I had to serve,” he says.

Pavlacka is happy to pull from his varied career experiences to provide insight to the VBSPCA’s operations. Currently he is a realtor and team leader at The Royal Team. He also served in the U.S. Navy as a submariner, which first introduced him to Hampton Roads. In addition to volunteering his time to the VBSPCA, Pavlacka enjoys cooking and traveling.

“The mission to connect homeless animals with the right home is very important to me,” says Pavlacka. “Many times families simply select an animal based off its looks, age, or breed but do not take the time to learn if that animal would be a good fit. The VBSPCA provides individuals with the information they need to care for the animal they are adopting.”

Pavlacka encourages others in the community to find a way to join the mission of the VBSPCA. “There are so many ways someone can make an impact,” he explains. “Take the time to volunteer at the shelter, foster an animal, or become a member, which has so many perks outside of the satisfaction that you are making a difference to an animal’s life!”

Community involvement from people like Pavlacka is critical to ending animal suffering. We are thankful for everything he does to help homeless animals!

If you are interested in serving on the Virginia Beach SPCA Board of Directors, please email Emily.Peck@vbspca.com for more information.

Compassion in the Community | June 2022

As you make your summer plans, don’t forget the animals of the VBSPCA! From an animal-themed art exhibition to events for young animal lovers, here’s a look at the ways people are giving back this month.

Tale for Two Summer Challenge – Begins June 15th
Young animal lovers are invited to participate in the VBSPCA’s Tale for Two Challenge. This challenge allows new or reluctant readers to read to shelter animals in hopes of strengthening their reading skills and building confidence. Readers will participate in five reading sessions of their choice between June 15th and August 31st. All children who complete the challenge will receive a VBSPCA t-shirt. All proceeds go directly to the animals of the VBSPCA. Learn more and register here.

Works by John Koehler Since 2018 Grand Opening – June 18th
Join local artist John Koehler for the grand opening of his art exhibition on Saturday, June 18th at 7:00pm. Koehler will display his recent artwork, some of which is inspired by former residents of the VBSPCA, at the new Koehler Artworks gallery. A portion of sales will be donated to the VBSPCA. To attend, send an email to john@koehlerartworks.com.

Tails for Tales – June 25th
Join the VBSPCA for the first in a series of special experiences for young animal lovers. Tails for Tales is a reading, craft, and animal experience for children ages 6-10. A guest reader will read a book to the group before participants make a craft, visit with a shelter animal, and tour our shelter. Kids will also get to take home a bookmark, pencil, and their craft. Tails for Tales will be offered four times throughout the summer including Saturday, June 25th at 11:00am. All proceeds go directly back to the animals of the VBSPCA. Click here to learn more and register today.

Dog Day Out at Latitude Climbing – June 26th
Work out with your best friend at Latitude Climbing’s Dog Day out on Sunday June 26th. From 11:00am to 3:00pm, members are invited to bring their dogs to the gym to enjoy a doggie pool, sprinklers, and games. The gym will also be collecting items from our Wish List to donate to the VSPCA Shelter.

All Year Long – Sustainable Support

Black Dog Real Estate LLC
Looking for a new home? Try Black Dog Real Estate. A total of 5% of each sales commission will be donated to the VBSPCA. Click here to learn more.

Andy’s Paw Prints
Order a custom pet portrait from Andy’s Paw Prints, and 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the VBSPCA! This is a great way to support our animals while celebrating the special pets in your life. Andy’s Paw Prints supports various animal shelters, so click here for our referral link to order your custom pet portrait.

Kroger Plus
You can 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.

Host a Fundraiser through Bonfire
Create a t-shirt to benefit the animals of the VBSPCA! Bonfire makes it easy – upload your design, select the VBSPCA as the nonprofit, and they take it from there. This is a great way to support the animals while also putting some style out there in the community. Learn more here.

Nextdoor
Paypal Giving Fund has partnered with Nextdoor in order to bring charities a new way to gain support from their communities. With Nextdoor’s Sell for Good, neighbors can support charities by simply buying and selling items on the For Sale & Free marketplace. Sellers will now have the option to donate proceeds to benefit nonprofits like the VBSPCA through the PayPal Giving Fund. Click here to get started today!

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 become a VBSPCA Member.

#VBStrong
In solidarity with our two legged and four-legged community, VBStrong T-shirts and tanks are available at the VBSPCA shelter, located at 3040 Holland Road. 100% of the proceeds from these VBStrong shirts will go to families of those who were lost on May 31st, 2019.

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 our Outreach Department at outreach@vbspca.com.

Happy Tails | CoCo

Every single animal that comes through our shelter has a story. Some are complex, many are sad, but all of them get better the minute they arrive at the Virginia Beach SPCA. In September 2021, a female cat and her seven kittens arrived at our shelter. The feline family members spent a couple of months in a foster home until they were ready to be adopted. Once they returned in December, Christy and her family fell in love with kitten in particular: CoCo. We recently caught up with Christy for an update on CoCo.

When did you adopt CoCo?

CoCo was officially adopted on December 30, 2021.

How did you find CoCo?

My sister adopted from the VBSPCA several years earlier. She had a great experience there and we thought ‘why not go there’. We were open to adoption, kitten or adult. We were the first that day to view the kittens and the whole family went. We settled on CoCo because she was curious and friendly. This is important because our daughter is active and CoCo would need to acclimate well with her.

How is CoCo doing in the home?

CoCo knows tricks, likes to sit and roll (for a belly rub). My kids say she is super sweet to all she meets. She loves to play with her tunnels and catnip filled fish. She is one of the best things to happen to our family. We love her!!!

Does CoCo have any funny quirks?

We bought all the necessities for a kitten, but the cat palace [cat tree] gifted by my sister is her favorite thing. Coco loves being above all of us. We also call it the lair. She will periodically take items back to her lair: pens, pencils, lip balm, hair scrunchies, receipts, anything she can carry or push/pull with her paws. She is a collector. Once we clean it out, she will go around and collect other items.

She is also a box hopper. Any empty box she hops in – she hops from one to another. I grew up with all kinds of animals. Having a cat was a new experience for my own family who only knew dogs. My family adores CoCo. She has brought us together in so many ways. My teenage son always says “she’s just so cute.”

Why do you think people should consider adopting a shelter pet?

All animals need love, respect, and a home. Adopting an animal is important because you are making a conscious choice to open your heart, mind, and home to a wonderful experience.

Breathe Easy | Caring for Flat-Faced Dogs

Who can resist a dog with large eyes and an adorable smooshed-in face? These types of dogs, known as brachycephalic breeds, require special care. By learning more about their unique needs, you can keep your pet safe, happy, and healthy.

Breathing Challenged Breeds
The word brachycephalic simply means “short headed”, which is a perfect description for their stout noses and flat faces. Common brachycephalic breeds include:

  • Pugs
  • Bulldogs
  • French Bulldogs
  • Boxers
  • Shih Tzus
  • Pekingese
  • Boston Terriers

Because of their short snouts, flat-faced breeds can have a hard time breathing. They are also more susceptible to heat stroke and overheating.

Know Your Dog’s Limits
While many flat-faced dogs enjoy long, happy lives, there are things you can do to head off potential issues for your pet.

  • Keep your pet cool.
    Warm, humid weather can make breathing especially difficult for your pet. Be sure to keep them cool, especially during the summer. If you are outside with your dog, keep them in the shade and provide plenty of water.
  • Don’t overdo it with exercise.
    Regular exercise, such as going for a walk and playing, is important for any dog. However, you should always pay attention to how heavily your dog is breathing. If your pet seems to be having a hard time catching their breath, stop for a rest on your walk or take a break from playing.
  • Be careful around water.
    Brachycephalic breeds are also not suited for swimming. Their large chests can make them more likely to tire easily and put them at an increased risk of sinking. Keep a close eye on them and consider using a dog life jacket.
  • Keep your dog at a healthy weight.
    Extra pounds can make it even harder for flat-faced breeds to breathe. Monitor your dog’s weight and consult with your veterinarian about any changes you may need to make to your dog’s diet.

It is also important to pay attention to any changes in your dog’s breathing patterns. If your pet is abnormally wheezing, coughing, or snorting, make an appointment with your veterinarian.

Though your pet is predisposed to unique health issues, flat-faced dogs are undoubtedly cute companions. With careful attention and regular vet visits, both you and your pup will breathe easier knowing they are protected from potential problems.

Happy Tails | Dragon

Every single animal that comes through our shelter has a story. Some are complex, many are sad, but all of them get better the minute they arrive at the Virginia Beach SPCA. Dragon was one of 33 dogs taken in by the VBSPCA from a hoarding situation on the Eastern Shore in October 2021. The dogs were frightened, filthy, and covered in fleas. Dragon had never been outside or been introduced to new people, and he was used to living with dozens of other canine companions. Because of his background, he was extremely shy and would need time and patience to adjust to a new environment.

A woman named Renee happened to come across Dragon’s picture and knew she had to meet him. On December 17, 2021, Dragon got his second chance. We recently caught up with Renee for the full story and an update on Dragon.

How did you find Dragon?

I’m the general manager at My Vegan Sweet Tooth (a long-time supporter of the VBSPCA). Every Christmas, we do an SPCA angel tree and his photo was hanging on the tree. I saw that little face and immediately knew.

How is Dragon doing in the home?

He’s acclimated well! He’s still very scared of new people, but we’ve formed an inseparable bond. He loves to snuggle and play with [my dog] Muffin. He loves running around in the backyard.

What sort of activities do you and Dragon do together?

We play in the yard, snuggle and watch movies, lots of petting time. We’re working our way up to walks outside the comfort of the house still, but every day he’s better and better.

Does Dragon have any funny quirks?

He’s so clumsy and when he runs in the backyard, it’s more like a new pony trying to gallop for the first time. He does this cute little thing with his tongue whenever I’m petting him and hit the right spot.

How has Dragon enriched your life so far?

This dog is so loving and kind and mellow. He reminds me every day that nothing is a lost cause. His friendship with Muffin has allowed her to be more open with new dogs.

Why do you think people should consider adopting a shelter pet?

Seeing Dragon’s transformation from a scared, shaking, peeing mess in the shelter to a happy-go-lucky goofball will hopefully inspire everyone to give shelter pets a chance. You’re not just saving a life but bringing joy into your own life. You’ll never know the same kind of love you receive from a rescued animal.

We still have lots of work ahead of us, but Dragon is already a completely different dog than the day I brought him home. I’m so lucky to have found him and so grateful for everything the SPCA does.

Dr. Heather Andrews, DVM | In Service to the VBSPCA for 9 Months

At five years old, Dr. Heather Andrews knew she wanted to become a veterinarian. Her love of animals pushed her to achieve that dream. That love now motivates her to help public pets and shelter animals alike.

Dr. Andrews first began helping out at the Virginia Beach SPCA as a relief veterinarian in the VBSPCA Clinic. She was later approached to join the board of directors. “I believe in the mission of the VBSPCA and knew I could contribute to that mission,” Andrews explains.

As a veterinarian at Beach Pet, Dr. Andrews enjoys focusing on internal medicine, dermatology, exotic care, and rehabilitation. She also has a special interest in shelter medicine and provides her expertise to the VBSPCA through her board position. “What I appreciate most about the mission of the VBSPCA is the role in eliminating animal suffering,” says Dr. Andrews. “I have always been a voice for the silent, and I believe in educating the community to provide the best care and compassion possible.”

At home, Dr. Andrews has her own crew of furry friends including her Pitbull Max, a Westie named Brady, and a Terrier mix named Logan. When she is not helping animals or spending time with her own pets, she enjoys working out and hitting the beach.

Dr. Andrews encourages others to volunteer at the VBSPCA or support the animals by attending a VBSPCA event. Community involvement from people like Dr. Andrews are crucial to working towards the VBSPCA mission of ending animal suffering. We are thankful for everything she does to help our animals!

If you are interested in serving on the Virginia Beach SPCA Board of Directors, please email Emily.Peck@vbspca.com for more information.

Compassion in the Community | May 2022

Spring has sprung, and our community is blooming with creative ideas to show compassion to the animals of the Virginia Beach SPCA. From a big day of giving here in Hampton Roads to a festival where you’re sure to meet great pups, here’s a look at some ways to have fun while giving back this month.

Cape Henry Collegiate Spring Fling – May 6th
Celebrate spring and meet some of our adoptable animals! The Cape Henry Collegiate Animal Outreach Club will host a booth promoting bunny adoption awareness at the school’s Spring Fling. The fun begins at 3:30pm on Friday, May 6th. You’ll also be able to make a donation to the homeless animals of the VBSPCA.

Give Local 757 – May 10th
On Tuesday, May 10th, we’ll join nonprofits across the region for Give Local 757, an annual day of fundraising here in Hampton Roads. Your donations to the VBSPCA will help fund a special project that will benefit shelter animals as well as our community! Stay tuned for details – we hope you’ll be part of this day of giving.

Kroger For Your Pets Event – May 14th
Learn more about the VBSPCA’s mission and make a donation at Kroger’s For Your Pets Event! Stop by the Kroger at 3901 Holland Road on Saturday, May 14th between 9am-1pm and visit our booth. We are happy to accept financial donations and items from our Wish List

Poochella Dog Adoption Event – May 21st
Meet your new best friend at Poochella! This multi-shelter adoption event takes place at PETA’s Bea Arthur Dog Park in Norfolk from 11am-2pm on Saturday, May 21st. Poochella will feature adoptable dogs from nine local animal shelters including the VBSPCA. Senses Vegan Comfort Food Truck will also be there, so come eat, enjoy the day, and maybe even adopt a pup! 

All Year Long – Sustainable Support

Black Dog Real Estate LLC
Looking for a new home? Try Black Dog Real Estate. A total of 5% of each sales commission will be donated to the VBSPCA. Click here to learn more.

Andy’s Paw Prints
Order a custom pet portrait from Andy’s Paw Prints, and 25% of the proceeds will be donated to the VBSPCA! This is a great way to support our animals while celebrating the special pets in your life. Andy’s Paw Prints supports various animal shelters, so click here for our referral link to order your custom pet portrait.

Kroger Plus
You can 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.

Host a Fundraiser through Bonfire
Create a t-shirt to benefit the animals of the VBSPCA! Bonfire makes it easy – upload your design, select the VBSPCA as the nonprofit, and they take it from there. This is a great way to support the animals while also putting some style out there in the community. Learn more here.

Nextdoor
Paypal Giving Fund has partnered with Nextdoor in order to bring charities a new way to gain support from their communities. With Nextdoor’s Sell for Good, neighbors can support charities by simply buying and selling items on the For Sale & Free marketplace. Sellers will now have the option to donate proceeds to benefit nonprofits like the VBSPCA through the PayPal Giving Fund. Click here to get started today!

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 become a VBSPCA Member.

#VBStrong
In solidarity with our two legged and four-legged community, VBStrong T-shirts and tanks are available at the VBSPCA shelter, located at 3040 Holland Road. 100% of the proceeds from these VBStrong shirts will go to families of those who were lost on May 31st, 2019.

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 our Outreach Department at outreach@vbspca.com.

The Inside Scoop | Why Pet Cleanup Matters

While there are many pleasant parts of being a pet parent, cleaning up after them isn’t exactly one of them. However, picking up after your dog is extremely important! It doesn’t matter if your pup relieves themself in your backyard or while on a walk: you should always pick up the poop.

It’s a Pollutant
The Environment Protection Agency classifies dog waste as a pollutant. When pet waste gets into our waterways, it breaks down and causes excessive algae and weed growth. That can make waterways unsuitable for swimming, fishing, and other recreational uses.

Because pet waste can be so damaging to the environment, it is important never to let your pet go to the bathroom in or close to a waterway.

It’s Neighborly
A common grievance on community apps is that people are not picking up after their pets. This un-neighborly behavior is disrespectful to the community and to the environment, so please be mindful of the shared spaces and leave them how you found them… absent of your pup’s poop.

It’s the Law
If those other reasons weren’t enough, leaving dog waste on the ground is illegal. You are required by law to pick up after your pet in public places in Virginia (as well as many other states and localities).

It Transmits Disease
Dog excrement can transmit disease to both humans and other animals. Parasites, bacteria, and viruses can all be transmitted from dog waste to the soil, which can then be passed on to people and other pets. This is especially troublesome for children playing outside or adults who like to garden. Common issues include:

Problematic Parasites:
WORMS*
COCCIDIA*
GIARDIA*

Bad Bacteria:
SALMONELLA*
E.COLI*
CAMPYLOBACTERIOSIS*

Serious Sicknesses:
PARVOVIRUS
CANINE CORONAVIRUS

* Conditions that can be transferred from canines to humans. Children, seniors, babies, and pregnant women are at higher risk.

Additionally, dog waste is not a fertilizer as some might think. The high nitrogen levels found in your pet’s poop are actually toxic for your lawn.

The bottom line: be sure to bring along a bag so you can clean up on your walk and set aside time to scoop the poop from your backyard!