The Official Houston SPCA Humane Education Blog

Teaching us about our animal friends


Valentine’s Day Throwback: Houston SPCA tips for a pet safe Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day is almost here and the Houston SPCA has the best tips on how to keep your pets safe during this loving holiday!

Head over to our Valentine’s Day pet tips by clicking here: https://houstonspca.wordpress.com/2014/02/12/houston-spca-tips-for-a-pet-safe-valentines-day/

If you want to add a little bit of extra love to your Valentine’s Day, take a trip to the Houston SPCA to find a new furry friend for your family.

You can see all of our adoptable animals by clicking this link: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/adopt_main

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If Your Dog Poops, You Must Scoop!

Today we are talking all about poop – your pet’s poop that is!

Pet waste is smelly, unsightly and a health risk to pets and people, especially children. If a child happens to touch an object that has come in contact with dog feces and then touches their hand to their mouth or eyes, they could become infected with a disease.

Pet waste, if left on trails, sidewalks and grassy areas, can also be washed into the nearest water system when it rains. The bacteria, parasites and viruses in pet waste can harm water quality and anyone who comes in contact with it.

Here are five reasons why you should always SCOOP THE POOP:

  1. To protect your local water quality.
  2. To protect our children from diseases.
  3. To help monitor your dog’s health.
  4. It is part of being a responsible pet owner.
  5. It’s the law!

Section 6-24 from the Houston Department of Health and Human Services states that it is the duty of each person in control of a dog or cat to promptly remove and dispose of, in a sanitary manner, feces left by such dog or cat.

So to all my fellow pet owners out there – let’s do our part to keep the environment clean and community healthy… Let’s scoop that poop!

For more information about the Houston SPCA, head over to our website: www.HoustonSPCA.org


Are You Ready for the Houston SPCA’s iWalk for Animals 2014?

Fall is on its way to the Houston area which means it is almost time for the Houston SPCA’s iWalk for Animals global event!

2013 iWalk For Animals Banner Ad.jpg

People often ask me, “What is the best way to help the animals that the Houston SPCA rescues?” or “How can I help the Houston SPCA if I don’t live in Houston?”  The best way to give to our animals is to participate in one of our largest events of the year – the Houston SPCA’s iWalk for Animals!

So what is iWalk for Animals?

iWalk for Animals is a lifesaving venture that encourages animal-lovers around the globe to “walk where they are” on Sunday, Nov. 9, 2014. Gather with friends and family, with or without your pets, at the time and place of your choice and support the life-saving efforts of the Houston SPCA.

The best part about iWalk for Animals is just how little stress it will be for you, your family, friends, neighbors, and pets! Choose where you want to walk or run, pick your time and get to it!

Even he can do it!


How do I sign up?

You can register as an individual or join as a team by clicking here! When you register, you are raising funds for the Houston SPCA. We place 100 percent of our healthy animals into loving, new homes. We encourage you to enlist your friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to step up and support your fundraising efforts.

All iWalkers who raise $100 or more will receive a limited-edition iWalk for Animals T-shirt and be eligible for other great prizes!

What is a good goal for my iWalk for Animals team?

Each animal that comes into the Houston SPCA is given a medical evaluation, vaccinations, spay or neuter surgery, and a microchip. To do all this costs about $400 per animal! Not to mention the life-saving surgeries or treatments some animals need when rescued. Please consider $400 per person as your fundraising goal and remember, every little bit counts!

Last year, nearly 275 iWalkers from coast-to-coast stepped out and raised over $300,000. Join the movement and help the Houston SPCA give orphaned, abused and neglected animals a chance to find their forever families.

I have already joined iWalk for Animals this year – will you join me?


Guest Post – The Houston SPCA Foster Program: Making Transformations Happen Every Day!

This week we welcome our Foster Care Coordinator, Lauren, to the Humane Education Blog to talk about how important our foster care program is at the Houston SPCA.

If you would like to consider fostering an animal for the Houston SPCA, please follow this link for more information: http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageServer?pagename=getinvolved_foster 

Houston SPCA Foster Program

Making Transformations Happen Every Day!

As foster care coordinator, I place animals who need extra TLC into homes with foster volunteers.  Some animals come in sick or injured, and others are just too young to be adopted.  In any case, they leave the Houston SPCA for foster care looking one way and are returned to us as completely different animals.  Receiving photos and email updates has quickly become my favorite and the most rewarding part of my job!

When animals are brought to the Houston SPCA, we often do not have a lot of information about their past.  They are in a completely new environment with strange (though kind!) people.  Most are very nervous and stressed.  A happy puppy could become very fearful in a shelter kennel, and cats and kittens do particularly poorly in strange new environments.

However, once we place them into foster homes animals get a new chance to be themselves!  They calm down very quickly and start to showcase their personalities.  Once they get settled in and are more comfortable, it’s time for a photo-shoot!  I receive new photos of foster animals daily, and it is always so amazing to see how dramatically they can change in such a short amount of time (see awesomely adorable photos for reference).  After the photo ops are captured, it is important to start to pay close attention to the animal’s behavior.  The time spent in a foster home is sometimes the only opportunity we get to know more information about an animal’s personality, habits and skills.  For potential adopters, it is crucial to see all of the wonderful things we have learned about an animal and our amazing foster volunteers afford us that added bonus to the kennel card: the adoption summary.  The adoption summary allows us to add information such as whether or not the animal is house-trained, how they are with kids or other animals and how active they are.  This helps our furry friends find their perfect home and get adopted much faster!

Foster Care after

One of my favorite transformations has happened just recently.  Lisa Rotter, our animal behavior coordinator, notified me that we had 2 Shepherd-mix puppies who were extremely fearful.  I went to work and found two foster families who wanted to work with a puppy each.  After just hours of getting home with the little male, I got an email from my volunteer with photos and a video of him playing and acting like a normal pup!  It was so great to see that transformation and it made me realize that the “little” victories are well worth the time and energy spent to help these animals.

Thank you to all of the foster volunteers at the Houston SPCA who donate their time and love for our animals that need a little extra care before finding their forever family.


Happy Earth Day from the Houston SPCA

Happy Earth Day everyone!

Earth Day Blog Pic

On this day of celebrating our wonderful planet, we are here to share ways you can help out when it comes to your pets. You may not know just how much you can help our Mother Earth by making very small changes in your pet’s daily routine.

Here are a few ways you can make a big difference:

1. Change up those poop bags!

Switching from plastic poop bags that can sit in a landfill for hundreds of years to a biodegradable poop bag will help the Earth for generations to come. Don’t worry – you will not get anything on your hands! They are just as strong as the plastic ones.

2. While we are on the topic of poo – pick it up!

If you aren’t already picking up your dog’s poop, you may be contributing to soil and groundwater pollution – not to mention the spread of disease! Picking up your dog’s poop is a must and will help your community and the planet stay cleaner!

3. Planning on grooming your pet?

If you plan on doing some springtime de-furminating, why not do it in your backyard? The fur that flies away is an excellent resource for birds and squirrels to use in their nests.

4. Recycling at its finest – DIY pet toys!

Making toys for your pets at home using items you already have is such a fun and creative way to recycle. Look at these awesome DIY toys you can make for your dogs, cats, and small mammals!

Your cat won't be able to resist this toy made out of a sock! ~~~~A must have cat toy!! I now sell in my Etsy shop.~~~~ Veronica  https://www.etsy.com/listing/174317093/sock-cat-toy-with-catnip?ref=shop_home_active

DIY Rabbit Toy Ideas | Bunny Approved

5. The most noble form of ‘recycling’ – ADOPTION!

Adopt Me

If you are looking to add to your family, adopt, don’t shop! There are many animals that need a second chance at life at your local animal shelter. You never know, you might find your next nature hike partner at an animal shelter near you!

So on this Earth Day, get outside and start making a difference! We know you can!

 

To support the Houston SPCA or to find your next furrever friend, visit www.HoustonSPCA.org.


Please Avoid Giving Baby Chicks and Rabbits for Easter

Spring has sprung here in Houston and it is just about that time to load up the Easter baskets and decorate some eggs!

Spring is the best – gotta love those Texas Bluebonnets!

When it comes to Easter, most children start thinking about baby bunnies – I know I do! Peter Cottontail, Bugs Bunny and Thumper are fictional bunny rabbits adored by children.

 

However,  real-life baby bunnies (chicks and ducklings) are not able to bounce back from the antics you see in cartoons. Baby rabbits, chicks and ducklings are absolutely adorable but are also very fragile.  They can be easily injured or killed by a child who may over-handle them or handle them incorrectly.  In addition, they have special dietary and housing needs in order for them to thrive.

You may think that getting your child a baby bunny or baby chick is a great addition to their Easter basket. Please avoid doing this!

In the weeks following Easter, the Houston SPCA and its subsidiary, The Wildlife Center of Texas, may receive countless unwanted Easter bunnies, chicks and ducklings.  The Houston SPCA strongly urges you, the parent, to avoid putting a live animal in your child’s Easter basket. You do not want a tragedy to occur on a happy occasion.

Instead, consider putting a cute, cuddly stuffed toy animal in your child’s Easter basket this year.  They don’t eat much, require no training or grooming, and there’s no mess to clean up.  You can also be a part of the solution by making a donation in your child’s name to the Houston SPCA and the Wildlife Center of Texas which provide care for unwanted Easter animals who become orphaned, abused or neglected.

Do your part to save rabbits, chicks, and ducklings this Easter by not giving them as a present to your child on Easter. Getting a rabbit should be a family decision after doing research on how much love and care a rabbit takes.

To donate to the Houston SPCA and help give orphaned, abused and neglected animals a second chance at life follow this link:  http://www.houstonspca.org/site/PageNavigator/donate_main

And if you were looking for adorable photos of wild baby bunnies rescued by the Wildlife Center of Texas – here they are!!

bunnies

bunnies2

To help The Wildlife Center of Texas rescue, rehabilitate and release animals back into the wild, click here: http://www.wildlifecenteroftexas.org/donate/


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How to Choose the Purrrfect Pet for Your Family! PART 1

Owning a pet can be an incredibly rewarding experience but you want to make sure that your family is ready to pick a pet that fits in just right.

In Part 1 of our article “How to Choose the Purrrfect Pet for Your Family,” we will help you decide if your family is ready to take on the responsibility of having a pet in your home.

First let’s talk about physical care –

Pets need to be fed, given fresh water, exercised, taken to the veterinarian, played with, cleaned up after, and so much more! Is everyone in the family going to share the responsibility or will one person be in charge of your new pet’s physical needs? Does everyone have the time to spend with your new family pet or are your schedules too busy to stop and take a breath? I would recommend sharing the tasks with your family and having a rotating schedule that allows everyone to have time with your pet. This way, even if some family members are busy with work or school, everyone can be involved in loving your new pet. Sharing the responsibility can also help young children learn about the importance of taking care of a living being as well as earning trust from their pet.

OK- We figured out that everyone is going to help take care of your new pet, but who is going to pay for their needs?

Dog with money

Pets cost money – lots of money. Even if you adopt one from an animal shelter they will end up costing you money. Someone needs to pay for food, toys, beds, blankets, kennels, cages, bowls, and veterinary care! Before getting a pet, you need to make sure that your family can afford everything that a new pet will need to live a happy and healthy life. Then set up a ‘pet budget’ for your family to stick to so there aren’t any surprise financial costs in the future.  Make sure to include enough money in that budget for at least two emergency vet visits – you always want to be prepared for anything that may happen!

Money is figured out, how about who will take care of your pet when you are out of town or go on vacation?

When you travel or go on vacation you will need to find someone to help take care of your family’s pet when you are unable to. There are many options to choose from including hiring a pet sitter, taking your pet to a boarding facility, taking them to a family member’s house who is willing to take care of them temporarily, or even taking them with you! Many hotels across the country are becoming more pet-friendly and you can even use that as a search option when finding a hotel to book. No matter what, when you are unable to take care of your pet, it is your responsibility to find someone who will give them the love and attention they need and deserve while you are away.

dog-hotel1

“This suite suits us quite well!”

Last but most importantly, ask yourself this question – ‘Why do I want a pet?’

Pets can be adorable, sweet, and fun to play with but if you only want a pet because it looks ‘cute’ you may not be getting a pet for the right reason. Having a pet is a lifetime commitment – you are literally taking care of that pet for their lifespan. Thinking that having a pet looks ‘cool’ but then a few years later not wanting the responsibility of taking care of them is just unfair to the pet in your home.

Here are some great reasons to own a pet –

Milton_4_adoption_option_wm

– You want a companion that you can take care of.

– You want to give a second chance at life to a rescued animal.

– You want your children to learn how to responsibly interact with animals and how to take care of an animal’s physical needs but know that you will end up taking care of the animal quite a bit.

– You have a pet at home that would like a companion.

Some not so good reasons to get a pet –

– That puppy looked really cute when you saw it and you want to take pictures to post in instagram.

selfie-2

– Your best friend got a cat and now you want one to because it isn’t fair that she got one first.

– Having a pet will totally make me look hotter to the ladies!

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He may be your bro-ver, but he is still your pet!

– My children won’t stop nagging me about getting a pet; I better give them what they want so they will stop bugging me about it.

So what are your reasons for wanting a pet?

Talk about this with your family or roommates or well, yourself.

Please avoid ‘impulse buying’ and do your research before you purchase an animal. You want to make sure that you are truly ready to take in a new family member.

Are you ready to choose your perfect pet? We hope so!

In Part 2 of “How to Choose the Purrrfect Pet for Your Family” we will talk about how to choose the right type of animal to be your family’s purrfect pet!

And here’s a little something to brighten your Friday –

See y’all again soon!