Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lady's Family

Something was moving inside the crate.

Annie, Animal Friends’ veterinary technician, stepped onto her porch. She’d only placed the empty crate down for a short time while she went inside to gather supplies for another night of TNR (Trap-Neuter-Return). Something had quickly taken residence in the safe shadows inside the plastic crate. Annie bent down gingerly. Inside, she was to relieved to find a tiny feline family. An elegant, all-gray cat was peacefully nursing wispy gray kittens.




Four tiny pairs of eyes squinted out, then turned back to their mom. Lady, as the mother cat would come to be named, turned in the direction of her visitor. She searched, bobbing her small head, and Annie saw that the mother cat was blind. In fact, her eye sockets were so ruptured with infection that it was impossible to tell whether the mama cat even had eyes. And still, she tenderly nursed her kittens. 

Annie was expecting to spend the night helping feral cats—setting humane traps to help round up the scores of free-roaming felines in her neighborhood. She hadn’t expected this little family to find her first. And most of all, she couldn’t imagine how the blind mother cat had not only found shelter, but also corralled her four newborns inside.

Annie made sure everyone was tucked inside, then secured the crate. This friendly little family would soon be delivered to Animal Friends.Back at Animal Friends, Lady was treated for fleas and infections and proved to be a sweet and docile cat. She and her kittens went into a foster home where they can gain weight and bask in TLC until they’re ready to be adopted. But Lady wasn’t the only cat who was struggling to raise a family outside. 

Annie continues to spend her evenings “TNRing” more cats in her neighborhood. Annie knows that no one else will step up on behalf of the cats.

She’s managing a colony of cats that are feral – too wild and untamed to live as pets. But thanks to Animal Friends’ Low-Cost Spay/Neuter program, she’s able to have the cats spayed and neutered so their population doesn’t skyrocket. And when she discovers newborns, like Lady’s litter, she knows that Animal Friends can care for and socialize them and adopt them into homes.



Animal Friends’ Low-Cost Spay Neuter program is literally a lifesaver in our community. Last year alone, we altered more than eight thousand animals… preventing feral cats, pets of low-income families, and pets at smaller shelters from producing litter after unwanted litter.

In fact, since our program’s inception, we have provided high-quality, low-cost surgeries to 100,000 pets. Without this program, can you even imagine how many unwanted dogs, cats and rabbits would flood into already overwhelmed shelters?

Can you imagine how many would never even stand a chance?

Spaying and neutering works. But it requires resources, veterinarians, equipment and people like Annie – and you – to make it happen. Please don’t assume that someone else will step up and ensure that this important work continues. We need you to step up. Please support this lifesaving solution.

Please give generously. Click here to donate today.

Animal Friends Hosts MORE Low-Cost Vaccine and Microchip Clinics!



Keep your pet healthy and safe! Due to public demand, Animal Friends will host 5 more clinics to offer low-cost vaccine, microchip and flea treatments for dogs and cats. The following clinics will be held at Animal Friends at 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237:

Thursday, October 11 - 1pm - 3pm - FULL
Thursday, October 25 - 1pm - 3pm
Thursday, November 15 - 1pm - 3pm
Thursday, November 29 - 1pm - 3pm
Thursday, December 13 - 1pm - 3pm

Rabies, distemper, Bordetella and FVRCP vaccines will be offered for $10 each. In addition to insuring your pet’s health, rabies vaccines are required by law.  All pets over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies, with non-compliance resulting in $300 per day fines. 

Microchipping services will be provided for $20. Microchips are tiny chips, the size of a grain of rice, with a unique bar code. They are implanted under a pet’s skin and can be read with a scanner to identify your pet. Microchips can help reunite a lost pet with his or her family.

Flea treatments are offered for $5. There will be discounts for multiple services!

Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in carriers.  Cash only please. No credit cards will be accepted.

Register today by calling 412.847.7029.  Spots are limited so call now!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Back by popular demand: Low-Cost Vaccine and Microchip Clinic



Since the last one went so well and filled up so quickly, we decided to do it again!

Animal Friends will offer low-cost vaccines, microchip and other clinic services on Thursday, October 11 from 1 to 3 p.m.  The clinic will be held at Animal Friends at 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237.

Necessary vaccines for dogs and cats such as rabies, distemper, Bordetella and FVRCP will be offered for $10 each.  In addition to insuring your pet’s health, some of these vaccines are required by law.  All pets over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies, with non-compliance resulting in $300 per day fines.  Microchipping services will be provided for $20 and flea treatments are offered for $5.  There will be discounts for multiple services!

Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in carriers.  Cash only please, no credit cards will be accepted.

Spaces are limited! Please call 412.847.7029 to reserve your space!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Introducing Your New Baby to Your Furbabies



By Ben Huber & Elsie Lampl
Co-owners, Petagogy


This summer, we added baby Ada to our family of two dogs, Jack, a Labradoodle, and Bumble Bee, an American Bulldog. After the requisite 30 seconds of ooooing and aahhhing over the new baby, the first question people ask is “How are the dogs doing?” The short answer is great! Bumble Bee is kind of indifferent and is just going with the flow. Jack, on the other hand, has found his best friend. He never leaves Ada’s side and his main concern seems to be her happiness.

Although we are not trainers and have no experience in animal psychology or obedience, we’ve compiled a list of things to consider when introducing a new baby to your pets based on our personal research and experience, both positive and negative. There are also many classes offered at places like Animal Friends and hospitals that expecting couples can take to learn how to successfully introduce their human baby to their furbabies.

Before the baby arrives:

•Stop bad behaviors early! Jack has a “jumping” problem when he first meets people. Although we knew the problem would be exacerbated when the baby was born, we kept pushing off working on training. Before we knew it, we were having the baby, and having a newborn is not an ideal time to train a dog! We now regret not working on Jack’s jumping as soon as that pregnancy test turned out to be positive (and we had a lot of extra time for dog training!).  

• Try to incorporate any changes before the baby comes. If you do not want the dogs and cats to be on furniture or in certain rooms, start enforcing this long before the baby comes. This way, the pets won’t associate the baby with their new restrictions and the boundaries will be enforced and understood by the time you are busy with a baby. We decided to no longer allow the dogs to sleep in bed with us and started enforcing it early on. (However, in the early weeks after Ada came home, the dogs sensed our exhaustion and took it as an opportunity to sneak up on the bed while we were sleeping).  

• Have dad bring home a receiving blanket early with the baby’s smells on it. We did this. We have no idea if it made a difference, as Jack and Bumble Bee didn’t seem interested in it. 

• Set all of your baby stuff out early, including the Pack n’ Play, toys, mats, swings, the crib, etc. Our dogs sniffed at all of it for several days, but by the time the baby came they were normal pieces of furniture to the dogs.  

• Get your pets accustomed to baby noises and smells. Recommendations include playing the sound of a baby crying, wearing baby powder and carrying around an infant. We didn’t do any of this although we had good intentions to do so.  

• Plan for a pet sitter! You probably won’t know when you’ll be going to the hospital, but it’s important to make sure you’re prepared. Also, just as you would prepare a hospital bag for mom in advance, pack one for your pets regardless of whether someone is coming to your home or if you are dropping them off somewhere. We knew Ben’s mother would be watching the dogs, so well-ahead of our due date we brought treats, food, toys, bowls and other supplies to her house so all we would have to worry about on the big day (or night) was getting the dogs there. 

After the baby comes home: 

•Your pets may not react the way you think they will with the new baby. Our boys’ reactions were what we expected, but not from the dog we expected. We thought Bumble Bee, who is a people lover and a seeker of affection, would be smitten with baby Ada and shadow her every move, but he acts as if she has been there for years, and only gets up to check on her when she lets out a good, hard cry. Jack, who normally doesn’t care about people other than his mom, Elsie, has now taken on the role of Super Nanny. Whether 3:00 pm or 3:00 am, if Ada makes a noise he is by her side looking at us with an urgent whine that says, “You should run to her just as fast as I do.”

•Incorporate the baby and the pets into your daily life. Although it’s a lot of work, we take at least one daily walk with both dogs and the baby.  

• Don’t leave the baby alone with the dogs. We absolutely do not think our dogs would ever do anything on purpose to hurt the baby. That being said, they are still dogs and we are still in an adjustment period. We don’t leave the baby within the dogs’ reach alone, ever. Our biggest concern is that one of the dogs would go to greet the baby (as in lick or sniff her) and step on her or paw her for attention.   

•Make sure your dogs are getting enough exercise. For the first two weeks, we were skipping the dogs’ evening walk because of the baby and the ridiculous heat outside. We noticed that they had pent-up energy, which isn’t healthy for us or them. Once the weather broke and we started walking them in the evenings again, we noticed a much calmer environment in our home. 

• Make sure mom pays attention to the pets, not just petting but walking and feeding them too. It doesn’t have to be every time, but it helps if there isn’t a complete abandonment of these duties. To that effect, when the baby comes home, make sure dad brings the baby in the house and mom comes in and greets the pets.  

•Spoil your pets! They might be nervous, over-excited, and confused. Your attention will also be diverted to the baby and away from the pets. Having some special chews and toys to give them during the first couple of weeks can go a long way to making sure your pets feel loved. Long-lasting chews like bully sticks, Himalayan Dog Chews made from yak cheese, and puzzle toys, as well as new catnip or interactive cat lures and chasers, will not only keep your pets busy, but it will buy mom and dad a few minutes of peace. 

•Think about a calming solution. Jack was extra excited for the first couple of days, particularly when the baby cried. The first night we were home, every time the baby cried, Jack cried. This meant extra work all night, as we couldn’t calm Jack down.  The next day we got a calming collar and it worked wonders! Jack was still very interested and concerned when Ada cried, but we no longer had to calm Jack every time we calmed the baby. The collar used pheromones to calm him. The effect was nothing near being “drugged” or “doped”; rather, it was as if someone turned his excitement down a notch––same dog, just more relaxed.

It will take some time to integrate your new baby into your home, but making sure your pets are less stressed, feel cared for and are part of the family will go a long way to making them feel more comfortable around your new bundle of joy.

 



Petagogy (pronounced pet-uh-go-jee) specializes in premium and natural pet foods, treats and supplies for dogs, cats and small mammals. Petagogy is located at 5880 Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside. Store hours are Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 8:00 pm and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. Visit their website at www.petagogypgh.com.


Learn all about these tips and many more at Animal Friends’ Baby-Ready Pets Class!

The excitement of preparing for a new baby should not be dampened by concerns about your pets’ reactions. With some planning, preparation and training, introducing your newest family member to your pet can be very successful and rewarding.  The Baby-Ready Pets! Workshop will assist you in making the preparations for these introductions. Please note that this is a people-only class; no pets, please. Seating is limited and advance registrations are required. Instructors: Ron and Mary Papik. 


Date:  Tuesday, October 16 2012 - Click here to RSVP!
Time:  7:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Tuition:  Free

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Happy "Tails" Adoption Story: Jazzy

At Animal Friends, we follow up with each of our adopters 3 days, 3 weeks and 3 months after their adoption. Our goal is to make sure that our former residents are adjusting well to their new homes, and to answer any questions that may arise along the way.

This follow-up report, which came via email from Jazzy’s adopter, was one of our favorites to date!


The Jazzy Chronicles

What is your new pet's name?:  JAZZY!! And it’s appropriate!

How is your new pet adjusting to her new home?:  Well – it did take awhile – about 30 whole minutes.

Has your new pet been regular in eating their food (yes/no):  OINK  (We're taking that as a 'yes').


Day 1

Hey. I’m in the car!  Hey.  What’s in this Animal Friends bag?  I’d better look!

Whoo hoo! I'm at the new house.  And I’m on a leash .  I don’t mind traffic at all!

OK – in the house – what’s that – a trash can?  Looks delicious!  Let me just stick my snout in there.

Better watch the tail wagging – it might fly off.

TOYS!!!!!!!!!  *Shake*  *bark*  *growl*  *FLING*

I can chase Scooby the beagle and she’s chasing me back. This is totally fun.

Time for dinner.  I can’t concentrate; there’s too much to do!  OK!  I’ll eat but I gotta hurry and get back to important exploring.

I’m POOPED.  Fortunately, so is Marie.  Let’s nap on the couch (I’ll just cuddle up with her).

More walks – and I’m running as fast as I can.

Bedtime – Oooh my own dog bed  or the people bed . . . if I just curl up real small maybe they won’t notice me?

Day 2

What the heck – it’s 7AM and they’re making me wake up.  FINE – I’ll go outside and then have my breakfast.

Is that a lawn mower?  BARK!!  HOWWWL.  Whoa – I have an OUTSIDE VOICE.  I may need to use this frequently.

BUTTERFLY!  *pounce*  Dang – I missed it.

Hey, are those CATS?  Just walking around at the neighbors?  I’d better bark just to be sure.  Scooby – help me out here – let’s bark together.  HOOOOWWWWWWLL  (times 2)

Oooh – a milk bone!  Scooby ate hers, but I think I should save mine.  Let me try burying it.  I’m not really sure what I’m doing here, but I think ¼ inch of dirt should hide it from beagle Scooby.

< 3 mins later >SHE GOT MY MILK BONE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Another lawn mower – this time it’s Steve .  Hooowwwwwl!

Is that a sock?  It would probably be very helpful if I snatched it up, bolted down the stairs and got it nice and slobbery.

Happy happy sproing sproing – oops – remember – don’t wag the tail right off.

Oooh – if I get up on the chair, I can stick my snout into Marie’s coffee cup.  She probably won’t mind at all.  And coffee will perk me up!!!!

Who’s in the shower?  I’d better stick my head in.

6PM – Marie’s in the kitchen and I think I’ll try out this crate.  I’ve seen it sitting here, with a nice soft blanket.  Yup it sure looks . . .SNORE..ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZz SNORE ZZZZZZZZZZZZ SNORE ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZz. Why do I have to get up and go to bed? SNOREZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Day 3

I’m gonna need my own day planner – I’m BUSY!!!!!





And one last word from Jazzy's new owners: Thank you for bringing her into our home!


Good luck and many happy tail wags to Jazzy and her new family!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Find Your Match at the Sugar, Spice and Everything...Kitten! Event



Kittens will be in the spotlight at Animal Friends’ Sugar, Spice and Everything…Kitten! Event on Sunday, September 16.  Animal Friends is ushering in Fall with a full-fledged feline frolic!  Many kittens are returning from foster care and are ready and waiting to find their forever homes. 

Come play with adoptable, adorable kittens and enjoy light refreshments from 11am to 4pm.  Add a little sugar and spice to your household by bringing home a “mew” family member.  Best of all, since everyone knows two kittens are twice as nice, Animal Friends will waive the second adoption donation when you adopt a pair of felines. 

This event comes at an important time for Animal Friends’ resident cats. A recent rescue in Carrick has pushed Animal Friends’ resources to the limit and the shelter is overflowing with many cats that require medical care and a safe place to sleep.  For every kitten that is adopted, a cage is opened to another cat in need. 

Come and turn over a new leaf with Animal Friends’ kittens!
 

To find out how you can help all of Animal Friends' cats and kittens, click here to donate or click here to sponsor a spay.  Your support is what makes the Carrick rescue and other Humane Investigations rescues possible.   

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Animal Friends Offers Low-Cost Vaccine and Microchip Clinic




Animal Friends will offer low-cost vaccines, microchip and other clinic services on Tuesday, September 25 from 1 to 3 p.m.  The clinic will be held at Animal Friends at 562 Camp Horne Road, Pittsburgh PA 15237.

Necessary vaccines for dogs and cats such as rabies, distemper, Bordetella and FVRCP will be offered for $10 each.  In addition to insuring your pet’s health, some of these vaccines are required by law.  All pets over three months of age must be vaccinated against rabies, with non-compliance resulting in $300 per day fines.  Microchipping services will be provided for $20 and flea treatments are offered for $5.  There will be discounts for multiple services!

Dogs must be on a leash and cats must be in carriers.  Cash only please, no credit cards will be accepted.

This clinic date is full!  Please watch for more dates coming soon!