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Compassion in the Community — November

Bark in the Park — Nov. 3, 12-5 pm
Come join us at Chesapeake City Park for a great time with our four-legged friends! There will be multiple vendors, food trucks and adoptable animals. Find out more information at the Facebook event here. 

Yappy Hour at Commonwealth Brewing Co. — Nov. 7, 6-7 pm
Commonwealth Brewing Co. is hosting a pet-friendly happy hour that will include discounts on food and drinks for all VBSPCA members! Come meet staff and enjoy a mission-centered pint of beer. Click here to become a member today.

Petsmart National Adoption Week — Nov. 9 & 10
VBSPCA volunteers will be at Petsmart with a few of our adoptable animals who are ready to find their forever homes. A larger portion of the adoption fees will go to the VBSPCA during this special weekend, and we are excited to be in partnership with Petsmart! Please join us at the Dam Neck and Pembroke locations.

Waggin Wednesday — Nov. 13, 5:30-8:30 pm
Bring in donations and get a discount on beer at O’Connor Brewing! This is a pet-friendly event and all in-kind donations will be given to the shelter. Click here for more information!

Sip and Paw Painting Class — Nov. 16, 5 pm
The Marian Manor Assisted Living home is hosting a painting night and dogs are welcome! Drinks and light appetizers are included in the registration price. Create a masterpiece with your four-legged friend while also helping the VBSPCA. Click here to register!

Pints for Pups — Nov. 17, 1-4 pm
Come join us at Commonwealth Brewing Co. for a great night in support of the shelter! $20 tickets get you drink vouchers and half of the proceeds go to the VBSPCA. Click here to find out more information.

Wasserhund Charity Wednesdays — Nov. 20, 5-10 pm
During this great night 30% of all sales will go to VBSPCA! Come out to Wasserhund Brewing to enjoy great drinks and a great cause.

Pawsitively Thankful — Nov. 24, 1-3 pm
Cultivate the attitude of gratitude with a Thanksgiving-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. For more information, click here. 

All Year Long – Sustainable Support
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!

You can also 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 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.
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.

October Mission Moments

The world of animal welfare can be challenging, however there are many amazing moments that serve as great reminders of why we show up every day for the animals in our care. We hope that these stories will inspire you and make you as happy as they made us!

Doppie

Many saw the incredible Doppie on Coast Live. He was one of our longest canine residents and was surrendered because his owner became ill. Everyone at the shelter loved Doppie’s goofy personality and wiggly butt. Yet when Doppie was in the kennel, he became very anxious and fearful which led adopters to think he would not be a good fit for their home. However, this past weekend Doppie finally met his human and went to his forever home. He now has plenty of land to run around on and two dog friends that he can play with.

Johan

Johan, a senior domestic cat, was surrendered to us with rotten teeth and an infectious personality. He had his teeth pulled and our cattery staff quickly fell in love with the old man. He became particularly attached to cattery technician Katie, and the two were inseparable. Katie eventually helped Johan get adopted, but a few months later found him back in receiving due to not getting along with a baby in the home. She brought him home to see how he would react to her dogs, and he was a perfect fit! Johan’s superpower is head-butting, and Katie’s dogs are loving the affection. He has now found a loving home with Katie, although we think he knew he had a home in her all along.

Humane Ed Challenge

One important part of our mission is to educate our community about the humane treatment of animals, and we had a great opportunity to do that this past weekend at Mutt Masquerade! Over 20 children participated in our Truth or Treat challenge, where they could answer trivia about our shelter and win fun prizes. Kids were lined up at the humane education booth making fun crafts that were all geared toward learning more about what we do at the VBSPCA.

Cosmo

Birds are unique and fun pets! We loved Cosmo, our little parrot friend, and he was waiting for the perfect person to come along. However, this person didn’t know they were going to be adopting a bird. Cosmo’s new mom originally came in to the shelter to ask if we had any chinchillas, and Cosmo was able to catch her attention. She immediately fell in love with him and decided to give him a new home.

Wildlife Thank You

We love our community! The VBSPCA recently posted a Facebook request for wildlife supplies, and we have been overwhelmed with gratitude at the amount of support we have received. Thank you for always supporting us in our mission to protect our local animals.

Feces, Urine, and Litter Oh My — A Guide to Litterbox Issues

Litter box issues can be one of the most trying times for cat owners. However, there is always a cause, and many times issues can be easily fixed with a little bit of patience and dedication. 

Before you begin ruling out other issues, set up an appointment to see your veterinarian. Cats, just like other animals, are great at hiding pain and discomfort. Rule out all potential medical causes before proceeding. 

Below are a list of helpful tips to consider when dealing with litter box issues:

Have one litter box per cat plus one extra.

Litter boxes should be placed in social areas and not kept hidden. Your cat does not want privacy when using the bathroom. They want everyone to know your home is their territory. While litter boxes are not very attractive, your cat will thank you for helping them feel more secure in their territory. Recommended social areas to keep litter boxes include but are not limited to the living room, bedroom, or any place your cat enjoys spending time. 

There is a chance that your cat may be avoiding the litter box because they were previously ambushed by either another pet or person, or they associate that litter box with pain. Create a more positive association by adding a new litter box that is different design. Keep in mind though, your cat needs an escape route so uncovered litter boxes are your friend. 

Use cat attractant litter. Most contain a natural herb that will attract your cat to use the litter box.  If you are unable to purchase cat attractant litter, aim for a litter than simulates natural substances (dirt, sand, etc.) that is unscented. Cats do not want an overwhelming smell of chemical fragrances when they use the litter box.

Add enrichment into your cat’s life. This can help them be more secure with their surroundings. Provide toys like climbing shelves, cat towers, and puzzle feeders.

Stress is another factor that can play a part in your cat’s aversion to the litter box. If you have a yard or live on the ground floor you could have a pesky neighborhood cat threatening your cat’s territory. Consider leash training your cat if this is the case. This gives your cat a chance to stake their claim on their territory in a safe way.

Changes to your cat’s environment. This can be things like a new child in the home, moving, roommates or a new furry friend. Adding extra enrichment into your home can help aid in the transitions occurring in your cat’s life. Another favorite tool is calming sprays and diffusers. This is not a quick fix, but can help take the edge off of your stressed out cat.

Litter box issues are not the end of the world and you can survive them. Good luck and please use your vet as a resource! 

Pet Academy Provides Great Resources For Owners Looking For Help

The Virginia Beach SPCA is dedicated to strengthening the human-animal bond and building life-long companionships. The Pet Academy was designed with this in mind and offers a variety of different resources for pet parents – from behavioral training to obedience training to enrichment and education. Our trainers have years of experience and are ready to share their knowledge with the community! 

What’s New?

Pet Talks

These interactive lectures are designed to help pet parents learn great techniques to strengthen the bond with their pet. Each lecture covers a new topic, and our trainers are helped by some of our shelter friends who will show the tips in action! Click here to register or to find out more information.

Behavior Support Line

If there is an issue with your pet and you’re starting to think that surrendering your animal is the only option, our helpline is here to save the day! This helpline is dedicated to keeping pets in homes. Send in your questions and concerns to behaviorsupport@vbspca.com and a certified pet companion trainer will contact you. 

Private Training

Private training provides customized plans for each individual animal’s needs. We work with both dogs and cats, and our trainers can work with any issue. Click here to register. 

Other Resources

Group Training

This is a great resource for both puppies and adult dogs who need basic obedience training and socialization. Click here for more information.

Reactive Rover

Dogs that have a history of reacting in various situations would benefit greatly from this workshop designed specifically to work on reaction skills. Click here to register.

What else?

Pet parents can look forward to educational training articles posted right here on our website. We are building a library of resources, so check back regularly for the latest in pet training news!

What People Are Saying

“Rainey Storm and I had a great session today with Shana. We worked on things to do to prevent her barking when excited and her loose leash walking. Shana was full of tips and gave us great homework to do… I highly recommend VBSPCA Pet Academy for dogs of all ages and their humans.”

“Virginia Beach SPCA Pet Academy was instrumental in teaching me the tools I needed to work with Piper and the communication skills necessary to work with each other. I learned a lot of great tips. Thank you so much. I would highly recommend their pet training classes.”

“Usually Prince acts up when we go to the groomers. He’s always barking at the males and anyone who walks past him. Well, this weekend we went to the groomers and he got compliments on his behavior… We used the “leave it” command and he did great. Not only is he doing good out in public, but he’s also doing great at home. He rarely gets ahold of anything on the table, and when we use the “off” command, he stops what he’s doing. He also has gone down a pound and is still working on losing more!!! I can’t thank you ladies enough for everything.”

Questions That You Should Be Asking When You Adopt

You did it! You decided to save a life and adopt. You’re now at your local shelter — with no idea where to start.

Adopting from a shelter is a great decision and one that saves thousands of animals every year. However, it can be a confusing process when you are faced with a mountain of paperwork and an animal that may need a little extra love.

This article will be a great guide when navigating the adoption process and what you should expect. 

General Questions

Why should I adopt from the VBSPCA?

The medical care that shelter animals receive at the VBSPCA is unparalleled. Every single animal is checked out by our clinic staff upon arrival and receives a full vet exam prior to being adopted. Senior pets have bloodwork taken to give adopters a full snapshot of the animal’s health. In addition to the high level of medical care the animals receive at the VBSPCA, the staff and volunteers are dedicated to every single animal and make sure that each one receives love and attention.

Another unique service VBSPCA shelter animals receive is behavior training. Certain animals in need of extra attention get one-on-one time with our companion pet trainer to help improve behavior, obedience, and socialization. 

The adoption fee covers the microchip, rabies vaccine, senior pet bloodwork, and spay/neuter when applicable. All puppy adoptions come with a 6-week Pet Academy obedience classes to make sure the relationship is set up for success.  

Why should I adopt from the VBSPCA instead of from a breeder?

Many breeders are humane and do things the right way. However, when you adopt from the VBSPCA, you are providing support to animals in need and preventing animal homelessness. When you adopt, you’re not only providing an animal a loving home, you’re making room for another animal in need.  

What should I do if I plan on moving or deploying in the future? While moving and deployment can be difficult, it doesn’t have to be the reason you give up your friend. Make sure that you have a plan in place on how you will transport your animal if you move. If you are being deployed, our shelter staff recommends having a plan in place for pet care before coming to adopt.

Is there any specific breed experience I need before adopting my pet? Breed does not necessarily determine temperament, but there are some traits that are stronger in some breeds. Research is your best friend in this situation, and before adopting a specific breed, make sure that you are prepared to handle their temperament before making the commitment to bring them home. 

How much space do I need for my new friend? Although you may want to give that cuddly Saint Bernard a great home, it may not be the ideal size for your two bedroom apartment.  

What should I bring to the shelter when I am ready to put in an application? You should bring with you a valid Photo ID, a copy of your mortgage statement or lease stating your landlord’s Pet Policy and your landlord’s name and phone number. If you have other pets, bring in their vaccination records and your veterinarian’s name and phone number.

Other Questions

Cats

What allergies should I be aware of? It’s not just cat hair allergies you have to watch out for! Some people discover they are sensitive to cat litter as well. However, most cat allergies are manageable and will get better with time. 

Will an older cat or younger cat be better for my living situation? Kittens easily adapt to their new surroundings and usually adjust well to their new homes. Depending on their personality, older cats may need a specific type of household in order to thrive. Understanding what type of lifestyle you have will help in finding the right fit for your family. 

Dogs

Can I adopt siblings? The VBSPCA typically does not allow siblings to be adopted together to prevent a pack mentality from forming. However, on rare occasions, we do allow bonded pairs to be adopted together due to their connection with the other dog. 

Since I am adopting from a shelter, does that mean my dog will be housebroken? Not every dog from the VBSPCA will be house trained, but many of our older dogs will often have experience in homes.

If I already have a cat, how do I make sure the dog I am hoping to adopt will get along? We will do a cat test with either a friendly or reactive cat and determine whether that specific dog can 

Do I need to crate train? Crate training provides a dog with a safe space and peace of mind if you need to leave your home for short periods of time. 

Small Animals

How much noise should I be prepared for? Small animals make a lot of noise at night! Be prepared for a lot of scurrying and scratching.

How much of a time commitment is a small animal? Some small animals, like hamsters, do not require a huge time commitment. Rabbits and guinea pigs, on the other hand, are very social creatures and have specific needs that take up time. 

How noisy is my home? Noisy homes can stress out a small animal. Make sure your home is the right fit! 

What are bonded pairs and what should I be prepared for? Bonded pairs are two animals that have a special connection to each after spending a lot of time together. Many bonded pairs are opposites — one is standoffish and the other is extremely friendly. There is nothing wrong with this and that does not mean they should be separated. Be willing to open up your home to both of them because that will be the ideal situation for both animals!

October Volunteer Spotlight

In which area of the VBSPCA do you volunteer?

I started out cleaning the boxes in the cattery, and eventually I started cleaning the colonies which is what I enjoy the most.

Why did you choose to volunteer at the VBSPCA?

I don’t work and my husband is now retired military. We spent the last three years of his career in Japan, and I used to travel so much there, but when we got back to the states I had culture shock. Things are so different and you get used to the lifestyle. We got back and I became kind of a hermit. My husband saw that and told me ‘hey, you need to get out of the house and find something you enjoy.’ I love animals, and in January I was able to start volunteering here. 

What do you enjoy most about volunteering at the VBSPCA?

A little bit of everything. I really love the cats and being able to share what I know from working around them. I love seeing the cats go home and get adopted. I’m out of my hermit phase now and I’ve stopped staying at home so much. 

Fun fact?

I’m an anime fan so I adopted a black cat from the VBSPCA and named her Gigi after the cat in Kiki’s Delivery Service.  

Any special animals that you would like to see get adopted?

I love all of the cats, but I know bonded pairs are sometimes here longer than others. Since they’ve been here, I’ve really fallen in love with Fred and Skunky. They’re great cats and would be perfect for someone who is older and looking for couch buddies.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Virginia Beach SPCA, click here.

Learning About Leashes — The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Finding a good leash, collar or harness for your dog can be extremely challenging. There are a variety of different tools to choose from, and some are better than others. One of our experienced trainers, Shana Ness, gave a rundown of which are recommended and the ones to avoid.

The Good

Flat Buckle Collar                                                                                                                                          Flat Buckle Collars are the most commonly used collar. You can find them in almost any store in a wide variety of colors which makes them popular among dog owners. This is a great tool for keeping your pet secure, but does still apply pressure to their trachea until they learn to walk politely on leash without pulling. Most pet owners do not realize this, but Flat Buckle Collars are a potential choking hazard, and as such should not be left on while your pet is unattended or during play with other animals. This type of collar can be purchased at the VBSPCA Retail store located at our shelter on Holland Road.

Martingale Collar (AKA the Humane Choke Chain, No Slip Collar, or Limited Slip Collar)
Martingale Collars come in a wide variety of colors just like Flat Buckle Collars, but are not as common. This is a preferred collar for dog breeds that have narrower heads than necks such as but not limited to: Greyhounds, Salukis, and Whippets. Unlike Flat Buckle Collars, Martingale Collars have a small loop that contains a D ring to attach your leash to. When a dog pulls or tries to back out of the collar it tightens around the dog’s neck constricting just enough to keep the dog contained making it a great tool for dogs who may be a flight risk. Due to the size of the loop, Martingale Collars can only tighten to a certain degree, unlike the Choke Chain which have no safety mechanism to prevent choking. This type of collar can also be purchased at the VBSPCA Retail store located at our shelter on Holland Road.

Front Clip Harnesses
The Front Clip Harness is a great tool for anyone who has a dog struggling with their on leash manners. Similar to the Martingale Collar, there is a loop with a D ring, but it aligns with the breast bone. This loop, when a dog pulls, causes them to swing back around towards your legs away from what they were pulling towards. This type of harness is not ideal for dogs who are broad or square chested. This type of harness can be purchased at the VBSPCA Retail store located at our shelter on Holland Road.

Freedom Harnesses
Freedom Harnesses feature a two point leash system, giving you more control over your dog. This type of harness is preferred over the Front Clip Harness for dogs who are broad or square chested. This harness is also great for dogs who can escape other equipment. The idea behind this harness is similar to the Front Clip Harness in the fact that it helps maneuver the dog back around to you when it pulls. This makes it a great tool for dogs working on their leash manners. Unfortunately, you will not find this harness in any standard pet store so you will need to seek it out online if you are interested in purchasing it.

Back Clip Harness
Back Clip harnesses are great for dogs who are a flight risk or can slip out of other equipment. There’s a reason mushers use back clip harnesses for their dogs pulling sleds, and the reason is the oppositional reflex. The oppositional reflex in laymen terms means there is a force pulling the dog one way making it want to pull in the opposite direction. Due to this it is not a tool recommended for dogs who are working on their leash manners.

Harness Lead (AKA Figure 8 harness)
Harness Leads are another great tool for dogs who may be a flight risk or can slip out of other equipment. It can also be used as a slip lead making it a versatile tool. This harness can be purchased at the VBSPCA Retail store located at our shelter on Holland Road.

Traffic Leashes
Traffic leashes are a great tool when working with difficult to control dogs or reactive dogs. This type of leash has not one, but two handles giving you more control on the distance between you and your dog.

Chain Leashes
Chain leashes are usually made out of rust resistant metal making them a great choice for dogs who may chew through a normal nylon leash.

Head Halter/Collar (AKA the Gentle Leader)
Head Halters are a great tool for controlling dogs, extra-large dogs, and reactive dogs. This is a tool I even use for my own personal dog. Head Halters are very similar to the halters used on horses as they both use pressure points to give more control over the animal. However, you must desensitize it to a dog before use or they may injure themselves by trying to scratch/rub it off.

The Bad

Citronella Collars
Citronella Collars are another tool I do not recommend as they are considered a form of punishment and have a long lasting effect. Unfortunately, this type of collar delivers a lingering spray of citronella when it detects certain behavior (i.e. barking) or is remotely activated. As stated, the citronella lingers even after the behavior has stopped and due to this the dog can learn to associate the aversive smell of citronella with other things besides the unwanted behavior.

Flexi Lead (aka Retractable leashes)
Flexi Leads are not a tool I normally recommend. They can be a great tool when working with proofing your recalls, but can be a safety hazard. This type of leash can not only cause rope burns but also lacerations. This can occur if the leash gets wrapped around you or your dog and he/she takes off. Another risk of this type of leash is delayed reaction times due to the distance between yourself and your dog. For example, your dog is 15-26 feet away from you and approaches a dog who is not dog friendly resulting in a scuffle. Because of the distance, you cannot safely get your dog out of the way in time. If this is a tool you do decide to use always be conscious of your surroundings and of the people/animals around you.

The Ugly

Choke Chain
Choke Chains are a controversial training tool, and you will most likely hear different opinions from a variety of dog trainers regarding their use. This is a commonly used training tool when showing dogs as it helps keep the dog’s head held high. As a dog trainer who uses positive reinforcement, this is not a tool I recommend. A proper fitting Choke Chain will sit high on the neck just behind the ears, but some users of this training tool are uneducated or misinformed on the proper placement. This could lead to a higher chance of creating a harmful or even deadly situation. Unlike the Martingale Collar, Choke Chains do not have a safety mechanism. This means that they can continue to tighten to the point it chokes your dog. This is considered a form of punishment and as such there is an increased risk that use of this item could lead to more severe behavior issues.

Modified Prong Collars
Modified Prong Collars are not much different from regular Prong Collars. The difference lies in the material that is used to make the product and the fact it does not pinch as much. Modified Prong Collars are usually made out of hard plastic. This alternative option may not look as dangerous, but they are still a form of punishment, and as such there is an increased risk that use of this item could create other more severe behavior issues.

Prong Collars (AKA the Pinch Collar)
Prong Collars are another controversial training tool in the dog training world. Just like the Choke Chain you will hear different opinions from different dog trainers. This training tool in the wrong hands can be dangerous and cause injury (not just physical, but mental as well) dog. As such, this is not a device I recommend. Prong Collars when properly fitted should sit directly behind the ears, but some users of this training tool are uneducated or misinformed on the proper placement. It is very common to see Prong Collars sitting low on the neck, but this can lead to potential injury. This is another form of punishment and as such there is an increased risk that use of this item could lead to more severe behavior issues.

Electronic Collars
Electronic Collars are one of the most controversial training tools in the dog training world. Just like the Choke Chain and Prong Collar you will get different viewpoints from different trainers. This is another training tool that in the wrong hands can be dangerous and cause injury (not just physical, but mental as well) to your dog, as such this is not a device I recommend. Electronic collars can be activated remotely and/or detect when a dog is performing an unwanted behavior (i.e. barking). When the Electronic Collar is activated it delivers a beep, vibrate, and/or shock. Due to this it is considered a form of punishment and as such there is an increased risk that use of this item could lead to more severe behavior issues.

Please see the AVSAB’s (American Veterinary Society of Animal Behavior) stance on punishment to learn more about why punishment is not the answer or solution to your pets training.

10 Tips to Run With Your Dog

Running is a great form of exercise and an enjoyable way to get outside and explore! While running can be fun alone, it is always better with a four-legged friend by your side. But before you can take your dog on adventures, here are a few tips on preparing your pup for the great outdoors.

Make sure they are the right breed and ageAlthough any dog enjoys exercise and play, some are simply not built for running. Dogs with short muzzles, such as pugs and bulldogs, cannot breathe well enough to run for long distances. Puppies are also not good distance runners due to their still-developing bones. Make sure your dog has the right temperament and would enjoy strenuous workouts. 

Get the right gear. A harness leash is ideal for running, and there are even hands-free leashes that you can buy to prevent tripping. While running, it’s important to keep both you and your dog hydrated! So bring a collapsible water bowl or a water bottle that your running buddy can drink out of.  

Start slow. According to the AKC website, it is important to start slow when training your dog to run with you. Ensure that your dog will behave themselves with you at a walking pace and then slowly increase speed. A dog that tugs or gets distracted could be a danger to both of you at running speeds.

Build endurance. Just like humans, dogs need to slowly build muscle in order to go on long runs. Start with a short run around the block first, the increase a little every day to get your dog in shape.

Be encouraging! Your dog loves positive reinforcement! Let them know what a great job they’re doing by providing treats and encouragement throughout the run. 

Keep your dog to one side. The treats will come in handy when training your furry friend to run to one side. Always offer it on the side that you want them to run on and your dog should understand quickly!

Use verbal cues to control pace. An easy way to control pace is through verbal cues. Saying phrases like “let’s go” or “slow down” when changing pace will prevent you from tugging on the leash to control pace.  

Pay attention to weather conditions. Dogs can’t regulate heat as well as humans, and some breeds are not able to withstand the cold temperatures either. Knowing what the weather is like outside and what your dog can handle is crucial for a great running experience. Your dog will enjoy the workout so much more if they are running in comfortable weather! 

Warm up and cool down your dog. Dogs need to stretch their freshly-worked muscles, so a cool down walk is important to keep your dog healthy and in great shape.

Have fun! Once your dog is conditioned and ready, make running a fun experience! Take your dog to new places so they can experience the great outdoors and run on a new trail every time you go out.

Another Way of Seeing Things — Three Blind Kittens Join The VBSPCA Family

Imagine living in a world where you are in complete darkness and you have discovered your surroundings through smell, touch and taste. This is what life is like for the three blind kittens the VBSPCA recently took in. 

The VBSPCA works with local animal control to help special cases. The kittens were transferred in due to an infection in their eyes and will now be able to get the medical help they need at the shelter. All three kittens will need a double eye enucleation that will be fully paid for by the VBSPCA Miracle Medical Fund – a fund dedicated to solely to providing critical medical care to VBSPCA shelter pets. 

Although they will live their entire lives without their sight, blind pets are incredibly adaptable and can live a happy life in a loving home. One of our staff members, Sarah, owns a blind cat named Vision and shared her experience living with a blind animal.

“They still lead a completely normal life,” Sarah said. “It might take them a little bit of encouragement to understand that if you jump off the bed you’re not gonna fall into a huge canyon or things like that. There are times when you have to build their confidence, but that makes their bond with you that much stronger.”

After Vision transitioned into a home setting, Sarah described what it was like to see her discover her new home. 

“Eventually we let her outside of our master bedroom and let her begin to interact with all of our other cats and experiencing the house and it was really great to see her learn the layout and see her first steps down the stairs,” said Sarah. “Now she runs up and down them. The great thing is that even though she can’t see, her other senses are so hyped up.”

Living with a blind cat is like living with any other animal, yet it is important to understand that they memorize the world around them and may not adjust to change easily. Special needs pets make great pets, but they do need families who will be committed to care and safe home adjustment. According to Catster, blind cats enjoy noisy toys and owners who love to talk to them. 

The three kittens still have to grow before they are able to have surgery and be adopted, but the VBSPCA is excited to eventually be able to give these sweet animals a chance to find a great home. However, this surgery is costly for our clinic and the kittens will also need a committed foster to take care of them throughout their recovery. 

Our Miracle Medical Fund was started to help cases like this and saves thousands of animal lives every year. Any gift to the fund goes directly to the medical care of the animals here at the VBSPCA. If you would like to give animals like these kittens the life-saving procedures they need to live a happy and healthy life, please consider donating to the Miracle Medical Fund today!

 

Getting Better with Age: Reasons to Adopt a Senior Pet

If you’re interested in adopting a new furry family member, here are a few reasons why you should consider a senior pet:

Being at a shelter does not imply an older animal is problematic: Older pets are surrendered to our shelter for the very same reasons younger pets are, but often for reasons that have nothing to do with their behavior or personality (i.e. moving, career changes/time limitations, new babies, death of a guardian, allergies, etc.).

Senior pets need homes too! For whatever reason, senior animals are some of the hardest to find homes for – so when you adopt a senior pet, you’re truly saving a life. If not you, then who?

Age is just a number: Senior pets provide just as much love, companionship, and excitement as younger pets. No matter their age, pets still enjoy regular exercise, playtime, and TV marathons on the couch with you. Providing a home to an animal during the “golden years” can be just as rewarding and special!

“Senior” status doesn’t always always correlate with sunset years: Dogs and cats live for 10-15 years on average, and many live even longer than that. It seems rather strange that 5 year old pets are thought of as a “senior” when the majority of their years are still ahead of them. A “senior” pet has lots of love and adventures to share with you, and there are many years of love and fun still ahead!

Train less, enjoy more: Most adult dogs are already house-trained so you won’t have to go through the difficult stages of teaching house manners and cleaning up after accidents. Older dogs won’t chew your shoes and furniture like teething puppies, and adult cats have already developed their litter box routine and can be less destructive when it comes to scratching furniture- and your ankles! You can spend your time and energy welcoming your pet into their new home instead of having to train and defend your home from the habits of a younger animal.

Focus to learn: You can teach an old dog (and cat) new tricks. Older pets can focus better because they’ve mellowed. Therefore, they learn quickly.

What you see is what you get: Unlike puppies, older dogs have grown into their shape and personality. Puppies can grow up to be quite different from what they seemed at first. Adult cats are also full grown and already past that spastic kitten stage. You’ll know exactly what your getting when adopting an adult compared to a puppy or kitten. Remember, adopting is a forever commitment to that animal. The tiny puppy or fluffy kitten that catches your eye is going to become an adult just like the adult dog or cat you might be overlooking. If you don’t want an adult pet, being a temporary foster for puppies or kittens that aren’t ready for adoption yet is a wonderful option to consider!

A grateful and loving companion: Believing that you can only form a close bond with a young animal that you raise yourself is untrue. Your new furry family member can show you a level of attention and devotion that is unique to older, adopted animals. Older pets really are wiser, and somehow, older pets seem to know you gave them a home when no one else would. Many new owners form a close bond very quickly with their senior dog or cat. 

Easier Introductions: Senior pets can be easier to introduce to resident pets and settle in easily. Older pets have learned what it takes to get along with others and are less likely to invade the personal space of other pets.

Calm and relaxing: Senior pets have a very calm energy about them. Older pets are just as affectionate, but also leave you time for yourself and don’t make the kinds of demands on your time and attention that puppies and young kittens do. We’re not kidding when we say adopting two kittens is half the work, because a playmate can be an outlet for all that energy!

The reality is health problems can arise at any age. Many senior pets are happy and healthy. However, some people may hesitate to adopt an older animal (or a special needs pet) when that animal has existing medical concerns. To look at the situation optimistically, at least you have an idea of what to expect when a pet has a known medical issue. You have an informed advantage because you’re entering into the relationship fully prepared for what the animal needs from you. 

It makes you feel good! You can be a hero to a deserving animal. Almost without exception, people who adopt older animals feel a special sense of pride and purpose in opening their heart to a harder-to-adopt pet. Doing a good thing really does make you feel good!

It takes a special person to adopt a pet knowing you may have a shorter time than you’d like, but adopting a senior pet is the the ultimate gift of generosity. Next time you think about adopting a new pet, take a look at the older animals who are just as deserving of a loving home. You’ll be the love of his or her life. It’s worth it.