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What is Black Dog Syndrome?
Tuesday, May 22, 2018

rick, black dog syndrome, black dogs, tongue

This is Rick, a very handsome black dog who LOVES the ladies!

Black Dog Syndrome is a theory held by many in the animal welfare world that dogs with solid black coats take longer to adopt out than other dogs. Studies on the theory have conflicting results, but when a significant number of black dogs seem to sit at the shelter while others fly out the door it can be difficult not to point to Black Dog Syndrome as the cause.

It’s unclear what exactly drives Black Dog Syndrome. Some point to the frequency with which black dogs are depicted as aggressive in movies, while others believe it is a subconscious aversion to the color black. Whatever the reason, black dogs can be difficult to market simply because they typically don’t photograph well. Amongst photos of lighter colored dogs, black dogs don’t stand out due to their dark color. 

We love our black dogs and we hope to spread the word that they are just as sweet, fun and loving as any other dog! Take a look at our Findapet page or stop by one of our shelters to meet some of our wonderful black dogs!

Should I Shave My Dog This Summer?
Friday, May 18, 2018

big bertha, husky, shaving your dog

Big Bertha wants to tell everyone that you shouldn't shave a Husky in the summer!

It’s summer once again and the brutal Texas heat is back with a vengeance. If this is your first time experiencing a Texas summer, your first instinct might be to shave your dog down to give them some relief from the heat. They must be burning up with that thick fur coat, right?

As much as we treat our pets as if they were people, it’s important to remember that dogs are not humans! Their bodies are designed to regulate heat differently. Dogs with double coats, such as Huskies or Golden Retrievers, will shed their thick undercoat when temperatures rise. The top layer of fur protects your dog’s skin from sunburn. Shaving their fur in the summertime leaves their skin vulnerable to the sun's harmful rays.

To help rid your dog of their undercoat during shedding season, there are tons of options for grooming brushes available for purchase. If you’d prefer to leave things to the pros, your groomer would be more than happy to keep your pup feeling cool and clean!

fur, shaving your dog

Brushing a double coated dog takes time, but it's pretty easy! We tested it out with Big Bertha and this is the result of an hour of brushing!

In addition to regular brushing, you can take measures to keep your furry pup comfortable during the summer. Keeping your dog inside and out of the sun as much as possible is key, as is providing them with plenty of clean, cold water. On an especially hot day when even the air conditioning can’t keep up with the thermometer, your pup will appreciate a nice dip in a kiddie pool filled with ice water!

No matter your pup’s heat tolerance, never, ever, ever leave your dog in a hot car.

Also, don’t shave your cat! Cats are even better at regulating their heat than dogs and on top of that, they really, really hate it.

Tips for Running with Your Dog and a 5K Training Plan! - Guest Post by Kurgo
Tuesday, May 08, 2018

running, running with your dog, strut your mutt, kurgo

After running or walking the SPCA of Texas' Strut Your Mutt 3K or 5K this month, you might get the idea that running with your dog could be a great activity to do together. Not only is it great for bonding and spending time together, but there is no better running partner than a dog. They will inspire you to go further, faster and if they enjoy it their excitement will be motivation to stick to your routine. But before you start running road races or long distances with your dog, you need to train your dog for the sport just as you would start training if you wanted to run a road race. Here are some great tips on how to get started plus a Couch to 5K Training Plan from the active dog experts at Kurgo.

Preparation Tips

Consider your dog’s breed. “Not all breeds are suited to running,” says Dr. Susan O’Dell, Kurgo’s consulting vet. “Snub-nosed dogs like a Pug, Bulldog, Shih Tzu or Lhasa Apaso, often have trouble breathing during exertion, especially in the heat. Short-legged dogs like Corgis and Bassett Hounds or very large dogs like Great Danes or Bernese Mountain Dogs may struggle for running.” They would be better suited to walks and water play. Check with your vet about your specific dog’s health and body type.

Training 101. Has your dog mastered walking on a heel, coming when called (even if there is a squirrel nearby), and halt? You will be running around other people, dogs, and sometimes traffic so it’s important you have 100% control of your dog. The first thing you want to do before starting a running routine is to practice walking with him/her in a heel. You don’t want your dog biting at the leash, pulling excessively, or weaving all over the place and tripping you. Another good thing to practice is sitting and staying. “When we run with our Trail Dogs team, we stop at each curb and have our dogs sit. It is a great habit to get in so that Fido does not dash out into the street,” says Dawn Celapino, owner of Leash Your Fitness which runs Couch to 5K classes for people and their dogs each year.

Be realistic about your dog’s fitness. What kind of shape is your dog in? Does your dog eagerly enjoy his/her walks? Would they go longer and further if you would let them? Remember that your dog needs to work up to distance, just like a person does. Just because you can easily run a 5K, doesn't mean your dog can too.

running, running with your dog, strut your mutt, kurgo

Getting Started – The Training Plan

Incorporate intervals of running into your walks. Start by incorporating short bouts of running into your regular walks. “We have people find landmarks on their daily walk and do a little jog or sprint to it. It could be a lamp post, street sign, tree or anything that gives you a short destination. You can build these short spurts up each day,” says Celapino.

Consider run/walking too. Just speed up the pace of your current walk and do not allow Fido to stop at every fire hydrant to pee and sniff.

Follow our 5K training plan. You can train up most dogs in 4 weeks for a 5K if you follow a 5K training plan. This chart is just a guide. Watch your dog closely to see if he is enjoying running. If he/she seems reluctant to get up when it’s clear you are ready to go, take it slow and make sure they are enjoying it as much as you.

Get the Right Gear

Run with a harness. “We recommend running with a dog harness instead of a collar,” says Kitter Spater, Kurgo’s Chief of Design. This will ease the strain on your dog’s neck and shoulders by dispersing it across the chest. Also, a harness provides you with better control. If your dog is a puller, consider training with a gentle leader or harness with a front leash attachment which will help with the pulling.

Pick the Right Leash. Always run with a leash if you plan to do regular races so your dog expects that when it’s running time, it’s leash time. There are many options to choose from and it’s a matter of personal preference. Some runners prefer a bungee leash because it has give so that your dog does not jerk you around if they move slightly. Others prefer a leash that can be used hands-free – either around the waist or clipped to a running belt. If you want the most control or regularly run on the road, you might want a short lead – 30” or less. You can go longer if you are mostly trail running and your dog is excellent at heeling in crowds.

Bring a Water Bottle. In addition to your water, you need to bring a water bottle for your dog too! Remember to stop for frequent water breaks, especially if it is hot.

running, running with your dog, strut your mutt, kurgo

 

Safety Precautions

Avoid the Heat. Dogs overheat faster than humans due to their fur and the fact that they don’t really sweat except on their feet pads. Even if you feel fine, your dog might not. Watch for signs of heat stroke, such as heavy panting, confusion, acting sluggish, or very red gums and tongue. Take your dog to the vet immediately if they show any of these signs. We recommend that you don’t run if it is more than 70 degrees outside and stick to shady trails when it’s hotter. Add a swim at the end to cool off!

Monitor your dog at all times. It is very important to give your dog a break if he/she is slowing down or panting excessively. Dogs can often run faster than you, but they might not be able to run as far. Most breeds are built for short sprints, not long distances. Your dog will tell you if the activity is right for them by being enthusiastic and excited to go running when they see their running harness and your running harness. If they hide or show little interest, they probably are not enjoying it and they aren’t suited for the sport.

Care for their paws. If you are going to run on a lot of pavement, consider putting a salve like Musher’s Secret on your dog’s paws before and after running. Check their paws regularly to make sure they are not cracked or damaged. Take a break from running if they new sport seems to have aggravated the pads. You can consider dog boots that are breathable to either protect a single paw or for all four.

So, what are you waiting for? Get started with a running program and see how much you and your dog enjoy it. If you want to learn more or see how the training plan works, check out this Tips for Running with Your Dog Video.

Follow Up Friday: Hunt County Seizure
Friday, April 27, 2018

Back in November 2017, SPCA of Texas Animal Cruelty Investigators seized 19 allegedly cruelty treated animals from a property in Hunt County, including ten chickens and nine dogs. The dogs were tethered to heavy chains and in advanced stages of starvation and the chickens were crammed together in a small cage.

As often occurs in these terrible cases of animal cruelty and neglect, there was a lot of heartbreak at the beginning. One of the dogs had to be euthanized and one passed away due to the severity of their starvation. In addition to their emaciated state, several of the surviving dogs had various untreated illnesses and injuries including open sores, tumors and even damage to their teeth and gums from chewing rocks in a desperate search for nourishment. The situation was bleak from the outset, but with a lot of time, patience and hard work, our amazing veterinary team was able to nurture the remaining dogs back to health.

The SPCA of Texas staff quickly became enamored with what we referred to as the “Cane Corso Dogs,” as several of them appeared to be Cane Corso mixes. Cora, Nino Brown, Sonny, Missy, Precious, Redd and Smokey Ann all had huge, unique personalities that were hard not to fall in love with. Despite their rough past, each one of them found it in their hearts to forgive humans and learn how to be loved.

cora, hunt county

 

With her sweet demeanor, gorgeous red coat and classic Cane Corso looks, Cora was quickly adopted from our Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney. The ten chickens we recovered were also swiftly adopted from our McKinney location!

 

sonny, hunt county

 

Next to find his forever home was Sonny. To be honest, a lot of us here at the SPCA of Texas were perhaps a little too attached to him. From the second he came to us, Sonny never had to question whether he was loved. This gentle giant had arthritis, so he preferred sunbathing and snoozing on an orthopedic bed a generous donor brought in to romping around outside with the other dogs. A great listener, he provided comfort to everyone who just needed a minute of peace during the day. Sonny deserved the best home and he soon found the perfect adopter. With happy tears, a few last belly rubs and lots of kisses, a crowd of staff members saw Sonny walk out of the shelter with his new mom by his side.

 

nino brown, hunt county

 

Goofball Nino Brown was just a naughty puppy when he came to us. Once he regained his strength, it was clear he was chock full of energy! Our Behavior specialists worked with him to teach him some manners when playing with other dogs and with humans. With his playful personality and winning smile, Nino Brown found his forever home after almost five months in the shelter.

 

redd, hunt county

 

One of the oldest dogs in the group, Redd, was so grateful to be rescued. He immediately put all his trust into our veterinary technicians and didn’t question what they were doing. He knew they were going to help him feel better. Once he reached a healthy weight, Redd turned out to be a top dog model! No matter what silly hat we put on him, Redd was always happy to be the star of our photo shoots. A wonderful gentleman saw Redd on Findapet and immediately fell in love. After a few meet and greets he decided to bring Redd home! His owner is provided this sweet old dog with excellent veterinary care and Redd loves his fur siblings – cats and dogs both!

 

missy, hunt county

 

When Missy first came to our Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center, it was shocking for some people to see the state she was in. Her body was covered in tumors and it was difficult for her to get around. Keeping her comfortable was our priority at first, but by some miracle Missy pulled through. Thanks to the financial support of our amazing donors, we were able to provide Missy with the best possible medical care. Due to the need for Missy to remain on several medications and receive close veterinary supervision for the rest of her life, our veterinarians decided to make Missy a Fospice request. A Fospice home provides a permanent foster home for terminally ill animal for the remainder of their lives, no matter how long that may be, while the SPCA of Texas provides all medical care and everything else Missy needs to enjoy the rest of her life. After a few fun stays with some short term foster homes, a wonderful couple stepped up to take Missy in permanently. Missy is now enjoying the life she always deserved, proving it is never too late to turn an animal’s life around.

 

precious, hunt county

 

Sweet girl Precious was an amazing example of how SPCA of Texas Foster Heroes save lives. Despite her great sense of humor, Precious wasn’t really settling into the shelter environment. Despite being walked several times a day, had a tough time with house training. After just one day in her foster home, her behavior completely changed. She was so much more relaxed and didn’t have a single accident her first day! She absolutely loved living in a home and we couldn’t wait to find a permanent fit. After a month in foster, Precious found her forever home! Precious, now named Bella, is living the sweet life with her sister Molly.

 

smokey ann, hunt county

 

Last but definitely not least, Smokey Ann!!!!! This little troublemaker loved tennis balls and knocking her water fountain out of the wall. Our maintenance team became very familiar with the inside of Smokey Ann’s pod. This happy girl was a handful but her “please forgive me” eyes melted our hearts every time. She was the last of the group to find her forever home, but we think it was worth the wait. After more than five months in the shelter, Smokey Ann hit the jackpot with her new family. She hit it off immediately with the kids and is now teaching them her very special trick of rolling in mud puddles.

The journey was long, but we finally found homes for all of these sweet, special creatures. Their capacity for forgiveness and love was nothing short of a miracle. Thanks to our incredible staff and generous donors, we’re able to care for these animals until they find their forever homes, no matter how long it takes.

If you'd like to support us in our efforts to save animals just like these, we'd love for you to join us at Strut Your Mutt 2018: The Race to End Animal Cruelty on Saturday, May 12th. Sign up here today!

Reindeer Dogs Rebound
Thursday, April 19, 2018

reindeer dogs, volunteers

 

Over the past several months, star volunteers Fran and Fred have worked tirelessly with a group of extremely shy and fearful Australian Cattle Dogs to prepare them for adoption. These pups, nicknamed the “Reindeer Dogs,” had little to no contact with humans prior to coming to the SPCA of Texas as a part of a cruelty case. Blitzen, Comet and Dancer were completely uninterested in human interaction and spent most of their time in their crates inside their kennels. It was difficult to imagine any of these dogs thriving in a home environment without significant behavioral rehabilitative care. Thankfully, Fran and Fred were ready to help.

 

reindeer dogs, volunteers

Comet: "Outside? Where it's scary? No way, José!"

 

The pair of volunteers took on socializing the Reindeer Dogs as a special behavior project. With permission from SPCA of Texas behavior specialists, they tried numerous methods of coaxing these shy and fearful animals out of their shells.

In the beginning, the dogs didn’t make things easy. Dancer hadn’t been behaviorally cleared to move up from the Russell E. Dealey Animal Rescue Center, the first stop for our cruelty and neglect cases, to the Jan-Rees Jones Animal Care Center, where staff and volunteers prepare animals for adoption. Comet wouldn’t come out of his kennel. Thankfully, Fran and Fred saw a spark of hope in Blitzen. They managed to coax him outside to one of the play yards for some exercise. Although he was scared to interact with them, he appeared to enjoy his adventure outside! A few days later, Fran and Fred introduced Blitzen to a well-socialized dog named Tex and the two got a chance to play together.

 

reindeer dogs, volunteers

Blitzen making new friends!

 

Progress was slow, but Fran and Fred were undeterred by any setbacks. Each tiny improvement felt like a major victory. Comet drank his water with Fran in his kennel. Dancer was moved up from the rescue center. The three dogs began responding to Fran and Fred’s calls to come and the group began going outside together for play time. More dogs were introduced to their play group and they met new people. Dancer grew more confident and interested in humans. Blitzen initiated play time with a human he had not until that time interacted with by giving an enthusiastic play bow. Slowly but surely, the Reindeer Dogs were getting used to being around people.

 

reindeer dogs, volunteers

Blitzen allowing Fred to chill out next to him after play time.

 

After a lot of this type of rehabilitative care, these fearful dogs were presented with some big changes. Comet went home with a foster as part of a behavioral research project, while Dancer and Blitzen were moved up to the adoption floor. Dancer and Blitzen continued to go out for play groups and even became extremely useful “helper dogs” for other shy dogs. Due to their love for other dogs and good dog-to-dog play skills, Dancer and Blitzen were great at introducing other fearful dogs to play!

 

reindeer dogs, volunteers

Blitzen and Fran helping Gunner come out of his shell!

 

Today, the Reindeer Dogs have new joy in their lives. Comet loves hanging out with his four-legged foster siblings and is learning to become more comfortable with his foster humans. Dancer received several inquiries and found her forever home after just a few weeks on the adoption floor. In recent news, Blitzen went home with a wonderful family and a new four-legged playmate.

 

reindeer dogs, volunteers

Dancer decided to "redecorate" her pod on the adoption floor.

 

Through patience and perseverance, Fran and Fred helped transform these “scared-y dogs” into adoptable family pets. The journey was sometimes frustrating, sometimes fun – but completely worth the effort. Without incredible volunteers like Fran and Fred going above and beyond to socialize shy and fearful animals, we wouldn’t be able to find pets like the Reindeer Dogs their forever homes.

reindeer dogs, volunteersBlitzen is already feeling right at home with his new family!

So You Want To Be A Foster...
Friday, April 13, 2018

Have you ever considered opening your home and your heart to an animal in need until they are ready to find their forever home? No matter your lifestyle, there is an opportunity for you to help these animals prepare for their permanent family.

As an SPCA of Texas Foster Hero, you’ll give pets an opportunity to…

Grow a little bigger...

foster, kitten

Lose a few pounds...

foster, dog

Make some new friends...

foster, dog, cat

Take a break from the shelter for a weekend...

deon, foster, adopt, dog

Learn from a buddy how to relax around people...

sam, foster, dogs, snuggle

Enjoy motherhood with the assistance of an extra helping hand...

dog and puppies, foster

Learn some manners...

foster, puppy, training

Heal from an illness...

adoption, foster, dog

Or an injury...

kitten, injured, foster

 

As an SPCA of Texas Foster Hero, you'll get the opportunity to...

 

Bottle feed motherless puppies and kittens...

puppy, bottle feeding, foster

Give a senior or terminally ill animal the chance to live life to the fullest...

missy, fospice, foster

Teach shy and fearful animals how to trust humans...

beige, shy, fearful, foster

And even help your foster find their forever family!

rambo, adoption, foster

 

The inevitable goodbye to the animal who has shared your home for some time can be tough. The heartache of seeing them go is only eclipsed by the knowledge that they are going to be happy with their new forever family. Even better, soon enough you will start the process all over again with another pet in need of some in-home care.

Are you ready to begin the fun and fulfilling adventure that is the life of an SPCA of Texas Foster Hero? Sign up today.

 

Tick Season Is Here - Are You Prepared?
Thursday, March 29, 2018

 

Spring is in the air! Finally we can all get back outside and enjoy the warmer temperatures. Some of our wonderful volunteers did just that and took some of our shelter dogs out for a nice long hike!

 

hiking, ticks, summer

Before the hike: Six very excited and rowdy pups!

 

The outdoors is super fun, but it’s important to remember safety when you are your pet are trekking through the woods. Keep clear of poison ivy, drink lots of water and be sure to watch out for ticks! Our volunteers were careful to follow all the safety precautions including checking their pups for ticks once they got back to the shelter.

 

hiking, ticks, summer

 After the hike: Six very tired pups who are ready for a nap!

 

Ticks can carry a number of diseases that harm both pets and people. These include Lyme disease, ehrlichiosis, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, anaplasmosis, tularemia, and babesiosis.

The best way to protect your pet is with preventative treatment – talk to your veterinarian about your pet’s tick prevention options.

 

ticks, summer 

No matter what, make it part of your routine to check yourself and your pet for ticks after an outdoor excursion. Check everywhere on your dog’s body. Ticks like to hide between the toes, behind the ears, under the armpits or on the tail or head.

If you do find a tick, stay clear of alternative methods to remove it, such as petroleum jelly, a hot match or nail polish. Remove the tick by grasping it with tweezers and pulling straight away from the body, slowly and without crushing it. To keep things sanitary, always wear gloves, sterilize the tweezers before and after and wash your dog’s skin with warm soap and water after removing the tick. Dispose of the tick by soaking it in rubbing alcohol and then flushing it down the toilet.

If you don’t feel comfortable removing the tick yourself, have your veterinarian do it for you within 24 hours.

 

Now that you know what to do if your dog gets a tick, get out there, stay safe and have some fun!

 

hiking, ticks, summer, running

Hiking with your dog can be a rewarding experience, even if you have to carry them part of the way! 

Deon Takes Over the Blog!
Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Hi there! This is Deon! I’ve taken over the SPCA of Texas blog today while the humans are in a meeting. I’m really get bored here in the shelter so I figured I’d just go ahead and put a call out to the internet to see if my perfect adopter is out there!

deon, adopt, black dog

I’m a strapping 3.5 year old terrier/pitty mix with one gorgeous mahogany-colored eye. I’ve been told I am the perfect size for a dog at 43 pounds, so I won’t take up too much room on the sofa.

A lot of people pass me by in the shelter because I look way too excited. I’m honestly just so happy to see new people that I forget that strangers just don’t know my chill side yet. I do like to jump and even nip sometimes but I’m just trying to have a good time! I also think people see my permanent wink and automatically assume I'm mischievous. I mean, I am mischievous but that's beside the point!

My favorite part of every day is play group time! I love to play rough and rowdy, so there is a select group of pups who can keep up with me at the shelter. A lot of the dogs here are total wimps and don’t like to tussle! If you already have a pup at home who knows how to wrestle, bring them for a meet and greet to see if they’re up to my standards. I definitely need a big, fenced-in backyard where I can run and bounce around to my heart’s delight.

Other than goofing off outside, my other favorite activity is watching movies! This is something I discovered on my first Borrow-a-Buddy excursion. Borrow-a-Buddy is where one of our awesome volunteers at the SPCA of Texas takes a dog home for a sleepover. The two movies I liked the most were John Wick 2 and Step Brothers. I’m a big fan of action flicks, comedies or pretty much any movie with a dog in it. During movie and nap time, I love to snuggle super close to my human!

Here’s the catch – and I hope you won’t hold it against me – I don’t have a whole lot of experience being a in a home. This is super embarrassing, but this will give you a little insight into my life so far. The first night of my Borrow-a-Buddy, volunteer Eric told me I could sleep in his bed with him. I’d never been in a bed before, but it looked so comfy and sounded super exciting! I didn’t know what to do, so I dove headfirst under the covers. How was I supposed to know my butt wasn’t supposed to go on the pillow?

deon, adopt, black dog

The truth is, I have a lot to learn about living with people in a home. I need a patient adopter who has plenty of experience with dogs and is willing to help me learn my doggie manners. The Behavior Team at the SPCA of Texas totally loves me, so they can help you out when you take me home! If you’re interested in adopting me, please call 214-742-7722 and the Customer Care Center will totally hook you up with a meet and greet.

Oh no! The humans are coming back! I gotta go, but don’t forget about Deon the next time you stop by the SPCA of Texas!

My resume (just in case)

deon, resume, adoptions

What on earth is a puppy mill?
Thursday, March 15, 2018

You may have heard about a few recent puppy mill busts in the north Texas region. If the term seems unfamiliar to you, that’s because not everyone knows what they are!

According to the ASPCA, “a puppy mill is a large-scale commercial dog breeding facility where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs.” Often the female dogs being bred are kept in small, filthy cages and not given proper medical care or nourishment. These crowded, unsanitary conditions allow for the spread of disease and often result in sick puppies. Puppy mill breeders sell in questionable locations such as flea markets, parking lots and the internet but also sell their puppies directly to pet stores.

Below are some photos from two different alleged puppy mills the SPCA of Texas investigated this year.

puppy mill, animal cruelty

puppy mill, aci, cruelty

puppy mill, animal cruelty

puppy mill, animal cruelty

puppy mill, animal cruelty

puppy mill, animal cruelty

The Texas puppy mill bill, known as the Large-Scale Commercial Dog and Cat Breeder Bill, took effect on September 1, 2012. It provides guidelines for the treatment of animals in large-scale commercial breeding operations in Texas, defined as breeders who keep 11 or more breeding females or sell 20 or more puppies or kittens a year. The law specifies that certain parameters exist for such animals, including feeding, space, shelter, ventilation and medical care, and is administered by the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

Responsible breeders will meet you in person, allow you to see the puppy’s mother in her living conditions and be able to provide medical records and licensing upon request. Because it is so difficult to ensure that the person you are buying a puppy from is a responsible breeder, the SPCA of Texas encourages everyone to make adoption their first choice. If you have a desire for a particular breed or age, simply set up a Pet Alert at spcafindapet.com. At the SPCA of Texas, we believe that the best breed is the one of the dog in need!

The best way to stop puppy mills is to remove the demand for their product. When you open your heart and your home to a shelter pet, you are saving lives and helping to end animal cruelty.

 

Breaking the Cycle - Part Five
Thursday, March 08, 2018

 

link, north texas link coalition, animal cruelty

*Source: North Texas LINK Coalition

WARNING: In this final edition in a series of posts in preparation for the 2018 LINK Conference, we will be addressing some deeply serious issues surrounding the connection between violence towards animals and violence towards people. Some of the graphic information below may be disturbing to some readers.

The battle for improving animal cruelty laws and strengthening punishments for animal abusers is not one that can be won with a single case. However, celebrating small victories can be reaffirming to those committed to preventing violence against people and animals.

When Collin County Judge Mark Rusch sentenced Andrew Callaway to 12 years in prison for beating a puppy so severely that veterinarians were unable to save its life, he sent a message that animal abuse will not be tolerated in the north Texas community. For the next several years, at least one violent individual was stopped from inflicting harm on another animal or human.

While stories like this are heartbreaking, local jurisdictions are beginning to crack down on criminals who abuse animals and put in place ordinances that consider the welfare of animals.  A ban on unattended tethering recently took effect in the city of Dallas. Mesquite could very well be next to improve its own tethering laws.

There are also statewide victories animal advocates can rejoice in, including Texas SB 762, which makes violent animal cruelty offense third-degree felonies. This bill, which Governor Abbott signed into law in 2017, will ensure that violent individuals who abuse animals will face between 2 and 10 years and prison – up to 20 for repeat offenders.

The Texas Humane Legislation Network, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization that lobbies for stronger animal welfare laws in Texas, argues that preventing animal cruelty can help prevent violence against people:

“Animal cruelty is not just about animals. The heinous abuse of companion animals occurs in family violence situations, criminal enterprises, and in local neighborhoods. The link between animal abuse and human violence is real, and our society suffers when animals suffer.”

The best way to ensure animals in Texas are treated ethically is for animal advocates to put pressure on their representatives to stand up for animals by passing legislation that protects pets who cannot speak for themselves. The Texas Humane Legislation Network provides a list of candidates from both major political parties who have a proven record of voting for animal rights legislation. We encourage you to sign up for THLN action alerts and encourage your legislator to vote yes on bills that enhance animal welfare in the state of Texas.

North Texas is moving in the right direction. With patient and vigilant advocacy and action, our community will become a safer place for both people and animals.

To learn more about the link, please visit the North Texas LINK Coalition website. The 2018 LINK Conference on March 9th is now sold out, but please contact the North Texas LINK Coalition for further educational opportunities. To learn about how to lobby your local representatives to pass humane legislation, sign up for the North Texas District Lobby Day, hosted by the Texas Humane Legislation Network and Humane Tomorrow on March 25th.

 

Breaking the Cycle - Part Four
Monday, March 05, 2018

link, north texas link coalition, animal cruelty

 

*Source: North Texas LINK Coalition

WARNING: In this series of posts in preparation for the 2018 LINK Conference, we will be addressing some deeply serious issues surrounding the connection between violence towards animals and violence towards people. Some of the graphic information below may be disturbing to some readers.


Shalen Gardner was well-known to Fort Worth police when they arrested him on suspicion of murder.

In 2011, Gardner had killed the family dog with a hammer, just five months after he threatened a family member with a knife. In both cases, he only received a sentence of two years probationary deferred adjudication. After violating his parole multiple times, he was jailed for just six months on each charge.

Gardner continued to violate his parole, yet he the consequences he faced in each instance were slaps on the wrist. Caught numerous times with possession of a firearm and illegal drugs, a judge eventually sentenced him to 3 months in a substance abuse facility.

In 2017, two months after he was released from the facility, he murdered his estranged wife while their children slept in the next room.

Gardner’s sentence for killing his family’s pet was not commensurate with the crime he committed. Since Gardner killed his dog, Texas’ anti-animal cruelty laws have thankfully been strengthened thanks to hard work by many dedicated groups and individuals. But, over and over again the justice system was unable to legally connect that Gardner’s capacity for murder was already documented with the death of his dog.

"When animals are abused, people are at risk; when people are abused, animals are at risk." - Phil Arkow, National LINK Coalition

The LINK goes in both directions. While violent actions against animals can indicate future violence against people, domestic abuse can also mean potential danger for animals in the home. According to the ASPCA, “As many as 25% of domestic violence survivors have reported returning to an abusive partner out of concern for their pet. And that fear is often justified. Studies demonstrate that abusers intentionally target pets to exert control over their intimate partners—71% of pet-owning women entering domestic violence shelters report that their abuser threatened, harmed, or killed a family pet.”

 

national link coalition, animal cruelty, 2018 link conference

*Source: National LINK Coalition

As a society, we must do better to protect people and pets in abusive situations. Some of the ways we can make north Texas a safer place for humans and animals alike include:

Keep guns out of the hands of abusers. The rate of homicide within an abusive home increases by 500% when the abuser possesses a firearm. Enforcement of current gun laws that require domestic abusers subject to protective orders to surrender their guns to law enforcement has been underwhelming.

Make it safer and easier for victims to leave their abusers. This includes addressing intersecting factors such as race, religion, geographic location, mental health and immigration status. Many victims may find it difficult to trust advocates outside of their community. This is why training community leaders in the LINK is so important to ensuring a smooth transition for domestic violence survivors.

Improve and broaden the resources for survivors after they leave their abusers. According to the National Network to End Domestic Violence, domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women and children. Domestic violence victims need access to affordable housing that will be safe for both them and their pets.

Speak up loudly and keep the pressure on our representatives to pass laws protecting survivors and their pets. One of the most important pieces of legislation at the national level is the Pet and Women Safety Act (PAWS). This bipartisan bill would: broaden the definition of stalking to include causing fear of harm to an individual’s pet; urges states to include pets in protection orders; specifies criminal penalties for violations of pet protection orders; and mandatory restitution for the full amount of the victim’s financial losses including veterinary care for their pet.

To learn more about the link, please visit the North Texas LINK Coalition website. If you’d like to get involved, please consider registering for the 2018 LINK Conference in Dallas on March 9th. To learn about how to lobby your local representatives to pass humane legislation, sign up for the North Texas District Lobby Day, hosted by the Texas Humane Legislation Network and Humane Tomorrow on March 25th.

 

Breaking the Cycle - Part Three
Thursday, March 01, 2018

link, north texas link coalition, animal cruelty

*Source: North Texas LINK Coalition

WARNING: In this series of posts in preparation for the 2018 LINK Conference, we will be addressing some deeply serious issues surrounding the connection between violence towards animals and violence towards people. Some of the graphic information below may be disturbing to some readers.

 

In the north Texas town where David and Louise Turpin imprisoned and abused 8 of their 13 children prior to moving to California, their neighbors were suspicious that the Turpin children’s odd behavior was the result of child abuse. A sheriff was called out to the property when a dog bit a child, but neither the Turpin’s neighbors nor the Rio Vista authorities reported signs of animal abuse. After the Turpin family relocated, neighbors found deceased cats and dogs in the home as well as two dogs that managed to survive by eating garbage.

link, north texas link coalition, animal cruelty

*Source: North Texas LINK Coalition

 

The National Link Coalition states, based on research and evidence, that:

“The presence of animal abuse in the home greatly increases the risk of adults and children being bitten or attacked by pets.”

Law enforcement agents who are trained in the LINK will be better equipped to recognize when an animal bite could potentially be the result of animal abuse or other forms of abuse. More obvious signs of animal neglect and abuse should be cause for immediate inquiry into the welfare of any children, disabled individuals or elderly family members in the home.

“It is common sense that if a person keeps a dog chained up outside without proper food, water and/or shelter and allows the dog to live with chronic neglect, then they are more likely to allow their children to be neglected.”

Phillips, A., & Lockwood, R. (2013). Investigating and Prosecuting Animal AbuseNational District Attorneys Association. 

Educating community members about why animal abuse is often the tip of the iceberg of violence in a home is also equally important. According to the National LINK Coalition, “a child’s cruelty to animals may be an indicator that the child has suffered serious neglect or abuse, and may lead to an increased likelihood of other violent behaviors in childhood and adulthood.” While not every child who lashes out violently towards animals is suffering abuse or will end up committing crimes against humans, the probability of either situation is significant.

“A 10-year study of at-risk children showed that those who were classified at age 6-12 as cruel to animals were more than twice as likely as others in the study to be subsequently referred to juvenile authorities for a violent offense. Of those reported to be both cruel to animals and firesetters, 83% had later involvement in violent offenses.”

Lockwood, R. (2006) Animal Cruelty Prosecution: Opportunities for Early Response to Crime and Interpersonal ViolenceAmerican Prosecutors Research Institute.

By educating community members about the link and providing them with resources for reporting potential signs of human or animal abuse, law enforcement and social services will be able to respond to more cases before the violence escalates. Swift response and significant sentences for animal abuse may prevent the abuser’s probable next target, a human, from suffering violence. Through education, training and communication, the north Texas community can become a safer place for both animals and people.

To learn more about the link, please visit the North Texas LINK Coalition website. If you’d like to get involved, please consider registering for the 2018 LINK Conference in Dallas on March 9th. To learn about how to lobby your local representatives to pass humane legislation, sign up for the North Texas District Lobby Day, hosted by the Texas Humane Legislation Network and Humane Tomorrow on March 25th.

Breaking the Cycle - Part Two
Monday, February 26, 2018

link, north texas link coalition, animal cruelty

*Source: North Texas LINK Coalition

 

WARNING: In this series of posts in preparation for the 2018 LINK Conference, we will be addressing some deeply serious issues surrounding the connection between violence towards animals and violence towards people. Some of the graphic information below may be disturbing to some readers.

 

Devin Kelley, the Sutherland Springs shooter, was charged with misdemeanor animal cruelty for allegedly beating and starving his dog long before he killed people. However, he was merely given a deferred sentence and fined, allowed to walk free with the charges dropped at the end of his probation. The National LINK Coalition has found that animal abuse rarely occurs in isolation, but rather, according to the National LINK Coalition, “animal abuse and neglect are often part of a complex constellation of family dysfunction and a ‘red flag’ for other violent behaviors.” When someone is discovered to be committing violence against animals, there is a significant chance that the individual is also acting violently towards other family members.

animal cruelty, domestic violence, child abuse, link coalition, link conference

*Source: National LINK Coalition

Devin Kelley had also made death threats to his superiors in the military, sent threatening text messages to his estranged wife and had a protective order out against him. Kelley was court-martialed for beating his stepson so hard he fractured the boy’s skull and caused internal bleeding, as well as kicking and choking his then-wife. Kelley nearly killed his infant stepson, yet only served 12 months in military prison.

Animal abuse. Domestic violence. Child abuse.

The signs were there, but our current legal system and methods of keeping tabs on dangerous individuals allowed Kelley to end up with a semi-automatic rifle, which he used to go on a killing spree.

Until cruelty to animals as an indicator for future violence within the home and out in the community is universally recognized and addressed, violent individuals will continue to slip through the system.

So what do we do? There are several steps communities can take to address these linked acts of violence in the home before they escalate to acts of violence that affect the entire community.  These include:

Cross-training

The National Link Coalition “encourages child welfare, animal care & control, adult protective services, domestic violence, and other community agencies to provide training programs for each other, advising them of what the signs of violence are and how such cases are handled in the community. Animal care & control agencies should be included in child abuse and domestic violence fatality reviews and multidisciplinary teams.” Both civilian and military law enforcement and social services should be trained to recognize the link.

Cross-reporting

Memoranda of understanding between different agencies and protocols for screening all types of violence that occur within the home can help keep all forms of law enforcement and social services up to date on the overall environment where there is cause for concern. If all agencies in the community have knowledge of violence occurring within any given home, they are better equipped to respond to future situations.

Legislative action

Domestic violence victims often make decisions that compromise their own safety because of what they fear will happen to their animals or children. Lobbying for legislation that protects domestic abuse victims from legal retaliation, strengthening animal cruelty laws and pet protection orders, and increasing minimum sentences for animal, child and domestic abuse will help keep violent individuals from inflicting suffering on more humans and animals.

 

To learn more about the link, please visit the North Texas LINK Coalition website. If you’d like to get involved, please consider registering for the 2018 LINK Conference in Dallas on March 9th. To learn about how to lobby your local representatives to pass humane legislation, sign up for the North Texas District Lobby Day, hosted by the Texas Humane Legislation Network and Humane Tomorrow on March 25th.

Breaking the Cycle - Part One
Thursday, February 22, 2018

link, north texas link coalition, animal cruelty

 

WARNING: In this series of posts in preparation for the 2018 LINK Conference, we will be addressing some deeply serious issues surrounding the connection between violence towards animals and violence towards people. Some of the graphic information below may be disturbing to some readers.

 

On February 14th, 2018, Nikolas Cruz walked into Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, pulled the fire alarm and began shooting at the students and teachers who poured out into the hallways, murdering 17 people and injuring many more.

Perhaps even more tragically, those who knew the shooter were not surprised to learn that he was the perpetrator. He’d been terrorizing his community by throwing rocks at cars, stealing, stalking female classmates and getting into physical altercations. His social media profiles featured posts bragging about his guns and abusing animals. While several warning signs pointed to this individual’s likelihood to commit acts of violence against people, the predilection for cruelty to animals has proven to be one of the biggest indicators for future violent crime.

Many animals suffered at the hands of this person before the events of February 14th. People who know Cruz have alleged that squirrels, chickens, piglets, rabbits, toads, and in one case, a chameleon were the objects of his rage. People at times excuse these incidents of animal cruelty as “kids being kids.” It is terrifying to admit that a child you know or perhaps even care about is carrying out these violent acts to satisfy their sadistic impulses. The consequences that can occur when concerns go unreported or unanswered, however, can be devastating.

All of this begs the question; what do we do? Unfortunately, there isn’t one simple answer.

From the National LINK Coalition’s statement on the shooting:

“The etiology of interpersonal violence is always complex, and this case is no exception. Preliminary media reports also indicate that Cruz had a history of being bullied, had experienced the deaths of both parents, was aggressive, and had undergone mental health treatment. It is far too simplistic to say that “animal abuse always leads to human violence,” but the evidence is quite clear that animal cruelty – especially repeated, remorseless, boastful incidents -- must be recognized as a significant warning sign to be taken seriously.”

Furthermore, it is impossible to accurately predict how violence against animals will manifest later in life. Those sadistic tendencies may appear in the form of domestic violence, child abuse, criminal activity or serial killing. In terms of indicators of mass acts of violence, animal abuse should be considered just one piece of a puzzle rather than a direct predictor.

“Examining 8 school massacres that occurred between 1996 and 1999, the Verlinden et al. (2000) study investigated the prevalence of various warning signs, including but not limited to prior animal cruelty, among the 10 perpetrators. Although they report that half of their sample of 10 shooters (Evan Ramsey, Luke Woodham, Kipland Kinkel, Eric Harris, and Dylan Klebold) allegedly had some history of animal abuse, this proportion, while substantial and worthy of attention by researchers, policy makers, and others, seems to fall remarkably below the many hyperbolic reports of its commonness by advocates of the link, as noted above. This is particularly the case when one considers how this 50% threshold compares with the prevalence of other so-called warning signs addressed in the very same study (Verlinden et al., 2000, p. 43), such as experiencing a “stressful event/loss of status” (80%), exhibiting signs of depression (80%), having a “preoccupation with violent media/music” (90%), and feeling “rejected by peers” and being “picked on [and] persecuted” (both 90%), not to mention the characteristics that all of the sample’s school shooters demonstrated that include having a “fascination with weapons and explosives,” “blaming others for problems,” and threatening violence in advance of the attack.”

Arluke, A., & Madfis, E. (2013). Animal Abuse as a Warning Sign of School Massacres: A Critique and Refinement. Homicide Studies.

There are so many questions about how we should address early signs of violence against animals:

  • How do law enforcement, parents and schools intervene when they observe a child committing acts of violence against animals?
  • How do we make it easier for students, employers and peers in the community to report disturbing behavior to authorities?
  • Once reported, what resources do social services and law enforcement agencies have to address the problem in an effective manner?
  • Is it possible to rehabilitate these adolescents through counseling?
  • What level of mental healthcare coverage should we expect insurers to cover?
  • Should individuals with a history of violence towards people and/or animals be banned from owning a firearm?
  • How do we stop these individuals from escalating their violent criminal activity without violating their civil rights?
  • To what degree should social media platforms bear responsibility for reporting alarming content that gets flagged for violating community guidelines to the authorities?

None of these questions have a clear and simple answer. The North Texas LINK Coalition is part of a nationwide conversation to identify strategies, policies and legislation that can help break the cycle of violence to make our community a safer place for both people and animals.

To learn more about the link, please visit the North Texas LINK Coalition website. If you’d like to get involved, please consider registering for the 2018 LINK Conference in Dallas on March 9th. To learn about how to lobby your local representatives to pass humane legislation, sign up for the North Texas District Lobby Day, hosted by the Texas Humane Legislation Network and Humane Tomorrow on March 25th.

Cat Quotes to Live By
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

 

cat quotes

 

For cat lovers everywhere, here are some brilliant cat quotes to live by!

 

cat quotes

 

cat quotes

 

cat quotes

 

cat quotes

 

cat quotes

 

cat quotes

Looking Back at 2017
Tuesday, February 06, 2018

year in review, spca of texas

Everyone here at the SPCA of Texas strives to make each year better than the last for animals in north Texas. Whether it’s improving our statistics or utilizing new methods of rehabilitation for the animals under our care, we are constantly moving our goal posts forward.

We’re proud to announce that we found forever homes for 7,118 animals in 2017! That is an increase of 1,501 over the 2016 total of 5,617. This achievement is especially important to us since we have also taken in more cruelty case rescues than ever before. This means that more animals that previously endured horrible conditions are now living happy and healthy lives with families that love them. Below is a breakdown of all the critters we adopted!

Dogs: 2,512

Cats: 1,470

Puppies: 1,363

Kittens: 1,175

Goats: 116

Guinea Pigs: 105

Fowl: 93

Rabbits: 68

Horses: 67

Sheep: 49

Rodents: 49

Pigs: 13

Reptiles: 10

Cattle: 9

Ferrets: 9

Birds: 7

Fish: 2

Tarantula: 1

We couldn’t talk about 2017 without mentioning the response to Hurricane Harvey. The entire state of Texas came together to help out our friends on the Texas coast in countless ways, not the least of which included rescuing and caring for their beloved animals. Thanks to incredibly generous donors from across the country, we were able to help hundreds of pets affected by the storm.

2017 was a fantastic year and we hope to make 2018 an even better one for pets in north Texas. With your help, we believe we can find a loving home for even more animals in 2018!

Home for the Holidays - A Huge Success!
Friday, December 29, 2017

adoptions, new years

Many great pets were overlooked this month and are still waiting to find their perfect family – Sky here is one of them!

Santa has quite a lot of extra fur to clean out of his sleigh this year! The SPCA of Texas’ 27th Annual Adoptions Pavilion was a slam dunk! We reached our goal of 350 adoptions at NorthPark Center and then kept on going. A total of 404 pets found their forever homes this holiday season at the Adoption Pavilion. An additional 500 animals have been adopted so far at our other locations for the month of December! That brings our total number of adoptions for the year so far to 7,044. We’re so honored to be a part of finding forever homes for so many wonderful animals.

We’d also like to take a moment to thank all of the participants in the Home for the Holidays Bark + Build doghouse competition! Home for the Holidays kicked off on November 13 with more than 20 custom made dog houses that were auctioned to benefit the SPCA of Texas. These one of a kind dog houses, which were on display at NorthPark Center until Sunday, December 2, were built by American Institute of Architects Dallas Chapter and TEXO, The Construction Association members through their Bark + Build competition. This year’s “Top Dog” People’s Choice Award, chosen through online voting, was presented to the doghouse “b•ARX,” built by D2 Architecture and Suffolk Construction. Thank you to all the teams who participated in this fun and friendly competition, and a huge thanks to NorthPark Center, American Institute of Architects Dallas Chapter and TEXO, The Construction Association for their partnership!

home for the holidays

The winning design!

Hannukah Safety
Friday, December 08, 2017

hannukah, kato, adopt, holiday

Kato would love a home for the holidays - won't you take him home for his first Hannukah?

Hannukah begins on December 12th, and with the eight crazy nights right around the corner, the SPCA of Texas wants to remind you to take precautions to keep your pets safe!

 

Dangerous Foods

-Onions are poisonous to both cats and dogs, so that means no sharing your latkes with the pet! In addition, anything fried and high in fat content can cause significant gastrointestinal distress for your pet.

-Keep your counter sniffer out of the kitchen while you’re making challah or sufganiyot. If your pet ingests raw dough, it could rise inside of their stomachs and require emergency veterinary attention.

-Desserts in general are to be avoided. Food high in sugar, fats, and carbs will give your pets a serious tummy ache.

-Chocolate coins need to be kept far away from your pets, as chocolate is poisonous to both cats and dogs.

-Brisket and other delicious holiday dishes are typically high in fat. The main danger with feeding your pet scraps is pancreatitis.

 

Decorations

-Dreidels and other small objects are choking hazards, while the candles on the menorah can get knocked over by a nosy fur baby. Keep your pets well away from decorations, toys and gifts during the holiday season.our precious pets safe this holiday season. 

 

Guests

Make sure to let your guests know not to feed your pets scraps from the table – better yet, let them know why!

If you have guests coming to visit for the holidays, be aware that this may be stressful for your pet. Keep them away from the door when people are arriving to prevent them from running out. As a precaution, we recommend you microchip your pet - it's the law in Dallas! - and make sure they have a collar with ID tags.

 

Gift Ideas

Donations make excellent Hannukah gifts for pet lovers! You can make a gift in your loved one’s honor or even purchase a gift certificate for them to use to micro-chip or vaccinate their pet!

November Adoptions
Monday, December 04, 2017

home for the holidays, adoptions, shadow

Shadow here would sure love a home for the holidays!

 

During the month of November, we were able to find homes for 604 animals. We’d love to congratulate all the pets on their new forever homes with their wonderful adopters!

That 604 total includes:

  • 257 dogs
  • 122 cats
  • 110 kittens
  • 101 puppies
  • 11 horses
  • 2 goats
  • 1 guinea pig

This puts our total adoption numbers for this year to date at 6,241! If you and your family have been discussing getting a pet, this holiday season is the perfect time to do so!

To meet our available pets, please come by the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center in west Dallas or the Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney. You can also stop by our 27th Annual Adoption Pavilion at NorthPark Center from now until December 23rd from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday through Friday and 12 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. We have plenty of adorable animals at all of these locations just waiting for someone like you to take them home for the holidays!

You can view all of our adoptable animals right here on Findapet!

 

Thanksgiving Safety Tips
Tuesday, November 21, 2017

gravy

Gravy the beagle mix is waiting for his forever home at the Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney!

This fall feast means stuffing yourself with great food and surrounding yourself with friends and family. Your pets are definitely a part of your family, but the Thanksgiving meal can present a number of dangers to your pet – here are a few to watch out for.

You might think properly cooked meat would be fine to give to your cat or dog in any situation, but to be safe it is best to limit your pets’ consumption of turkey.

The skin of your holiday turkey is high in fat, which can cause pancreatitis, and seasoning, which can give your animal indigestion. A tiny amount of boneless turkey meat is ok, but skin is definitely a no-no.

Dogs love bones, but poultry bones are brittle and can easily break, lodging in your pet’s throat. They can even cause fatal injuries to your dog’s digestive tract, so just don’t give bird bones to pets. Chew toys are a much better choice to give to your dog.

Other Poisonous Foods to Watch Out For

•             Yeast dough

•             Raisins or grapes

•             Onions

•             Xylitol (sweetener found in baked goods)

•             Chocolate

•             Pie filling – too much sugar!

•             Raw eggs or meat

•             Alcohol

While not many holiday delights are safe for pets, pumpkin is actually great for them! Pure, canned pumpkin (not pie filling) is a low-calorie, nutrient-packed treat for both cats and dogs that is filling and tasty!

The best way to keep your pet safe is to keep them well away from the dining table, kitchen and garbage bins! Make sure to instruct your guests not to feed your pets food from the table – even better, let them know why.

Last but not least, keep your pet away from floral arrangements, potpourri, candles and other potential dangers. Give your pets plenty of toys to distract them from getting into trouble.

 

Tethering Outlawed In Dallas
Monday, November 13, 2017

tethering, animal cruelty

Just last week, the Dallas City Council outlawed the tethering of dogs within city limits.

Unfortunately, bills in the Texas legislature that would have banned tethering statewide were killed by a handful of legislators. State Representative Sarah Davis of Houston introduced legislation aimed at ending tethering in Texas, but opponents ran out the clock. Chained dogs in Texas will have to wait two more years before animal advocates have another chance at changing the law.

tethering, animal cruelty

 

What’s the big deal about tethering?

Dogs left tethered to chains are often left out all day and night with no access to food, water or shelter. These dogs aren’t given relief from rain or blistering heat. The individuals who leave their dogs chained often neglect to provide them with regular food or water. 

A tethered animal may also accidentally choke themselves if their chain becomes tangled in a bush, fence or other structure. Heavy chains also can become embedded in a dog’s skin and cause them severe pain, infection and injury.

tethering, animal cruelty

 

For more information on tethering and how laws in Texas can be strengthened, please read Texas Humane Legislation Network’s FAQ.

You can read more about the ordinance here

 

Veganism & Your Pet
Tuesday, November 07, 2017

You’ve gone above and beyond in the fight to protect animals by becoming vegan, but what does this mean for your pet? If you’re a vegan who is a proud pet owner or hoping to become one, here are some things to consider in regards to the role your diet can play in your pet’s life.

If you have a dog or cat, it is not advisable to switch them to a vegan diet.  Imagine if you tried to serve steak to a panda bear. Sounds bizarre, right? Pandas are natural herbivores, so it goes against their physiology to eat meat. Dogs are meat-preferring omnivores and cats are strict carnivores, so many health issues can arise if you deny them access to meat.

kevin bacon, pig

Even though they eat a plant-based diet, piggies like Kevin Bacon here are omnivores since they happily eat the bugs that happen to be in the grass they eat!

Just as humans need B-12 and other nutrients to stay healthy, omnivorous animals have their own nutritional requirements. Vegans can take supplements, but it’s a bit more complicated when it comes to companion animals. Both dogs and cats can develop a taurine deficiency, which causes heart failure and blindness. Taurine is an organic compound found in meat. While synthetic taurine does exist, the best way for your animal to get an adequate amount of protein is to feed them a meat-based diet. Taurine is considered conditionally essential in dogs because they can synthesize it when adequate concentrations of sulfur containing amino acid precursors are present.  Unfortunately, they generally get the sulfur containing amino acids from animal protein.  This means dogs fed a diet low in animal protein also end up deficient in taurine. As obligate carnivores, cats cannot produce taurine on their own. Denying them access to animal protein is taking away a nutrient they need for adequate heart function, vision, reproduction and growth. 

Key nutrients your pet might be missing out on include:

Cobalamin

Niacin

Vitamin A

Vitamin D

Fatty acids

  • Arachidonic acid
  • Docosahexaenoic acid
  • Beicosapentaenoic acid

Minerals

  • Calcium
  • Potassium

Sulfur-containing amino acids

  • Methionine
  • Cysteine
  • Taurine

Iron

Tryptophan

Zinc

Arginine

Lysine

All of these are obtained through meat consumption so as you can probably guess, denying your animal meat can cause a variety of serious health problems directly linked to malnutrition.  

When you adopted your pet, you took on the responsibility to put their well-being above your lifestyle choices. Your pet’s health comes first, no matter what. There are many pet food brands that conduct ethical testing of their food if you want to support companies that operate with compassion. The SPCA of Texas proudly feeds our pets Hill’s Science Diet. As always, consult with your veterinarian before making changes to your pet’s diet.

As a vegan looking to adopt, decide ahead of time whether or not it will bother you to feed your pet meat. If so, your best solution is to adopt an animal that naturally adheres to a vegan lifestyle. Rabbits, potbelly pigs, chinchillas, mice, rats, guinea pigs, horses, donkeys, goats and birds are excellent pet choices for vegans. Speaking of which, we have plenty of vegan animals available for adoption on our FindAPet page!

 

October Adoptions
Wednesday, November 01, 2017

max 

Can you believe that the Halloween decorations are coming down and we are all getting ready for Turkey Day!?! The pets in our care had tons of fun strutting around in their Halloween costumes and are still enjoying their tricks and treats (all pet-safe, of course)!

During the month of October, we found homes for 530 animals. We’d love to congratulate all the pets on their new forever homes with their wonderful adopters!

That 530 total includes:

  • 206 dogs
  • 118 cats
  • 111 kittens
  • 75 puppies
  • 10 horses
  • 2 pigs
  • 2 rabbits
  • 2 birds
  • 2 fish
  • 1 fowl
  • 1 guinea pig

This puts our total adoption numbers for this year to date at 5,637! If you or someone you know has been thinking about bringing a furry friend into their lives, please consider adopting.

If you aren’t aware of our new adoption pricing, take a look below!

$100 for all puppies and kittens aged 6 months and younger (previously $125-$250)

$50 for all adult dogs and cats aged 6 months or older (previously $75-$125)

$25 for all senior dogs and cats aged 7 years and older and

$25 for VIP dogs and cats available for adoption 30 days or more (previously $50)

Fee includes spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, a heartworm test for dogs six months and older and a FIV/FeLV test for cats 4 months and older, initial flea/tick preventative and heartworm preventative, a microchip, 30 days of free PetHealth Insurance provided by PetPlan, a free 14-day wellness exam with VCA Animal Hospitals, a free year-long subscription to Activ4Pets, a rabies tag and a free leash.

You can view all of our adoptable animals right here on Findapet!

 

Foster Tails (& Foster Fails) – Sitka!
Monday, October 23, 2017

Here at the SPCA of Texas, we come across a lot of dogs and cats that need a little extra love and attention. Our incredible foster heroes invite these precious animals into their homes so that they can get the extra training, relaxation and medical care they need. Because of how important our fosters are to getting these animals ready for their forever homes, we’re sharing some of their favorite stories!

The following is an excerpt from a story by SPCA of Texas volunteer Rick. Rick and his lovely girlfriend Iris are our Fospice champions! They run a non-profit Fospice care group called Not Just a Dog, which they run out of their home caring for several senior dogs – many of which are blind, deaf or both.

Excerpts from “Falling for a Foster” by Rick Warner               

“It was Valentine’s Day, 2006 that my fall started. I had just signed up as a volunteer with Adopt-a-Husky of Dallas Inc. since I had fallen in love with the breed the previous years. My husky, Shiloh, was approaching a year old and I wanted to help the breed out if I could.It seemed like no sooner had I submitted my application that I got a call.  “Would you like to foster a husky that we think would be compatible with you?” the nice lady asked on the phone. I told her I’d call her back after I talked to my girlfriend, Iris. I called Iris and asked, “What do you think about fostering a husky?” and of course, Iris being Iris, she was all-in and ready to go. I called the nice lady back and told her we would do it. She gave me instructions and I committed to going that evening to pick him up.”

sitka

“He was barely a year old, if that, traditional black and white fur and bi-eyed (one blue, one blue/brown). He wasn’t jump-in-your-lap friendly or kiss-you-to-death because you’re his keeper, but he was friendly and he would quickly drop and roll over for belly rubs. And he stunk! Like mad!  We introduced Sitka and Shiloh through a wooden gate and then, like many recommend, we took them on a walk together to get used to each other. In their case, it probably wasn’t necessary as they immediately took a liking to each other and treated each other like a long-lost-husky-brother.”

sitka and shiloh

“Even though we had only had Sitka for a few days, I knew there could be no better match for Shiloh or our little family. When I asked Iris for her opinion on just adopting Sitka, she was beside herself. We both recognized how special he was and how much he and Shiloh were connected.That was 11 ½ years ago as of this writing and a lot has happened to Sitka, Shiloh and our little family unit. He still loves belly rubs but it takes him longer to get down and even longer to get up because of severe arthritis. He has walked thousands of miles on our daily treks around the blocks in North Dallas, Las Vegas and now Irving.  His walks now are limited to the distance of four or five houses and then turn around and come back home to rest. Sitka is now completely deaf, but he remembers the hand signal for “kennel-up” and will hobble to his crate and wait patiently for his well-deserved treat. His weight has gone from skinny 45 pounds to a high of 76 pounds (livin’ really LARGE) to a now well-balanced mid-50’s.  We know this special husky that we call Sitka is in his twilight days but it doesn’t matter. As we learned the hard way, whether it’s a day, a month or a year that we have together, they all define a LIFETIME and that’s all we’ve promised him, to love him for his lifetime.Would I do it again? I guess you could say so. Sitka is one of the major players in our decision to start a non-profit providing Fospice (foster/hospice) care for senior dogs. Not for the Sitka puppies of the world but for the Sitka seniors of the world.”

Want to read the rest of Sitka’s story? Check out Not Just a Dog on Facebook.

If you are interested in becoming a foster hero, read more and sign up right here!

 

 

 

Adopting A Puppy Mill Dog
Wednesday, October 11, 2017

puppy mill, aci, cruelty

This September, the SPCA of Texas; the Hunt County Constable, Precinct 1, Terry Jones; and the Hunt County Sheriff's Office seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 117 allegedly cruelly treated animals from an alleged puppy mill--93 adult dogs, 22 puppies and two cats--from a property near Greenville, TX.

As these animals become available for adoption, we’d like to remind all potential adopters that these pets are going to need a little extra TLC to start with. These brave little pups have survived some pretty terrible living conditions and are counting on some very special humans to provide them with forever homes. While there will be challenges to face in their new homes with their new families, the rewards along the journey will be well worth it.

clementine, spaniel, puppy mill

Gorgeous Clementine is making her adoption debut today!

What kind of adopter are these puppy mill dogs looking for? They will need someone who has a great amount of patience, love, empathy, compassion and perseverance. In their previous life, they were never taught any house manners and weren't housetrained. They weren’t given the opportunity to play outside or walk on a leash. They will need your patience and understanding while they become comfortable in their new environment. They weren’t given a reason to trust humans, and they certainly weren't cuddled.

These sweet animals will all be spayed and neutered prior to being made available for adoption so they will never again be subjected to the cruel breeding tactics they endured before coming to the SPCA of Texas.

If you’re interested in adopting one of these animals, please check out our FindaPet page or come on down to the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center for a meet and greet!

 

Fire Safety
Monday, October 09, 2017

Scented candles, cups of cider by the fireplace, and jack-o-lanterns are essential parts of fall. That's why we'd like to take this opportunity to remind everyone in north Texas to be extra vigilant about fire safety this season!  Although animals are more likely to get out of a burning house before people, it is a wise idea to fireproof your home in order to protect your pets and other animals from injury.

Unplug it!

You already know not to leave a burning candle unattended – especially not around children or pet – but what about your toaster? Make sure appliances are unplugged if not being used. Some animals like to chew on electric cords and this can cause a short out that starts a fire or injure the animals. If you have a pet that likes to chew, it is a good idea to store appliances in a safe place when not in use.Make sure your pet cannot reach appliances, such as irons or hair dryers when not in use. Remember that cats like to jump and can get on top of an ironing board and if the iron is on, can start a fire.

Keep an Eye on the Grill

Looking at you, tailgaters! Watch that barbeque grill this football season, especially when the grilling is done. Romping dogs can knock over the grill and hot coals are capable of starting a fire quickly.

Have An Escape Plan

You and your loved ones already know what to do in case of a fire, but have you remembered your pet? In the event that you find your home on fire, here are some things to keep in mind to ensure the safety of everyone in your home:

  • Grab your dog’s leash or cat’s carrier and immediately secure them.
  • If your pet immediately ran to their favorite hiding spot, check there first.
  • If you can’t find your pet and you are running out of time, open as many doors and windows as you can to give them a chance to escape on their own.
  • Call their name as loudly as you can once you are safely outside

What if I’m not home?

Keep updated stickers on your doors that let police and the fire department know that there are animals in the house in case you are out of the house when a fire starts, especially if your pets are confined to a crate during the day

 

 

September Adoptions
Tuesday, October 03, 2017

It’s finally Dogtober! We hope you’ve started thinking about spooky costumes for your cute critters to wear this Halloween! We’re pleased to announce that 524 animals were adopted out in September, just in time to get settled into their new forever homes before it’s time to trick-or-treat!

Athena, adoption, senior

Athena, professional taste tester, is still waiting for her forever home!

That 524 total includes:

  • 186 dogs
  • 115 puppies
  • 104 cats
  • 99 kittens
  • 5 guinea pigs
  • 4 fowl
  • 3 horses
  • 3 pigs
  • 2 rabbits
  • 2 rodents
  • 1 reptile

This puts our total adoption numbers for this year to date at 5,106!

With the conclusion of our extended $25 promotion, we’d like to announce our brand-new adoption pricing! By reducing prices, the SPCA of Texas hopes to find more pets loving homes, reduce the average pets' length of stay at the shelter and make space for even more homeless pets in need.

  • $100 for all puppies and kittens aged 6 months and younger (previously $125-$250)
  • $50 for all adult dogs and cats aged 6 months or older (previously $75-$125)
  • $25 for all senior dogs and cats aged 7 years and older and
  • $25 for VIP dogs and cats available for adoption 30 days or more (previously $50)

Fee includes spay/neuter surgery, age-appropriate vaccinations, a heartworm test for dogs six months and older and a FIV/FeLV test for cats 4 months and older, initial flea/tick preventative and heartworm preventative, a microchip, 30 days of free PetHealth Insurance provided by PetPlan, a free 14-day wellness exam with VCA Animal Hospitals, a free year-long subscription to Activ4Pets, a rabies tag and a free leash.

Thinking about giving a home to a shelter pet this October? Please check out our FindAPet page or come on down to one of our shelters to meet our available pets!

 

Food Guarding
Friday, September 29, 2017

food guarding, tongue

The dog you are adopting has many good qualities, but he may guard food in some situations. We want you to know about this, so that you can be prepared to deal with it if it shows up in your home.

For safety’s sake, the Animal Behavior Programs Department at the SPCA of Texas begins behavior modification when we notice a problem. The amount of progress we make depends on the individual dog and the length of time the animal is with us.

 

We encourage you to follow these guidelines to help your dog be as successful as possible in your family.

Don’t bother your dog while he’s eating, and don’t let anyone (adult, child or animal) else bother him.

Feed your dog twice a day. Feed the same amount of food, but give it in two separate small meals. This will help keep your dog from becoming too hungry (24 hours is a long time to wait for your next meal).

Put the dog in a crate or a room with a closed door away from people and animals when he has chewies (rawhides, pig’s ears, etc.) or food and leave him alone.

Put all chewies away when he is not using them or when he is with people or other animals.

Do not give chewies or leave them around when you have doggie friends visit, guests or when children are around.

 

Although we do our best to help animals overcome behavior problems, it is difficult to determine how a dog will act in your home for the following reasons:

 

  • Some dogs guard food in the shelter, but do fine at home.
  • Some dogs have no problems around food in the shelter, but guard food in the home.
  • Some dogs never guard food.
  • Some dogs always guard food until they learn that there is no need to guard.

If the guarding becomes a problem, we encourage you to get help from a professional trainer. You can find a list of trainers by location on this website: http://www.APDT.com.

 

Reporting Animal Cruelty
Wednesday, September 27, 2017

 

Poodles, animal cruelty

Earlier this week, the SPCA of Texas; the Hunt County Constable, Precinct 1, Terry Jones; and the Hunt County Sheriff's Office seized and the SPCA of Texas took custody of 117 allegedly cruelly treated animals from an alleged puppy mill--93 adult dogs, 22 puppies and two cats--from a property near Greenville, TX. SPCA of Texas vehicles transported the animals to the organization's Animal Rescue Center, where they will be examined by medical staff and cared for until a custody hearing takes place.

The majority of the animals, 100 dogs and puppies, were housed in a metal addition to the brick home on the property. These animals were found living in filthy cages, crates and kennels, up to three dogs in each. The stench of feces and urine was so strong that it caused investigators to gag and could be smelled from the road. Additionally, 15 dogs and puppies and two cats were found inside the residence. 

cavalier spaniel, animal cruelty

If you are concerned that an animal is being abused or neglected, it is important that you report it through the proper channels.

If you see an animal in an abuse situation, you may feel compelled to take action on your own. However, the only people with the authority to forcibly remove animals from a property are official animal cruelty investigators.

Another reason to file an official report is accountability. The SPCA of Texas Animal Cruelty Investigations unit has the authority to file warrants. The best way to ensure that people who abuse animals are held accountable for their actions is to report it through the proper channels.

If you are a firsthand witness to animal cruelty, gather all the information you possibly can in order to facilitate action by our ACI unit. The address, the type and number of animals, and the manner of abuse are important to identify. The more information you provide, the more it will help our investigators in their response.

You can report animal cruelty by calling 214-461-1850 or completing a report online at https://www.spca.org/abuse.

The Texas Health and Safety code defines cruel treatment as the following:

  • torturing an animal
  • failing to provide food, care or shelter
  • abandoning an animal
  • transporting or confining an animal in a cruel manner
  • killing, seriously injuring or poisoning an animal
  • causing an animal to fight with another
  • using a live animal as a lure in a dog race
  • tripping a horse
  • injuring an animal belonging to another person
  • seriously overworking an animal
Microchipping 101
Monday, September 25, 2017

dog, lei, pitbull

What’s the big deal about microchips? Here are some key benefits that microchips provide you and your pet.

What is a microchip?

A microchip contains an unalterable ID code that emits a signal on a specific radio frequency that enables animal shelters to locate owners should pets become lost.

Does it require surgery?

No. Microchipping is a quick, non-surgical process that involves injecting a sterile microchip - about the size of a rice grain - between a pet's shoulder blades. The implanting procedure is much like receiving a routine vaccination, and animals can't feel it afterward. The chip also has an anti-migration cap that prevents movement in the pet's body.

When is the information used?

Each microchip has a 10-digit code that, once registered, becomes part of a national database. When an animal arrives at a shelter, staff scans the animal. If the pet is microchipped, the special number is read and phoned in to database operators. A check of the database will reveal information such as name, address and the medical history of the animal.

How do I get one for my pet?

The SPCA of Texas offers microchipping services at all of our clinics. Make an appointment online or by calling 214.742.7722. Microchips are $25 or free for qualifying southern Dallas zip codes.

What if my information changes?

When your pet is microchipped, your veterinarian will give you paperwork with the microchip’s unique 10-digit registration number and the manufacturer. Simply contact the manufacturer with the code handy to update the information.

If you don’t know the manufacturer, call your vet or search the code on the American Animal Hospital Website.

Taking Care of Your Pet's Teeth
Wednesday, September 20, 2017

dog, smiling, german shepherd

Just like humans, animals need proper dental care! Four out of every five dogs has some sort of dental disease by age three. Ninety percent of cats will develop dental problems at some point in their life. Here’s how you can prevent your pet from developing dental issues.

At home

You should brush your dog or cat’s teeth at least three times per week in order to keep their mouths clean. You can also give them oral gels, dental chew toys, and dental treats to supplement brushing.

How to Brush

With a finger brush or nylon toothbrush, use dog- or cat-specific toothpaste to gently clean their teeth.Don’t use your own toothpaste – certain ingredients may irritate your pet’s stomach.Your dog or cat may be very fussy the first time you try to brush their teeth. Keep brushing sessions short for the first several weeks and be sure to reward them with treats and praise. This will help them to associate brushing with positive experiences.

At the vet

Your dog and cat should start getting annual professional dental cleanings once they turn two years of age.

Symptoms of Dental Disease

  • Bad breath: an unusually strong odor may suggest digestive problems or a dental condition
  • Bleeding or a dark red line along the gums
  • Gum inflammation: swollen gums can lead to gum disease, tooth loss, inability to eat, and can be a sign of kidney disease or feline immunodeficiency virus
  • Ulcers on the gums
  • Excessive drooling or pawing at the mouth area
  • Difficulty chewing food or refusal to eat
Southern Dallas Pet Initiative
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

 

southern dallas pet initiative

As part of the Southern Dallas Pet Initiative, the SPCA of Texas hosted a community wellness event in Umphress Park on Saturday, September 9th. During this event, the SPCA of Texas provided free DHPP/FVRCP, Bordetella and Rabies vaccinations as well as microchips for 597 pets living in Southern Dallas.

The Southern Dallas Pet Initiative is funded by the Communities Foundation of Texas, the Jan Rees-Jones Foundation and the Dallas Foundation with the goal of drastically reducing the loose dog population across southern Dallas to increase public safety and health for pets and people. The SPCA of Texas is proud to participate in this program and is committed to being a part of the solution to the problem of stray dog overpopulation and homelessness.

The Southern Dallas Pet Initiative offers free spay/neuter surgeries to residents of zip codes 75116, 75134, 75203, 75207, 75208, 75210, 75211, 75212, 75215, 75216, 75217, 75223, 75224, 75226, 75227, 75228, 75232, 75233, 75236, 75237, 75241, 75249, 75253. Pet owners in these zip codes are also eligible to receive free vaccinations and microchips for their pets at community wellness events like the one we held at Umphress Park.

 bulldog, southern dallas pet initiative

To support the SPCA of Texas in its important work to help rescue, heal and find homes for pets as well as to keep pets in homes, out of shelters and off the streets, please consider giving a gift on North Texas Giving Day on September 14th.

Fostering for the SPCA of Texas
Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Thinking about opening up your home to an animal in need? If you want to temporarily provide a loving, caring home for an animal waiting to be adopted, you can apply here to be a foster hero!

adoption ambassador, foster

Will you please help me find a forever home?

We have several different types of fosters we need. One is an Adoption Ambassador – you’ll care for the animal in your home and make it your mission to find them a permanent place to stay! With your up close and personal knowledge of the dog in your care, you’ll have the best chance of finding the perfect family to match to your foster pup!

foster, rehabilitation foster

Will you teach me how to be a good boy?

Other foster heroes can operate as a Trust Building and Socialization Foster. Many of the dogs in this program are rescued by our Animal Cruelty Investigations unit and come from various unpleasant situations. They need someone with a little extra time and patience on their hands to teach them how to trust people and how to behave in a normal home. Trust Building and Socialization Fosters show these animals what life as a pet should be like with a loving family.

foster, healing foster

Will you help me grow into a ferocious lion?

If you’re up to the task of keeping a close eye on the health of animals, the Healing and Comfort Foster program might be the choice for you. You’ll provide a place to rest for animals recovering from illness or surgery or even give elderly or terminally ill animals a comfortable place to spend their final weeks. Healing and Comfort Fosters may also be asked to bottle-feed orphaned babies, help underweight puppies and kittens to grow, or even take in a mother cat or dog and their litter. 

Can’t foster? Your North Texas Giving Day donation helps support our foster program! Our foster heroes are provided with all the food, medication and supplies that the animal under their care needs to thrive. With your support, we can continue to foster out these animals that need just a little extra attention and love on their journey to find their forever home. If you’d like to donate before North Texas Giving Day on September 14th, you can schedule your gift now right here!

 

North Texas Giving Day Is This Thursday!
Monday, September 11, 2017

It’s that time of year again! Open your heart and help support your community through a charitable donation on North Texas Giving Day. From 6 a.m. to midnight on September 14th, people across north Texas have the opportunity to show their support for the local organizations they love and maybe even learn about a few new ones!

North Texas Giving Day is Communities Foundation of Texas' annual 18-hour online giving extravaganza for north Texas nonprofits. North Texas Giving Day's goal is to help build awareness and support for nonprofits in the North Texas region.

Since 2009, Communities Foundation of Texas' North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $156 million, for over 2,500 local nonprofits, into the north Texas Community. In 2016, $37 million was raised through more than 142,000 gifts benefiting 2,518 nonprofits.

If you’d rather donate now, early giving is open right here!

 

Inside the Dallas Temporary Animal Shelter
Thursday, September 07, 2017

hurricane harvey, mega shelter

The SPCA of Texas has been getting tons of questions from people all over the community about the temporary animal shelter near the Dallas mega-shelter. We’re happy to report that with the help of Red Rover, the ASPCA and Dallas Animal Services, the shelter is running smoothly! Evacuees are coming to visit their pets every day, staff and volunteers are giving the animals plenty of attention and exercise, and our veterinarians are working around the clock to keep these critters healthy! As of September 8th, the shelter is housing 122 dogs, 24 cats, 5 birds, and one snake.

Here are just a few photos of the adorable pets that are under our care at the temporary animal shelter for pets of Hurricane Harvey evacuees.

hurricane harvey, mega shelter

“Get closer so I can smell you better!”

hurricane harvey, mega shelter

“What do you mean this isn’t my bed?”

hurricane harvey, mega shelter

“I’ve got my eye on you!”

hurricane harvey, mega shelter

“Hello, are you room service? I’d like some more treats please!”

hurricane harvey, mega shelter

“Wanna hang out?”

“Oh yeah, right there, that’s the spot!”

We also caught up with Kenneth Everfield, who has been back to see his adorable girl Goldielocks several times since bringing her to the temporary animal shelter. The look on this sweet pit bull pup’s face when she sees her daddy is absolutely heart-melting! Even in this stressful situation, Goldielocks is able to stay relaxed and happy thanks to the hours her dad spends playing with her! We’re so thankful to be able to provide spaces for people like Kenneth to come and spend quality time with their animals.

A huge thank you to all the volunteers, staff and donors who are made this temporary animal shelter possible!

 

August 2017 Adoptions
Tuesday, September 05, 2017

tiffany, adoptions

Tiffany is all smiles! This silly girl is still looking for her forever home!

Thanks to a successful Clear the Shelters, the SPCA of Texas is proud to announce yet another impressive adoption total for the past month. During the month of August, we were able to find homes for 622 animals. We’d love to congratulate all the pets on their new forever homes with their wonderful adopters!

That 622 total includes:

  • 109 cats
  • 155 kittens
  • 214 dogs
  • 96 puppies
  • 13 guinea pigs
  • 7 horses
  • 2 pigs
  • 18 rabbits
  • 2 ferrets
  • 6 rodents

This puts our total adoption numbers for this year to date at 4,582! We’re still aiming for our goal of 11,000 animal adoptions for 2017 so if you or someone you know has been thinking about bringing a furry friend into their lives, please consider adopting.

In an effort to make room for the shelter animals displaced by Hurricane Harvey, we are extending our adoption special. Until further notice, all adoptions are still just $25! You can see a list of our available animals right here.

Hurricane Harvey: Who's Helping and How to Help Them
Thursday, August 31, 2017

hurricane harvey, donations

The SPCA of Texas has been receiving tons of requests for information on how to help as well as inquiries as to which organizations are doing what to assist with Hurricane Harvey. We’ve compiled a brief summary on what disaster relief services each group is providing. Many organizations are working together to divide up the response tasks that each group is best suited for. All of these organizations will need your support in the coming weeks. We hope this will answer some of your questions about how to help!

***This is not an exhaustive list of all the organizations assisting with Hurricane Harvey relief efforts for animals. There are countless shelters and rescues working together during this tragedy to provide as much assistance as possible. Please do not self-deploy to the disaster zone! Check with your local animal welfare organizations to see how you can help them in the coming weeks. 

SPCA of Texas – Evacuee Animal Sheltering

The City of Dallas has opened a Mega Shelter at the Kay Bailey Hutchinson Convention Center in downtown Dallas. To accommodate evacuees with pets, a temporary animal shelter has been set up in a nearby parking garage. We have a veterinarian on site to take care of micro-chipping and vaccinations as well as to monitor the health of the pets.

We are also currently boarding 58 pets from evacuees at the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center and last weekend we took in 123 cats from The Cattery in Corpus Christi in anticipation of the storm.

Due to the overwhelming response from the community, the SPCA of Texas is at full capacity for both volunteers and fosters!

Our greatest need at the moment is financial contributions to help us support the animals in our care. For information on how to give, please visit https://www.spca.org/hurricane-harvey.

Dallas Pets Alive – Foster Placement

Dallas Pets Alive is working hard to find foster homes for the animals currently in shelters so that they can make room for the displaced animals from the storm. If you would like to become a foster, please apply at http://dallaspetsalive.org/foster/.

Houston SPCA – Emergency Response

The Houston SPCA has opened an Animal Emergency Response Hotline. Please call 713-861-3010 for disaster-related reports. For more information, please visit http://www.houstonspca.org/programs-and-services/disaster-services.html.

Houston Humane Society – Temporary Animal Sheltering

The Houston Humane Society is in need of donations to support their efforts to care for animals rescued from the disaster zone. To contribute, please view their Amazon wish list at https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ls/?ie=UTF8&lid=2TP1CHNL61H22.

Citizens for Animal Protection – Houston – Harvey Relief Efforts

Citizens for Animal Protection (CAP) is providing relief for rescued pets in Houston. For more information, please visit http://www.cap4pets.org/.

Operation Kindness – Pet Food Bank

Operation Kindess is distributing pet food to families who have evacuated from the flood zone to the Dallas-Fort Worth area. If your pet is staying with you and you need food call 972-418-7297 or email them at pantry@operationkindness.org. Distribution days are 12 – 3 p.m. this Thursday and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. this Saturday. For more details, please visit their website.

Houston Humane Society – Temporary Animal Sheltering

The Houston Humane Society is in need of donations to support their efforts to care for animals rescued from the disaster zone. To contribute, please view their Amazon wish list at https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/ls/?ie=UTF8&lid=2TP1CHNL61H22.

Austin Pets Alive! – Emergency Response

Austin Pets Alive is working out of both Austin and Houston to get animals in the flood zone to safety. They are in immediate need of both funding and long-term fosters, especially for large dogs and cats with ringworm or FeLV. For more information, please visit https://www.austinpetsalive.org/hurricane-harvey-evacuations/.

City of San Antonio Animal Care Services – Emergency Animal Sheltering

The City of San Antonio Animal Care Services has an emergency pet shelter set up for displaced families with animals in need of boarding. They are in need of donations and fosters as well as cooperation from animal rescues. They also have quite a few animals available for adoption – by adopting an animal today, you can make more space for evacuee animals. For more information, please visit http://www.sanantonio.gov/Animal-Care/Home.

Due to the overwhelming response from the community, the City of San Antonio Animal Care Services is at full capacity for volunteers! They are still looking for more fosters.

SPCA of Brazoria County – Emergency Animal Sheltering

The SPCA of Brazoria County has set up an emergency animal shelter. They will be helping the community to recover from the flood for months to come and will need to purchase medicine, veterinary equipment, and vaccinations in the coming months. For more information, please visit www.spcabc.org or their Facebook page for the shelter’s most up-to-date needs.

EQUINE/LIVESTOCK ASSISTANCE

We’ve had lots of requests for how to help horses and livestock that have been affected by the flooding. Here is a list of organizations could use your help. Many have sustained damage and the number one thing they need right now is financial support.

Habitat for Horses, Hitchcock, TX

Need: financial donations for veterinary services and hay

Donate here

Crossfire Equine Rescue, Bacliff, TX

Need: financial donations, volunteers, sand, feed

Donate here

TMR Rescue, Plantersville, TX

Need: financial donations for veterinary services, fencing replacement and hay

Donate here

Happened By Chance Horses

Need: financial donations to support clean-up efforts

Donate here

WILDLIFE ASSISTANCE

Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, Inc.

Need: financial donations to support emergency medical attention for wildlife

 

Donate here

 

Hurricane Harvey: Safe Locations For You and Your Pet
Friday, August 25, 2017

cattery, hurricane harvey, transfer

Hurricane Harvey has greatly affected the Texas coast, and there are resources for evacuees with pets here in North Texas.

Evacuating your home in the face of an impending natural disaster is stressful enough, and even more so for those with pets in tow. Unless you have family further inland, you’re probably frantically searching for a pet-friendly place for you and your family to stay to wait out the storm. Thankfully, the Dallas-Fort Worth area has plenty of pet-friendly hotels as well as boarding facilities and restaurants, which we have listed below in an effort to make your evacuation process a little easier.

Temporary Housing

Air BNB is teaming up with its gracious hosts in order to offer free temporary housing to those displaced by Hurricane Harvey. Click here to search for available residences and be sure to check the individual listings to see which ones are pet-friendly.

Hotels

Here is a list of local hotels that allow pets – please be sure to confirm whether there are any additional fees for pets.

Boarding Facilities

Full list of Dallas-Forth Worth boarding facilities.

Restaurants

Want to go out to eat but don't want to leave your precious pet cooped up in the hotel? Here is a list of dog-friendly restaurants in the Dallas-Forth Worth area.

 

Spotlight On: Rabbits
Friday, August 25, 2017

bunny, rabbit

Looking for a new buddy but not quite in love with the idea of a dog or cat? Perhaps a rabbit is the right pet for you!

Before you consider adopting a rabbit, please keep in mind that these cuddly creatures have much different care requirements than cats or dogs. Contrary to popular belief, they are not low maintenance animals. Rabbits are fragile creatures and need to be handled carefully – this means they are not the best choice of pets for small children. If you’re not up to the task of cleaning a rabbit cage daily or learning all there is to keeping your bunny happy and healthy, then perhaps a rabbit is not a suitable pet for you. If you’re certain you can commit to the providing the kind of lifestyle a bunny needs, read on!

One great advantage that rabbits have over other animals is that they are quiet. If you’re a light sleeper or the sound of barking stresses you out, bunnies might be a good choice for you. Rabbits also don’t need as much space as other animals, so they make great pets for those who don’t have the room for a larger animal.

Petting a rabbit is a very relaxing experience. Spending a bit of time every day stroking a bunny’s soft fur will reduce stress for both you and your new friend! Rabbits can also be litter box trained, so there’s no need to change your habits to take it out for a walk several times a day.

Cinnabon, bunny, rabbit

 

If you’re trying to incorporate more leafy greens in your diet, meal time with your rabbit will constantly remind you to eat your veggies. Lettuce, kale and the occasional carrot will keep both you and your bunny both happy and healthy! Vegetarians and vegans can also rejoice in the fact that bunnies are herbivores, just like their owners!

Thinking of adopting a bunny or two? Read our Pet Care tips on owning a rabbit and check out some of our rabbits available for adoption (like Cinnabon, pictured above) on our FindAPet page!

Clear The Shelters 2017 – A Huge Success!
Wednesday, August 23, 2017

clear the shelters, kennels,

A huge thank you to everyone who came out to adopt an animal during this past weekend’s Clear the Shelters event. The SPCA of Texas found forever homes for 213 lucky animals on Saturday, August 19th. Our volunteers, our staff and of course, all the new pet parents made this day an incredibly special one for so many deserving animals.

As if that wasn’t enough great news, we’re happy to see that this event is gaining popularity across the nation. Last year, more than 53,000 animals were adopted from over 700 shelters. This year, animal organizations blew those numbers out of the water! For Clear the Shelters 2017, 72,776 animals were adopted from more than 900 participating shelters. A total of 7,525 animals were adopted in the DFW area alone!

clear the shelters, cat condos

The SPCA of Texas is able to waive adoption fees during Clear the Shelters thanks to the continued support of our generous donors. We rely on the contributions of people just like you to fund our organization’s efforts to improve the lives of animals. We hope that you keep the SPCA of Texas in your heart and in your mind on North Texas Giving Day on September 14th, when all North Texas residents are encouraged to lend their support to local charitable organizations.

Click here for more information on North Texas Giving Day.

Clear the Shelters is Tomorrow!!
Friday, August 18, 2017

Don’t Forget – Clear the Shelters is TOMORROW!

Finally, the day is almost here! Tomorrow, August 19th is Clear the Shelters! All animal adoptions are free from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. as we attempt to find homes for every animal in the shelter. Please note that our regular adoption protocol will still apply during this event, so please bring a government-issued ID. There will likely be long lines, so we thank you in advance for your patience on this exciting day! All animals are first come, first serve so come with an open mind and an open heart!

Clear The Shelters

For a preview of some of the animals you’ll see at our shelters tomorrow, take a look at our FindAPet page!

We’re able to participate in Clear the Shelters due to donations from community members just like you! Please consider making a contribution to the SPCA of Texas on North Texas Giving Day or anytime right here on our website.

Black Cat Appreciation Day
Thursday, August 17, 2017

Black Cat Appreciation

What if you could have your very own mini panther? Well, you can! Black cats are extra special because they are basically little ninjas that can stealthily prowl around your house, keeping an eye out for intruders.

Here are just a few of the miniature panthers we have available at the shelter right now!

ZAYDA

black cat appreciation

 

Zayda is a gorgeous, confident feline who not only loves attention, but demands it! She is not at all shy and will bump you to let you know she needs some petting.  

SIMBA

black cat appreciation

 

Simba is the epitome of a house panther! Confident, friendly and playful, Simba will brighten your home with his big personality. He is FIV positive, which means that he’ll have to be the only cat in the house or join a home with other FIV positive cats. Learn more about the myths surrounding FIV here!

Remember, black never goes out of style! See more of our available black cats on our FindAPet page and head to your nearest SPCA of Texas location to claim your very own house panther!

 

Hot Cars
Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Summer is winding down, but it’s still too darn hot! We’d like to remind you about the dangers of leaving your dog in a hot car. If you need to run errands, it’s best to leave your precious pup at home. Leaving your dog in the car for even a ten-minute stop at the grocery store can cause heat stroke.

Dangers of Hot Cars - Never leave your pet in a hot car!

If you see a dog trapped in a hot car, do not attempt to break into the car. There are no laws on the books in the state of Texas protecting individuals who damage property to rescue a child or animal.

Instead, if it is an emergency, call 911 and share the make, model and license plate of the car for assistance in rescuing the animal.  An additional step you can take is to go into nearby shops and stores to ask management to assist in finding the animals’ owner so that he or she may take his or her pets home.

Rest assured, however, that Texas does have an animal cruelty law that will hold people accountable, including jail time and a fine, for leaving pets in hot (or cold) car, causing the animal to suffer.

Back to School 2017
Friday, August 11, 2017

It’s that time of year again! Teachers, parents, and kids alike are all gearing up for the start of school.

Our educators work especially hard to prepare their classrooms before a crop of new students comes bounding through the door. If you’re a teacher, we sure hope you’ll consider adding a classroom pet to your back to school list!

rat

Whether you come adopt a rabbit, a rat, a snake or a guinea pig, a classroom pet can provide many benefits for your students. Classroom pets can help ease anxiety, assist shy students with socialization skills, teach children from pet-less homes how to nurture, and improve every child’s sense of responsibility.

You can also incorporate a classroom pet into lessons! Your students might write a story about Hammie the hamster or perform a study the nitrogen cycle in the aquarium. You can prompt them to describe the physical characteristics of the classroom’s bearded dragon Morty or even teach them about proper nutrition with a lesson about what the class guinea pig Winnie needs to eat to stay healthy. There are endless ways you can incorporate a classroom pet into your lesson plans to enhance your students’ learning experience and to make the day a bit more fun! 

lizard, reptile

Rats, mice and hamsters are great starter pets if you don’t have a lot of experience with small animals. Rabbits require quite a bit of extra hands-on care, so we recommend rabbits as classroom pets for seasoned rabbit owners only. Remember you’ll have be responsible for caring for this animal on the weekends, summers and during the holidays so be sure you’re ready to commit to your new pet.

Naturally, you should first get permission from your school’s administration and make sure none of your students have allergies that would be aggravated by a furry animal. A fish or reptile would be a great alternative for classrooms with known allergy sufferers.

hamster

To help cover the expense of a classroom pet, there are grants available to teachers through Pets in the Classroom. This website is a fantastic resource for those looking to adopt their first classroom pet and even includes tons of sample lesson plans for every age group.

We have plenty of amazing critters available for adoption at our shelters that would make perfect classroom pets. Check out our FindAPet page to find your new teaching assistant!

Clear The Shelters 2017
Thursday, August 10, 2017

Come one, come all to Clear the Shelters at the SPCA of Texas!

Both of our shelter locations are participating in the event, so head to your nearest one on August 19th!

What is Clear the Shelters?

clear the shelters

It is an annual, nationwide event dedicated to finding homes for all the animals available for adoption in participating shelters. To accomplish this feat, every shelter waives its adoption fees. This means that you can come adopt a vaccinated, spayed/neutered animal for free! Last year, more than 53,000 animals were adopted from over 700 shelters nationwide on this special day.

kittens, cat bed

This year, 62 North Texas shelters are participating in Clear the Shelters. The SPCA of Texas is proud to offer free adoptions for Clear the Shelters - we are able to do this because of the continued support of our donors. If you are unable to take in a new family member at this time, please consider donating now here or on North Texas Giving Day to help us cover the cost of these animals’ care.

To view our list of available animals, check out our FindAPet page. Stop by either the Jan Rees-Jones Animal Care Center in Dallas or the Russell H. Perry Animal Care Center in McKinney from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on August 19th to meet your new best friend!

International Cat Day
Tuesday, August 08, 2017

 

Happy International Cat Day! Do we have a cat story for you!

Arizona Kitten

The SPCA of Texas is proud to announce that we received 50 kittens from the Arizona Humane Society yesterday afternoon. The Arizona shelter currently has over 800 cats at their facilities, so we are taking a few of them in to help out with their overflow! These little guys are settling in nicely after their long journey over the weekend. They aren’t available for adoption yet, but we have plenty of other cats and kittens in our shelters waiting for a home. You can take a look at who is currently available for adoption right here.

Here are some of the pictures from yesterday’s intake!

Arizona Kitten

Arizona Kitten

Arizona Kitten

arizona humane society, kittens

In light of this huge transfer in, we’d like to remind everyone that North Texas Giving Day is coming up next month. The money you contribute on this amazing day of charity supports our efforts to find homes for the animals that come through our shelters, including these adorable kittens. Mark your calendars with a reminder that September 14th is North Texas Giving Day and be sure to share your contribution on social media!

National Work Like a Dog Day (August 5th)
Friday, August 04, 2017

Tomorrow, August 5th is National Work Like A Dog Day. The holiday is dedicated to those who put in long hours of hard work on a regular basis, but we’d also like to celebrate dogs with jobs!

Canines are wonderful creatures that are capable of so much more than just companionship - although they’re pretty darn good at that too! Dogs all over the world help humans by lending us their excellent skills and willingness to please.

The compassion and dedication that therapy and guide dogs show their owners know no bounds. A helping paw, a comforting nuzzle, or an extra set of eyes to rely on can go a long way for those who need a little bit of help getting around or just getting through the day.

combat dog, working dog, work like a dog, k-9

We’ll always be grateful to our K-9 officers for helping to keep the peace in our communities and the brave combat dogs that help our troops defend our freedom. Remember, a dog in uniform is working so no petting or treats – it’s very important for them to remain professional.

Whether they’re shepherding a herd of goats, sniffing for contraband or rescuing people trapped by an avalanche, dogs truly know the value of a hard day’s work. Tomorrow, we suggest giving your own pup an extra treat on behalf of all the dogs hard at work across the nation.

 

July 2017 Adoptions
Tuesday, August 01, 2017

We’re having a fantastic summer here at the SPCA of Texas! During the month of July, an incredible 611 animals were adopted. We’d love to congratulate all the pets and their adopters on their new lives together.

adoption, estella, staff

 

That 611 total includes:

  • 2 birds
  • 110 cats
  • 156 kittens
  • 177 dogs
  • 133 puppies
  • 8 hens
  • 7 guinea pigs
  • 5 horses
  • 5 rabbits
  • 8 rodents

This puts our total adoption numbers for this year to date at 3,960! We’re still aiming for our goal of 11,000 animal adoptions for 2017 so if you or someone you know has been thinking about bringing a furry friend into their lives, please consider adopting. Dog and cat adoptions are still $25 through September 3rd! You can see a list of our available animals right here.

National Mutt Day
Monday, July 31, 2017

July 31st is National Mutt Day! Today we celebrate all the lovable, scruffy pups that come from all sorts of canine backgrounds. They may not be able to strut around the ring at dog shows, but we think they’re winners all the same!

Most of the dogs that come through our shelters are mixed breed, so we always have a wide variety of happy mutts on hand. Remember, dogs don’t care what breed of human you are, as long as you’re a good one!

mutt, national mutt day, adopt

This summer all dog adoptions are $25, so come on down to your nearest SPCA of Texas location or keep an eye on our calendar for our mobile adoption events. You might just go home with a new best friend!

For more information on National Mutt Day, head over to the official website or check out the Facebook page!

 

Teaching Your Puppy to Swim
Friday, July 28, 2017

Swimming is great exercise and tons of fun for both you and your dog, but your puppy has to learn to splash before he can swim! Before you start teaching your puppy to swim, you should purchase a doggie life vest. These are available in a wide variety of sizes in most pet supply stores. You should also keep your dog on a leash until you are confident that they will not swim away from you.

puppy, bath, swim, baby pool

Be patient with your pup as they get used to the sensation of being in water. Throwing your dog into the water is the worst thing you can do as it will likely cause a total fear of deep water. Introducing your dog to water slowly is the best way to ensure that your pup will come to enjoy the activity of swimming. Let your pet get used to standing with their paws in a baby pool before graduating to shallow wading. Rewarding your puppy with treats will help them associate the water with good feelings. Additionally, remember to bring plenty of toys to ensure your dog will have fun during training.

Once your dog is used to the water, you can help them get used to the feeling of swimming by supporting their belly as they kick their legs. Paddling with only the front legs can quickly cause exhaustion, so make sure your dog is using all four limbs to swim. Eventually, they will be doing the doggie paddle all on their own!

dog, tongue, baby pool, swim, summer

Here are some important things to remember every time you take your dog out for a swim:

  • Never allow your dog to swim unattended
  • Always give your pet a rinse with clean water after a swim to wash off the pool chemicals, bacteria, algae, sand or salt
  • Just like you, your dog can get dehydrated, sunburned and bloated. Make sure your dog gets plenty of water and shade and wait a few hours after mealtime before jumping into the pool
  • Never leave your dog unsupervised near a body of water

Have fun out in the sun this summer and remember, safety first!

 

Spotlight On: Potbelly Pigs
Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Potbelly pigs are super cute, but they require a special type of owner! If you’ve ever wondered about adopting a potbelly pig, here are some important things to keep in mind about caring for pigs.

potbelly pig, pig,

They attach to their owners! Pig adopters need to understand that their pig is very sensitive to meeting new people. Introductions should be calm and based on the pig’s own comfort level. Keep in mind that pot belly pigs live between 12 and 18 years, so be sure you’re in for the long haul before taking one home.

It’s important to take charge of your new pig to establish dominance. Pigs need to know that you are the “head pig” so adopters should be firm and lead the pig. This is especially important if you are adopting an older pig. The more you brush them and give them belly rubs, the faster they will fall in love with you.

Pot bellies are incredibly social animals. They do best when paired with another pig. Their friend will keep them company when you are out of the house. Pigs often sleep with their snouts touching, which is incredibly cute to witness. All pigs require hoof trimming and male pigs grow tusks that may also need trimming that needs to be done by experienced vets.

potbelly pig, pig, baby pool, bath

Pigs are sensitive and communicate through body language. You must find a vet that knows and understands pigs. Vets that work primarily with dogs and cats may not understand your pig’s special needs. Also, potbelly pigs require specialized diets. They should not eat farm pig food. A few companies make pet pig feed, but pigs also require fresh vegetables, hay or bran, and the opportunity to graze on fresh grass. You can give your pet pig the occasional piece of fruit as a treat but it is extremely important not to overfeed your pig. Just like people, too much junk food can make pigs unhealthy and overweight. 

potbelly pig, pig,

Because pigs are so intelligent, they require a lot of stimulation through attention, training, and exercise. Adopting a potbelly pig is a huge responsibility and it’s extremely important that you do your research to make sure you’re ready for such an undertaking.

Last but not least, check your local regulations and home owner’s association guidelines to ensure that you are permitted to have a potbelly pig on your property. 

To see which of our pigs are available for adoption, please head over to our FindAPet page.

Reducing Pet Allergens In Your Home
Friday, July 21, 2017

As much as we all adore our furry best friends, we could certainly live without all that dander! When hay fever hits, the last thing you need is another irritant floating around in the air. Following these tips will help you (and your four-legged friends) keep your home’s air clean all year round!

Black Cat

One easy solution to ease nighttime allergies is to purchase quality hypoallergenic sheets. These sheets are designed to repel allergens. While down comforters are incredibly cozy, dander and dust mites can get trapped inside. Switching to a cotton comforter or quilt can make a difference in how you breathe at night.

Unless you can’t bear to sleep without your cuddle buddy, it’s a good idea to keep your fur baby off the bed and possibly even out of your bedroom. Having a clean, pet-free zone in your house can provide you and your guests with a comfortable area to breathe in. It’s also a good idea to clean your pet’s favorite spot more frequently and more thoroughly than other areas of your home.

Tortie Cat

Diligent cleaning is obviously the number one way to keep pet allergies at bay.  Wood, tile, and laminate are optimal flooring choices for pet owners as these materials are much easier to clean than carpet. Frequent dry mopping, dusting, and, if you have carpet in your home, vacuuming, will help keep dander from building up. When looking for a vacuum, you may come across many models that are specifically designed to pick up pet hair and dander. Some even have special attachments that are excellent at picking up pet hair from furniture and tight corners. Of course, dust around your home often – especially around vents and ceiling fans.

For more cleaning tips, check out these helpful hints in our Pet Care Tips section.

 

Memorial Day Pet Safety, 2017
Thursday, May 25, 2017

Memorial Day is often a great time to have family BBQs, take river floating trips with friends, and do any number of outdoor activities that can only be truly enjoyed when you have a three-day weekend to experience them.

As most pet-lovers can attest, enjoying these activities with our furry friends only enhances our enjoyment. If you plan to enjoy your Memorial Day weekend with your pets, there are some things you should be careful to avoid in order to keep your pets safe.



1. If you plan to host or attend a  BBQ with your dog, be sure to keep your dog from eating any table scraps. Raisins, grapes, onions, garlic and avocadoes are common foods at such gatherings, but are poisonous for pets. Alcohol is also
toxic for pets and should not, under any circumstances, be given to your pets. If you think throwing your pet some fatty scraps or bones from meat is a nice treat, please think again. Bones, especially those from poultry, are choking
hazards for pets and fatty scraps of meat don’t help your pet’s cholesterol any more than they help yours.



2. If you plan to enjoy water-based activities with your dog this weekend, first make sure that your dog is comfortable in and around the water. Not all dogs are great swimmers and small dogs especially should wear dog-appropriate
flotation devices if they are going to be near a lake or river. You’ll also need to make sure that your dog doesn’t drink the water from a lake, river or swimming pool as there could be toxins or chemicals that are harmful to them.



3. No matter the situation, your pets should always have access to shade, shelter and fresh water if you’re going to take them anywhere. Animals are more prone to heat exhaustion due to their fur and lack of ability
to communicate the need for water. Brachycephalic (smushed-faced) dogs are especially prone to over-heating as they have more difficulty breathing when hot or over-exercised. Always make sure that your pets have a cool place to
rest when it’s hot outside. You might even consider filling a kiddie pool so that your dog can lay his chest in it as this is how dogs regulate their body temperatures.



4. Before you and Fido leave for your weekend adventure, make sure that your dog is wearing up to date identification tags attached to his collar and that his microchip information is updated as well. We can’t stress enough
how sad it is to have your dog get lost without his tags. It makes it so much harder for good Samaritans and animal welfare agencies to reunite you with your beloved pooch! Likewise, an up to date microchip can provide a last defense
when it comes to getting Fido back home.



[Call 214-742-772 today to set up an appointment for a microchip and Pet ID tags at the SPCA of Texas! If you have  questions about more pet safety tips, feel free to email us at spca@spca.org.]

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National Chip Your Pet Month
Thursday, May 18, 2017

Losing a pet is heartbreaking because both the pet and her owner are a complete mess when Fido can’t find his way home.

Here on the blog, we’ve previously talked about how to recover your pet once she’s lost. The last line of defense in situations such as these is about as small as a grain of rice.

The solution is called a microchip.

May is National Chip Your Pet Month and rather than try to explain what it is and does, we’ll let you see for yourself in these infographics*

If you want to know how to use your pet's microchip, read on!

Not convinced that your pet needs a microchip yet?  

Make an appointment today to have your pet microchipped at one of our three low-cost spay/neuter and wellness clinics! Call 214-742-7722 to make your pet’s appointment.

*All infographics can be found on the SPCA of Texas’ “Infographics + Pet Facts” Pinterest board. Check it out for more  tips and tricks on popular animal welfare topics!


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National Dog Bite Prevention Week, May 14-20
Monday, May 15, 2017

Every year in America, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs. Of these 4.5 million, about one in five people require medical attention for their injuries.

Unfortunately, children are by far the most common victims of dog bites and are far more likely to be severely injured by the bites. And actually, most dog bite injuries to children happen during everyday activities in which the child is  interacting with a familiar dog.



Why is this the case? Kids generally have a way of interacting with the world that involves a lot of up close and personal inspection and touching. It’s not unusual to see a kid meeting a dog for the first time and reaching out to  touch the dog’s face, grab his moving tail, or press his face closer to the dog’s face.

When a kid is familiar with the family dog, he or she then feels comfortable enough to start hitting or tugging on the dog. Unlike other dogs, human children who don’t know how to read the dog’s stiff body language, enlarged eyes and laid back ears as a sign to leave him alone will miss the dog’s physical cues.

And unlike other humans, dogs can’t speak to kids and say, “Hey, please cut that out!”  Their way of getting an  annoyance out is to react by baring their teeth and snapping. It’s not usually a drawn out movement; one quick reaction or a succession of quick reactions will send the message to other dogs.



The best thing you can do as a parent to both kids and a dog is to teach your children the correct way to pet and play with your pooch. This will help ensure that all creatures in your home live in harmony and will help your kids stay safe for life.

Teach your kids not to stick their face in your dog’s face, or crawl into a tight space with the dog as many dogs do not enjoy such close contact. Tell them that the dog does not like to be hit or have his arms and legs tugged on, just as your child does not enjoy those things.

Explain to your children that dogs have feelings sort of like humans do and that they can be annoyed, scared or mad just like people.



Also explain to your child that if they meet a new or strange dog, they should let the dog come up to them first. Do not let your child run towards strange dogs unless that dog’s owner says otherwise.

If the other dog owner tells you not to do something their dog does not like, communicate that to your child and supervise their interactions at all times. Explain to them what this new dog does and does not like and you just might teach your child to respect all dogs in the process.

We humans are blessed to be able to call our dogs “man’s best friend,” but as the superior creatures we have the responsibility of teaching both dogs and children how to live together in peace.



If you’re looking to bring a new dog into your family, check out our available dogs on our Findapet page! If you’d like  more information on how to care for your pets, take a look at our “Healthy, Happy Pets” board on Pinterest.

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Chihuahua Appreciation Day! (May 14th)
Thursday, May 11, 2017

Mother’s Day is coming up and we don’t want to steal mom’s thunder. But do you know what else is on May 14th?

It’s National Chihuahua Appreciation Day!

Amber the Chihuahua
The SPCA of Texas loves dogs of all breeds and sizes, and we’re pumped to highlight the tiny Chihuahua. They’re shaky, fierce and full of love and loyalty for their special person. Could that be you?

Chihuahuas are lap dogs through and through and make great apartment dogs as they are small in size and rather inactive between bursts of energy. They also tend to excel at alerting their owners to visitors and make even better snuggle buddies.

Nero the Chihuahua

If you’re looking for a fierce, yet tiny protector and companion, look no further than the SPCA of Texas! We have a few very adorable Chihuahua mixes available who are looking for their forever home and a lap to cuddle on.

To see our adoptable Chi mixes, visit this page.

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Proper Puppy Care {Puppy Mill Awareness}
Monday, May 08, 2017

I don’t have to explain to you how wonderful puppies are. They’re soft and fluffy and can fit an incredible amount of energy and playfulness into such a small package!

And let’s not even get started on how smart and curious they are. They are a joy to watch and interact with and no one can resist them.



With spring in full bloom and summer on the way, there are puppies popping up everywhere! Before you consider  bringing one into your home, just be sure you’ve got what it takes to care for one of these bundles of joy.

That curiosity I mentioned will lead a pup right to the temptation to chew up all your favorite belongings and he won’t be able to resist. He’ll also feel free to potty wherever he pleases because he just doesn’t know any better.

Are you prepared to spend lots of time playing with and training your pup?



If so, consider whether or not you’re prepared to spend upwards of $900 dollars on average on your pup’s first year of veterinary visits and supplies. Puppies have weak immune systems and require several rounds of vaccinations and tests in their first year of life.

Additionally, they need a lot of household items such as crates, collars, leashes, food and water bowls, blankets…and the list goes on. If you’re not willing to shell out some cash for these necessary items, a puppy might not be right for you right now.

If you think you can responsibly care for a new puppy, please consider adoption first. Many puppies sold at pet stores or online come from puppy mills. A puppy mill is an establishment that breeds puppies for sale in inhumane and deplorable conditions.

The mother dogs remain nameless and are kept only as long as they continue to produce litters of puppies. They usually are left with no medical care and are living in their own filth. They rarely, if ever, receive positive attention or compassion from the people who breed them, which means they have no basic training and no idea what a toy is.



When you adopt from a shelter, you help stop the economic demand for puppies bred in puppy mills, and thus help put puppy mills out of business. And every puppy adopted from a shelter saves not only that puppy’s life, but the life of another homeless animal that takes its place in the shelter.  

If you think you’ve got what it takes to adopt and raise a puppy, you should absolutely consider adopting from the  SPCA of Texas! I wasn’t kidding about puppies being everywhere, and we’ve got some to spare!



Our puppies come spayed or neutered with a microchip and they’re up to date on their age-appropriate vaccinations. If you want to take a look at who we’ve got available for adoption, check out our Findapet page!

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National Pet Month
Thursday, May 04, 2017

May is National Pet Month, the first full week of May is National Pet Week and there are lots of ways that you can celebrate each!

You could get down with your dog, chase bugs with your cat, get jiggy with your iguana, make funny faces with your fish or burrow under the blankets with your pet rat. The possibilities are endless!

The purpose of this nationally celebrated week of pets is to celebrate the human-animal bond and promote responsible pet ownership.



We know how fun it can be to own a pet and the benefits they bring to our lives, but with great fun comes great responsibility.

Before bringing a new pet into your home, do your research. Make sure you’re aware of all the big ways you’ll need to be able to provide care for the pet (or pets) you choose.

If you find that the level of time or money needed to care for the pet you had your heart set on is more than you’re willing to put up for now, it is absolutely the best idea to choose a different type of pet. This is why doing the research beforehand is so important; it can help prevent you from having to give up your pet later.



Moreover, it is the duty of a responsible pet owner to do your part and make sure your pets are not contributing to the overall homeless pet population.

Thousands of animals are born every year in unwanted litters and are left to roam the streets. These poor babies wind up in shelters where many are euthanized because there is nowhere else for them to go, or worse, they get hit by a car, spread disease or are eaten by wildlife.

To help stop this awful cycle, have your pet spayed or neutered. If your pets cannot be fixed, be sure to separate the males and females into different enclosures to prevent unwanted babies.

More than anything, simply continue to provide your pets with the unconditional love that you always have. And if you find it’s time to bring a new pet into your home, please consider adopting from the SPCA of Texas!

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Adoption Numbers for April 2017!
Monday, May 01, 2017

The SPCA of Texas has a huge goal this year. In 2017, we are aiming to find homes for over 11,000 animals! This number is more than double our previous three years’ yearly adoption numbers.

Community support is vital to helping us reach this goal, as we can only reach it when more people open their hearts and homes to pet adoption.

If you are considering bringing a new furry friend into your home, or you know someone who is, please consider adopting from the SPCA of Texas. You could play a huge role in helping us save more lives!



[To see our adoptable animals, please visit www.spca.org/findapet.]

Without further ado, we’re excited to announce how many adoptions we’ve had this month, followed by our year to date numbers!*

Are you ready?

In April 2017, the SPCA of Texas adopted out a whopping 522 animals! Here’s the break down for you: 

119 Cats

158 Dogs

2 Ferrets

2 Fowl

13 Goats

23 Guinea Pigs

6 Horses

58 Kittens

3 Pigs

81 Puppies

21 Rabbits

3 Rodents

33 Sheep

In the year 2017, the SPCA of Texas has already adopted out approximately 2,158 animals! This number exceeds our YTD numbers from 2016 by approximately 787 animals!

*These numbers do not include animals who were adopted and returned who have not already been adopted again.

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National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day (April 30)
Thursday, April 27, 2017

This year, National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, as well as Pet Parent’s Day, fall on the same day, April 30th. Today, we’ll discuss all the wonderful benefits of adopting a shelter pet and what it’s like to be a pet parent.



When you adopt from a shelter, your pet comes into your home already spayed or neutered, microchipped and up to  date on his vaccinations. He’s been brought up to a standard of health suitable for your home and you probably paid a fairly small price to call him family.

The saying goes that when you adopt a shelter pet, the love you get is more than the love you give. This is so true because when you bring an adopted animal into your home, you are literally saving his life.



Because you adopted your pet, you may have brought him out of a life of abuse or neglect or even prevented him from
being euthanized. And you not only saved his life, but the life of the animal who replaced him in the shelter.

As a pet parent, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that the animal you now cuddle with on the couch is your best friend because you saved his life. Each animal has its own personality and way of entertaining and loving us.



Pet parents are very aware of this and love to share with each other how much joy and laughter their best friend brings to them. The cost of caring for a pet becomes almost nothing when we stop to realize how different our lives would be without our furry friends.

If you’re thinking about becoming a new pet parent, please consider adopting from the SPCA of Texas. All of our adoptable pets are spayed or neutered, given age-appropriate vaccines and microchipped. You can look for your new best friend on our Findapet page.

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National Lost Dog Awareness Day (April 23)
Monday, April 24, 2017


“Oh no.”

Dread and fear course through your body as comprehension of the situation takes over. You’re standing in your  backyard, staring at the open gate.

Fido is nowhere to be seen…

Unfortunately, situations such as the above are unfortunately commonplace for some pet owners. Some dogs have an uncanny ability to escape when the urge to wander takes over them.

In fact, it’s so common that Lost Dog Awareness Day has become a nationally recognized day in the animal lovers’ community.

Lost Dog Awareness Day was created in 2014 not only to bring awareness to the dogs that go missing, but also to celebrate the reunions. It’s an opportunity to learn more about prevention—how you can keep Fido safe and sound with you and not have to worry if he’ll return.

Today, that’s just what we’ll focus on.



How to keep Fido from wandering

The number one thing you can do to keep Fido safe is to make sure you’re keeping an eye on him. Obviously, you have a life and can’t always have your dog with you, especially if he has behavior issues, but there are precautions you should always be taking.

For starters, never leave your dog alone in an unsecure area (one that you’re sure he won’t escape from) for more than five minutes at a time. This includes leaving him in the backyard, your office, and especially your car. If you must leave your dog’s presence, make sure someone you trust is keeping an eye on him.

One reason for this is because dogs can get bored. They start sniffing around for something fun to do and if they’re smart enough, they’ll find a way to get what they want. Leaving your dog unattended outside for long periods of time encourages him to become bored and attempt escape.

You should also make sure that if your dog is outside, he is safely enclosed in a fenced in area where he cannot easily escape, or he should be on a leash that is firmly gripped in your hand. You or someone you trust should be with him, keeping an eye  on him.



Furthermore, you should never let your dog off leash in an open area unless you absolutely trust him. Distractions abound in the form of squirrels, birds, people and other dogs. Who’s to say even the most well-mannered and well-trained dog wouldn’t take off after a squirrel’s bushy tail?

Other reasons dogs escape include looking for food and looking for a mate (if they’re not spayed or neutered). Be sure your pet is “fixed” and always has the appropriate amount of food and water to keep them safely at home.

How to ensure you can be reunited with Fido if he escapes

Despite our best efforts as pet parents, accidents still happen.

The number one thing you can do to ensure that you will be quickly reunited with your dog is to put up to date identification tags on him. These tags should have your name and phone number on them, as well as your address, email and any reward that you might give for the return of your dog.

This information makes it as easy as possible for good Samaritans to contact you, as well as provide them with an incentive to do so. This is also a highly visible way for strangers to identify your dog as a pet and not a stray, making them more likely to reach out and help your dog.



Now, maybe your dog is a master escape artist and constantly manages to slip out of his collar before roaming the streets.

If this is the case, your next  line of defense is a microchip.

A microchip is a small chip inserted between the layers of your dog’s skin that electronically holds a code that links to your dog’s basic information as well as your contact information. In order to access this information, your dog has to be scanned with a microchip scanner that can read the microchip number.

Your neighbors probably won’t be able to able to read this information and if someone who is not familiar with your dog doesn’t know him by sight, this won’t do you much good.

However, a microchip is an excellent tool for when your dog is picked up by, or dropped off at, animal control.  Microchip scanning is a standard procedure performed by animal welfare professionals as soon as an animal enters their building. Veterinarians can also help scan for microchips.

Provided your contact information is up to date, you should be able to be reunited with your pooch! Then the welcome home party can start. 

You can also purchase a GPS locator tag, along
with the service to track your dog should he become lost.


If you are confident that your dog would not stray far from your home, or you think your neighbors might help you locate him, one excellent tool to use is social media. Create a poster with multiple photos of your dog from different angles and your contact information, as well as a reward.

Post these flyers all around your neighborhood and in places you know your dog likes to visit. Then, post it to all your social media channels and share it with your friends and family. Be sure to also share it to your local animal control agency’s page, as well as local animal shelters’ pages.

Another great resource are the animal control and animal shelters themselves. If you are ever unsure of how to proceed looking for your dog, call and explain your situation. Give them photo copies of your flyer so they will know without doubt that they have your dog if he comes through their doors. Then, check daily to make sure your pet did not come in since the last time you visited.

If you need up to date identification tags made or you’d like to get your pet a microchip, call the SPCA of Texas at 214-742-7722. We provide both of these services at a reduced cost to our communities!

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Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Week
Monday, April 17, 2017

April is National Prevent Cruelty to Animals Month, so today we’ll discuss this important issue and what we can do to help.

By now, many people are aware of all the horrible ways animals can suffer abuse. The most well-known issues include  dog fighting and puppy mills, but the list includes other types of cruelty including animal hoarding, cockfighting, horse slaughter, animal races and animals being kept in inhumane conditions.

Sadly, some animals are abused simply by being neglected. They are refused food, water, shelter or care.

If you believe any of these practices are absolutely unacceptable, the best thing you can do is get involved.



You can petition your government representatives for stricter animal cruelty laws, start a fundraising campaign to help your local animal control agency or animal shelter investigate animal cruelty, or even host an event just spreading the word about how to spot and report animal cruelty.

Perhaps the simplest thing you can do is inform your local law enforcement agency or animal cruelty investigations unit of animal cruelty that you are aware of.

The SPCA of Texas has an animal cruelty investigations unit that accepts roughly 3-5 thousand animal cruelty calls per year. From these calls, they usually rescue about 15-hundred animals per year.

If you would like to know more about how you can help stop animal cruelty, visit our webpage here.

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Heartworm Awareness Month
Thursday, April 13, 2017

April is Heartworm Awareness Month, so today we’ll be discussing this very serious disease and what we can do to help
our pets fight it.

For the most basic facts, check out the infographic from the Companion Animal Parasite Council below.

As you can see, heartworm disease is very serious indeed. It poses a threat not only to your pets, but to your wallet as well since treatment for the disease is very expensive.


The best way you can help your pets fight this awful disease is by preventing it. There are over 11 different heartworm preventative medicines on the market, so you will need to talk with your veterinarian about which medication is best for your pet.


Furthermore, you should start having your pet tested for heartworms during his yearly check-up. It can take 6 months
for heartworms to be detected once your pet has been infected. Yearly testing will help you catch it early enough for effective treatment.


If you have a puppy under 7 months of age, you can go ahead and start her on a preventative before having her tested as she is too young for the test.


The SPCA of Texas is equipped to help you prevent this disease because we provide heartworm preventative at each of our three north Texas clinics.

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Therapy Dogs vs. Service Dogs: What's the Difference?
Monday, April 10, 2017

Many people are aware that therapy and service dogs are becoming more common. However, there is still some confusion when it comes to the differences between the two.

Since April 11th is Therapy Dog Appreciation Day, we’ll go ahead and clear this up.

Image Source

What is a therapy dog?

Therapy dogs are dogs who go with their owners to volunteer in settings in which people might need affection and comfort. Such settings include schools, hospitals, nursing homes, retirement homes, hospices, disaster areas and places where people with autism reside.

Service dogs have a much heftier job as they are responsible for assisting a physically or mentally disabled person to function in their everyday lives. Service dogs are specially trained according to their owner’s needs and are allowed access by law into public places such as restaurants, air planes, libraries, etc.



Because therapy dogs are not specially trained or absolutely necessary to their owner’s normal functioning, they are not afforded this same access. In fact, it is unethical to try to pass off a therapy dog, much less your regular dog, as a service dog in order to bring him or her with you into public places where dogs are not allowed.

However, this does not make therapy dogs any less important than service dogs. Therapy dogs bring an abundance of happiness and joy to those they visit. Studies have even shown that the presence of a therapy dog does wonders for sick and hurting people.  

How can I make my dog a therapy dog?

In order for your dog to become a certified therapy dog, you will both have to work your way through a certification program. These are available through a select few organizations across the country.

But before you invest in training your dog to become a therapy dog, ask yourself these questions about your dog’s current personality and behavior: 

  • Is your dog friendly and accepting of strangers?
  • Does your dog get along with dogs of all sizes and breed?
  • Is your dog calm, able to sit on command, and stay for a long period of time?
  • Is your dog comfortable around adults and children? Or prefer one to the other?
  • Is your dog able to walk calmly through a crowd?
  • Is your dog able to stay focused even with distractions?
  • Does your dog enjoy being groomed or pet by a stranger?
  • Is your dog confident and carefree?
  • Is your dog relaxed even with loud, disruptive noises?
  • Does your dog have good manners even when you're not in the room?
  • Is your dog comfortable in a new, or changing, environment?

If you answered yes to the questions above, look into enrolling your pooch in a Good Canine Citizen (GCC) class. Your pup will have to get his GCC certification before he can become certified as a therapy dog through an accredited therapy dog program.

SPCA of Texas Good Canine Citizen


[Photo of Mikey shortly after being adopted at 9 weeks old]


The SPCA of Texas is ecstatic to announce that one of our alumni has taken the first steps towards becoming a therapy dog!

We have received an update from Mikey (formerly Santos) and his family. Sherry (Mikey’s mom) shared the wonderful news with us!

She says that “Mikey has been studying very hard and...just received his Canine Good Citizenship certification! I was also able to register Mikey with the AKC Partners program and he is continuing to take training classes so he can go for the next level of certification.”


[Photo of Mikey at his CGG graduation!]

A huge congratulations to Mikey and Sherry for putting in the hard work and making great strides!

A common misconception is that therapy dogs must be purebred dogs who have been bred to have excellent social and obedience skills, but this is simply not true.

Therapy dogs are often household pets with excellent temperaments who love attention and are gentle enough to be handled by children. Some of the best therapy dogs are mixed breeds who came from a shelter and just have so much love to give.


[Photo of Mikey after starting training just a few weeks after being adopted]

In fact, the SPCA of Texas has a program in which volunteers take their certified therapy dogs to hospitals and provide much needed comfort and cuddles.

If you are interested in learning more about this program, shoot an email to our volunteer coordinators at volunteer@spca.org.

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Pet First Aid Awareness, April 2017
Thursday, April 06, 2017

Spring brings with it warmer weather and warmer weather means there’s a lot more trouble for your pets to get into. It also means it’s storm season.

April just happens to be Pet First Aid Awareness Month, so today we’ll discuss some of the ways you can protect your pets and help them if something does go wrong.

Preparing for pet emergencies
Perhaps the best thing you can do to prepare yourself for pet-related medical emergencies is to purchase or put together a pet first aid kit. Such a kit should include:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (to induce vomiting if your pet ingests something poisonous)
  • Eye washing solution
  • Gauze squares and rolls
  • Flex wrap bandage
  • First aid cream (such as an antibiotic)
  • Benadryl or other pet-safe allergy medicines (see below for doses)

Pet first aid is not the most popular topic when it comes to the pet-lovers community, but it is still an important one. A pet first aid kit is essential for every pet owner because there will be times when you won’t have time to get your pet to the emergency vet first. There will be times when you yourself will have to take action immediately.

 

Such times include when your pet is choking and his airway is blocked (you’ll need to know pet CPR), when your dog has bloat (it’s fatal in 20 minutes), when your pet ingests a poisonous substance (can affect smaller pets in 20 minutes, depending on amount of poison ingested) or when your pet becomes seriously injured and needs immediate medical attention.

You should always have the phone number and address of the nearest emergency vet clinic nearby, preferably in your phone, but try to also practice driving there. This will help your brain go on autopilot when your stress levels peak during an emergency.



Protecting your pets

Spring season is allergy season and animals are just as prone to allergies as humans.

If you know that your pet has seasonal allergies, you should know that it is perfectly acceptable to give your pet human allergy meds, so long as they are pet-friendly and given in the proper doses.

Benadryl is the most commonly accepted allergy medicine for pets, but you should consult with your veterinarian before deciding if allergy meds are the right choice for your pet. Cats can be more difficult to medicate, so you might want to ask your
veterinarian for alternative methods.

If you do decide to treat your pets, you need to know the proper dosage. For dogs, an appropriate dosage would be 1 milligram per pound, 2-3 times per day. For cats, the accepted dosage is 2 milligrams per pound, every 8 hours or more.



Spring is also storm season, so you’ll want to be sure you include your pets in your family’s evacuation plan. Be sure to plan ahead of time where your family will evacuate to. If it is at all possible to take your pets with you, this is the best thing you can do.

If it isn’t possible to take your pets with you, look into emergency boarding with your local animal shelters or veterinarians’ offices. The SPCA of Texas has [something about 2121 emergency relief boarding]. For more information about this program, click here.

After planning where you will take your pets, put together a go-bag for them. This will need to include a collar and harness, a leash or carrier and food, water, bowls, copies of your pets’ medical records and their medicines, as well as current photos of your pets in case they become separated from you.


Resources

Emergency situations happen when we least expect them. That’s why it’s so important to be prepared beforehand.

If you would like more information on Pet First Aid Awareness, check out the American Red Cross’ page here. You can also find information on their pet CPR classes here.

For more information about the SPCA of Texas’ emergency relief center call 214-742-7722 or email spca@spca.org.

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Adoption Numbers for March 2017!!
Monday, April 03, 2017

The SPCA of Texas has a huge goal this year. In 2017, we are aiming to find homes for over 11,000 animals! This number is more than double our previous three years’ yearly adoption numbers.

Community support is vital to helping us reach this goal, as we can only reach it when more people open their hearts and homes to pet adoption.

If you are considering bringing a new furry friend into your home, or you know someone who is, please consider  adopting from the SPCA of Texas. You could play a huge role in helping us save more lives!

adoption, adoptions, spca of texas

[To see our adoptable animals, please visit www.spca.org/findapet.]

Without further ado, we’re excited to announce how many adoptions we’ve had this month, followed by our year to date numbers!*

Are you ready?

In March 2017, the SPCA of Texas adopted out a whopping 643 animals! Here’s the break down for you:

2 Birds

141 Cats

203 Dogs

5 Ferrets

32 Fowl

19 Goats

36 Guinea Pigs

1 Tarantula

59 Kittens

117 Puppies

4 Rabbits

8 Reptiles

6 Rodents

10 Sheep

In the year 2017, the SPCA of Texas has already adopted out approximately 1,639 animals! This number exceeds our YTD numbers from 2016 by approximately 580 animals!

*These numbers do not include animals who were adopted and returned who have not already been adopted again.

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Respect Your Cat Day, March 28th
Monday, March 27, 2017

Most people are familiar with what dogs do and don’t like, but what about the cats?!

In honor of Respect Your Cat Day on March 28th, we’ll share some tips about how to understand your feline friend and show her that you love her.

respect your cat dat

Most domestic cats live to be 12-15 years of age. During this robust lifetime, they will spend the majority of their time—about 13-14 hours a day—sleeping. If you want to respect your cat, you’ll let them sleep uninterrupted.

Furthermore, most cats dislike being pet or rubbed on their stomachs. As hunters, they don’t like having their most sensitive area exposed. If your cat regularly exposes her tummy to you, it’s a sign of trust and not an invitation to be rubbed.

respect your cat dat

In fact, most cats would actually prefer that you ask permission to pet them. You do this by offering them your hand and then letting them actually pet you by rubbing their head or body against your hand.

The biggest way you can show respect to your cat is to spend time with her. Many people know cats to be low maintenance pets, but they still have instincts that need to be satisfied.

Playing with your cat before meal times is a great way to satisfy her hunting instinct, as well as provide her some physical activity to keep her in shape.

respect your cat dat

You can also bond with your kitty by grooming her. Cats naturally groom themselves, but those with longer coats need help removing mats and tangles.

You also want to be sure that you aren’t over feeding your cat as this can lead to serious medical problems later in life.

respect your cat dat

You’ll definitely want to show respect by claiming ownership of her. This means making sure she has up to date identification tags and a microchip with your information should she become lost.

[If you need ID tags or a microchip for your cat, check out our clinic services!]

respect your cat dat

You’ll also want to get your cat spayed or neutered. This will inhibit his or her desire to roam the neighborhood looking for a mate, as well as prevent your female cat from having kittens. By spaying or neutering your cat, you will show respect to all cats in your community by helping to reduce the total number of unwanted and homeless cats.

[Call the SPCA of Texas at 214-742-7722 to schedule your cat’s surgery today.]

respect your cat dat

Start implementing some of these tips with your furry feline and let us know how your cat responds! We’d love to know your story. Share your experience with us on Facebook or Twitter (@spcaoftexas), and don’t forget the photos!!

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It's National Puppy Day!
Thursday, March 23, 2017

Bad breath, floppy ears, over-sized paws and very sharp teeth: these are things that are only considered cute when they belong to puppies!

March 23rd is National Puppy Day and who can resist the cuteness?! National Puppy Day was created to celebrate all the happiness that puppies bring to our lives, as well as to bring awareness to the importance of pet adoption.

Today, that’s just what we’ll do.

national puppy day

Where to find a puppy

The first and perhaps most important decision you can make regarding your new puppy is where you will find him.

A pet store is sure to have a good variety of purebreds, but the cost is actually greater than you think. Purebred dogs are typically very expensive, but the ones at pet stores are even more so due to the fact that their very lives are at stake.

This is because many pet stores stock their pups from irresponsible breeders and puppy mills. A puppy mill is defined as a breeding operation that neglects dogs for the sake of turning a profit. The dogs in their care are often malnourished and refused proper care in the form of lack of nutrition, grooming and socialization.

national puppy day

The puppies are usually taken from their mothers too soon and are often sick with some sort of disease or infection that ultimately affects their lifespan. Additionally, because the mothers are not properly socialized, many of the puppies do not know how to be a regular dog. This makes training hard for the new owner down the road.

When you adopt from a shelter, you are likely to face fewer problems with your potential new pup.

Many people are unaware of the fact that animal shelters are usually full of puppies. Spring brings with it lots of unexpected pregnancies and many of these litters wind up in the shelter. Puppies also make their way to the shelters around five months of age because they’ve outgrown their previous owners’ expectations. They are no longer cute or they are larger or more energetic than the owner thought they would be.

national puppy day

If you are considering bringing a new puppy into your home, consider adopting from a shelter. You will save the life of an animal who may otherwise be homeless or euthanized, plus your pup will come with some vaccines and a microchip already provided. He will also be neutered (or spayed, if he ends up being a she) and be deemed medically healthy enough for a new home. You will get to take the medical records home as proof.

Additionally, you will be well-informed about the animal’s history and what to expect of him as he grows. You will also receive training tips and tricks specific to your new pup. You should have very few surprises once you bring your new friend home.

national puppy day

In addition to all the perks your puppy will come with, you are likely to pay significantly less for a puppy at a shelter than you would from a pet store or breeder!

Here at the SPCA of Texas, your savings are even greater. This is because each puppy that we place for adoption goes home spayed or neutered with a microchip and is current on his or her age-appropriate vaccinations!

[If you are interested in adopting, check out our adoptable pets here.]

Preparing for a new puppy

Before you bring your puppy home, make sure your home is puppy-proof. Puppies have an uncanny ability to place their snouts in places they don’t belong. This can be a very bad thing when there are harmful objects involved, or if you value your possessions.

national puppy day

To best protect your new puppy, place all your dangerous chemicals and cleaners out of harm’s way. Lock them in cabinets or store them above ground level where your new friend couldn’t possibly reach them. The same goes for small items that your pup could accidentally chew and swallow.

Be sure to also pick anything up off the floor that you don’t want your puppy destroying. If you can’t remove something from the floor (i.e., furniture), be sure to have a way to limit your pup’s access to these things.

Like babies, puppies of all ages explore the world with their mouths. They want to know how everything smells and tastes. Your shoes, clothes, gadgets and furniture are no exception.

Be mindful of the fact that despite your best efforts, your pup will probably still chew on something you don’t want him to.

national puppy day

Take time to consider whether or not you can really live with a creature that might destroy your stuff. If you decide you can’t, then a puppy is not for you and there is no shame in admitting it.

Before bringing your puppy home is also the time to stock up on food, toys and training materials that your new friend will need. Instead of punishing your puppy for chewing on something inappropriate, try setting him up for success by catching him before he destroys it.

Have a couple of different chew toys and treat-dispensing toys on hand. You can give these to your pup when you notice his urge to chew. This redirects him from destructive chewing to appropriate chewing and keeps you from needing to punish him.

national puppy day

You’ll also want to purchase a crate or baby gates so that your puppy will have a safe space to relax while you cannot give him your full attention. This will prevent him from being able to reach anything he shouldn’t chew on while you’re away. This will also help with housetraining as puppies typically do not like to sleep near their own feces.

Puppies have very specific nutritional requirements, so you’ll want to purchase food that meets the requirements of your new puppy.

If you don’t yet know which type of puppy you’ll be bringing home from the shelter (wink, wink), don’t worry! Your adoption specialist will be able to provide you with the information you need and potentially provide you with a small bag of the food that your puppy was eating at the shelter.

If you happen to be purchasing your puppy from a responsible breeder, contact them beforehand and ask for a recommendation. They might also be willing to provide you with a small bag of the food that the puppy was eating while in their care.

national puppy day

Bringing a puppy home

Now the fun begins! You are officially responsible for another life and you want to do the best you possibly can. Where do you start?

When you bring home your new best friend, immediately schedule her first veterinary appointment. Puppies have weak immune systems and need the boost of their first vaccines at around 6-8 weeks of age.

If you adopted your puppy from the shelter, he will likely already have this first round of vaccines. You’ll need to check with your breeder about these vaccines if you did not adopt.

national puppy day

Most people don’t know that puppies actually need about 3-5 rounds of vaccines during their first year of life. Despite popular belief, many dogs can still catch viruses such as parvo and distemper as adults, especially if they were not vaccinated as puppies.

While you’re at the vet, ask him about all the upcoming vaccines and tests that your puppy will need so that you can plan to bring your new puppy in to receive them.

Also be sure to have your puppy’s microchip updated with all of your information attached to the chip so that your puppy can be returned to you if she gets lost. This might have been done for you at the shelter, depending on where you’re located.

national puppy day

If you bought your puppy from a breeder, you’ll need to have a microchip inserted with your information attached to it.

You’ll also want to set up an appointment to have your pup spayed or neutered so that you won’t have any unexpected litters later on down the road. This will also help prevent your puppy from developing undesirable behaviors such as aggression or breaking free from you to roam the neighborhood.

No matter where you purchased your puppy, you’ll also want to have identification tags made in case one of your neighbors finds her. A microchip is important because ID tags can fall off, but tags act as a first line of defense if your pup manages to keep them on and stay close to home.

[If you need affordable, low-cost clinic services for your new puppy, view our clinic services here.]

national puppy day

Puppy tips and tricks

There is so much that goes into caring for a new puppy and we here at the SPCA of Texas want to help you be as prepared as possible.

That being said, we have provided a list of resources for you in the event that you need some help at any point in the adoption process, from deciding whether or not a puppy is right for you to training your pup to be a model citizen.

Resources for new pet parents:

  1. Is a puppy right for me? à http://www.americanhumane.org/fact-sheet/is-a-dog-right-for-you/
  2. What type of puppy should I choose? à http://www.animalplanet.com/breed-selector/dog-breeds.html
  3. Available animals at the SPCA of Texas à http://spcafindapet.com/
  4. Pet Care Tips à https://www.spca.org/petcaretips
  5. Training your new puppy à https://www.spca.org/petuniversity
  6. Clinic services for your new puppy à https://www.spca.org/clinicservices

Be social with us! Like our Facebook page for more news from our organization and follow us on Pinterest for more pet care tips and adoptable animals!

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Three tips to make bath time more fun
Monday, March 20, 2017

Spring tends to be wet, which means that mud is plentiful. While you and your family may enjoy good, clean fun, Fido might have other plans. 

If you find that your dog is getting dirtier than usual, you might need to improve your bathing skills. Today, we have some tips and tricks for you.



Make it a positive experience

The bathtub should be a fun place. This means that you will want to get your pup used to being in it and having a good time.

Start by encouraging your dog into the tub with toys and treats. Let him play, eat and have fun in the tub. If he seems a little uncertain about staying in it, try laying a towel or non-slip mat on the bottom for stability.

Also try exercising Fido before bath time. He will be more relaxed and less likely to jump all over the place when he’s tired.

Make it efficient

To make bath time go by faster, try having all of your rubber duckies in a row before you start. Open all the bottles and supplies you’ll be using and place them within arm’s reach. Grab extra towels, even if you don’t think you need them. Have plenty of your dog’s favorite treats and toys on hand.

Be sure to close the bathroom door so that he can’t escape into the house while he’s soaking wet. The last thing you need is a wild wet dog chase!

bathe a dog

Make it pain-free

Make bath time even less painful for your pooch by brushing his fur beforehand. Get all the knots and tangles out because the water will only make them worse. This is especially important for dogs with long coats and undercoats.

To improve your experience, be sure to trim your dog’s nails beforehand. This will really help you if your dog tends to freak out and try desperately to escape.

Bonus tip: Leave it to the pros

If your dog just won’t sit still or behave for his bathing routine at home, leave him in the hands of the professionals. Your dog might not like his trips to the groomers, but it might be easier for you to make the journey there more  enjoyable than it is to bathe him at home.

SPCA of Texas, pet care tips, bath time

For more pet care tips, check out our Pinterest page or our tips page at www.spca.org/petcaretips.


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National Pet Poison Prevention Month
Thursday, March 16, 2017

Have you ever been scared that your pet got into something she shouldn’t have? Have you ever dreaded that thought that you’ll have to take your pet to the emergency vet because she might be suffering from poisoning? 

The saying goes that curiosity killed the cat, but this is just as true for dogs if not more so. Our pets are curious about almost everything, especially our food, plants and medicines. The best thing you can do to prevent your pet from  becoming poisoned is to limit her access to any of these three things. 

March is National Animal Poison Prevention Month, so today we’ll cover some of the most common poisons you can protect your pets from.

dogs, poison, prevention

Poisonous Foods

Obviously, chocolate is going to top this list. Of all the common foods we consume, this is the most well-known toxin. Chocolate contains high amounts of theobromine, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination and, after some other horrible symptoms, death. Dark chocolate contains higher amounts of theobromine, making it more dangerous than milk or white chocolate.

Other common, but less well-known toxic foods include: 

Coffee/Caffeine These products, as well as chocolate, contain methylzanthines (MX, for short). MX is found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. It can also cause vomiting and diarrhea, excessive thirst and urination, as well as seizures, tremors and hyperactivity.

Raisins and Grapes – Scientists aren’t quite sure what the toxin is that causes harm to our pets, but research suggests that these cause kidney failure in pets who ingest them.

Citrus and coconuts – These foods contain high amounts of citric and other oils that, when consumed in large quantities, can cause serious harm to your pets. In small doses, these foods merely cause irritation to the gastrointestinal tract. Coconut water, however, is high in potassium and should not be given to pets at
all.

dogs, poison, prevention

Macadamia and other nuts – Macadamia nuts can cause weakness, depression and vomiting in dogs. Symptoms will begin roughly 12 hours after ingestion and may last up to 48 hours or more afterwards. Nuts - including almonds, pecans and walnuts - contain high amounts of oils and fats. The fats can cause vomiting and diarrhea, and potentially pancreatitis in pets.

Onions, Garlic and Chives – Popular toppings for your baked potatoes, these vegetables and herbs can cause serious gastrointestinal discomfort for your pets, particularly cats. If consumed in large enough quantities, they could also cause red blood cell damage to any pet.

Salt or Salty Foods – Too much salt in your pets’ diet can lead to excessive thirst and urination, or even sodium ion poisoning. We know the negative effects that salt can have on our human bodies over time. The same concept applies to our pets, except that they already generally live shorter life spans.

dogs, poison, prevention

Alcohol – Despite its place at the bottom of this list, alcohol is extremely dangerous for pets. In fact, it’s so toxic that it should never be given to pets. Just as in humans, alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death in our pets.

Not included on the list is an artificial sweetener called Xylitol. It is used as a sugar substitute in many gums and  candies. If you are a fan of sugar-free food products, be sure to keep these away from your pets as well. When ingested in large quantities, Xylitol can produce liver failure in pets.

Outdoor Dangers

With the warmer weather comes more opportunities for your pets to explore the great outdoors. While fresh air is good for everyone, some plants and the pesticides and fertilizers that sustain them are extremely dangerous for your pets to consume.

The most common toxic plants found in homes across Texas include:

Lilies – Plants known as true lilies are among the most toxic to pets, particularly among cats. It has been estimated that the mortality rate for pets who have ingested lilies is nearly 100%. Ingesting any part of the plant, even the water in the vase that holds them, can cause kidney failure within 48 hours. If you suspect that your pet has ingested any part of a lily, call your veterinarian immediately.

      dogs, poison, prevention

Sago palms – These are not true palms, but they are also among the most dangerous plants for pets. They are very common landscaping plants and as such, are easy for most pets to access. This is unfortunate if you have a pet with any sort of curiosity at all because every part of the plant is toxic, especially the seeds. Your pet could merely
chew on a branch without fully ingesting a part of it and still be contaminated.

Black locust trees – Also known as False Acacias, every part of this tree is poisonous for your pets, especially the bark and shoots. Research shows that 1 in 10 pets who have been contaminated have either died or been euthanized due to the potency of the toxins.

Yew – Another popular plant in Texas, this shrub is used for landscaping. Every part of this plant is toxic, especially for cats and dogs, including the berries. Toxins from this plant affect your pets’ brain and nervous system, as well as their cardiovascular system.

Other toxic plants include Caladium (aka Elephant Ears), Oleander, Larkspur (a wildflower) and Mistletoe. Despite popular  belief, Poinsettias are not actually toxic to pets but they do cause irritation to your pet’s primary organ systems when ingested.


dogs, poison, prevention

Media source

If you keep any plants in your home, do your research and make sure they are not bad for you or your pets. If you discover that they can be toxic for pets, do your best to place them in areas that your pets cannot access or perhaps give them to a friend without pets.

If you are going to allow your animals outside, make sure that you are supervising them, at least until you know they are not ingesting plants or fertilizer. If you can’t do so, be sure to limit their access to your plant life. It can be tricky to know which plants and fertilizers are bad for your pets, especially if you aren’t familiar with the plant life in your area.

Medications and Chemicals

Finally, make sure that all of your medications, cleaning supplies and other chemically-composed materials are locked away in cabinets or drawers where your pets are not able to get to them.

Animals process and eliminate drugs differently than humans do. For this reason, the majority of medicines that we use can cause gastrointestinal irritation and liver or kidney failure in our pets. This includes, but is not limited to:

  1. Ibuprofen and acetaminophen
  2. Vitamins and supplements
  3. Pepto Bismol
  4. Aspirin or baby Aspirin (overdosing)
  5. Nasal decongestants
  6. Topical creams and ointments

dogs, poison, prevention 

Media source

Household products can also cause harm to our pets, primarily in the form of neurological problems (seizures) or digestive upset (diarrhea, vomiting). These include, but are not limited to:

  1. Petroleum jelly
  2. Lotions
  3. Body washes or soaps
  4. Breath fresheners (contain Xylitol or other artificial sweeteners)
  5. Mosquito repellant

Resources

From the moment your pet swallows something toxic, she has anywhere from 20 minutes to a couple of hours before symptoms of the poisoning start to appear.

Always be sure to have your veterinarian’s number or the number of an emergency vet on hand in the event that your pet  manages to consume something that is potentially dangerous for him. You can also call the Animal Poison Control Center phone number at (888) 426-44-35. Assistance is available 24/7.

For non-emergency care, the SPCA of Texas has three spay/neuter and wellness clinics located in North Texas (1 in McKinney, 2 in Dallas) that provide low-cost spay/neuter surgeries and wellness care to pets of people who could not otherwise afford these services. If you need assistance, please call our Customer Care Center, Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm, at 214-742-7722.

For more information on pet toxins, you can visit the SPCA of Texas’ Pinterest board, Healthy, Happy Pets. You can also visit our Pet Care Tips page at www.spca.org/petcaretips/.



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The Line of Duty: Honoring K-9 Veterans with Heart
Monday, March 13, 2017

Most animal lovers are aware of how amazing dogs are. They’re smart, loving, funny and part of the family. Dogs are also capable of incredible athletic feats and loyalty, which is probably why the U.S. government decided that they could also be soldiers.

soldier, therapy dog, service dog, labrador retriever

Although it's not allowed, it's not uncommon for soldiers to adopt stray dogs they find overseas.


National K9 Veterans Day is celebrated on March 13th, which is the official birthday of the US Army K9 Corps. Today, we thought we’d briefly share the stories of 5 of the most famous K9 Veterans in history!

Sergeant Stubby

Perhaps the most famous of the early war dogs was Stubby, an American Pit Bull Terrier. He was found on the Yale campus as a stray in 1917 where he was informally adopted by Corporal John Conroy. During his time as a soldier overseas in World War I, Stubby participated in 17 battles and became famous when he captured a German spy by his rear! Sgt. Stubby lived to be about 11 years old.

sergeant stubby, pit bull dog

 

Smoky

Smoky was a Yorkshire Terrier who was found as a puppy in a foxhole in Papa New Guinea. She was adopted by the William Wynne who trained her to do tricks for the entertainment of the officers in his unit. She is most notably known for her service to the Air Force during World War II. She was able to run a communication wire through 70 feet of underground piping, saving construction time and keeping the soldiers out of harm’s way in the process. She continued to entertain upon her return to the U.S. and lived to be 14 years of age.

smoky, war dog, yorkie

Chips

Chips was a Collie/German Shepherd/Husky mix who was perhaps the most decorated K9 soldier of World War II. After being donated by his owner to the military, he served time in Germany, France, North Africa and Sicily. He is most well-known for his infiltration of an Italian machine-gun nest and the subsequent capture of 10 enemy Italian soldiers alive! He returned home to his owner in 1945 a war hero and lived to be about 11 years old.

chips the war dog, german shepherd

 

Nemo

Nemo was a German Shepherd who served in Vietnam. He was extremely close with his handler, 2nd Class Bob Thorneburg. Nemo is most notably remembered for his incredible courage and dedication to his work. After warning his handler of a Viet Cong ambush, he and Thorneburg were both wounded. Nemo continued to attack the Viet Cong soldiers, giving Thorneburg the time he needed to call for reinforcements. Nemo then threw himself over Thorneburg and protected him until he was pried away by a U.S. veterinarian who treated his wounds. Nemo was the first K9 soldier to be retired for his wounds. After returning to the U.S., he lived in a private kennel near the veterinary office until he died at the age of 11.

nemo the war dog, german shepherd

Kaiser

Kaiser was yet another German Shepherd who served in Vietnam. From the moment he met his handler,  Marine Lance Cpl. Alfredo Salazar, the two were an inseparable team. Kaiser and Salazar participated in more than 30 combat patrols and saw 12 major operations through to the end. During one operation, the U.S. troops were ambushed by the Viet Cong and unfortunately, Kaiser was hit in the initial barrage. Faithful to the end, he died trying to lick Cpl. Salazar’s hand. He was buried under a tree in his platoon’s camp, which was thereafter named Camp Kaiser in his honor.

kaiser, war dog, german shepherd

 

K9 veterans have a much richer and broader history than we could give credit to in a single post. But we absolutely love that such inspiring and dedicated dogs can come from anywhere.

Both Stubby and Smoky were found and adopted by the troops they later went on the serve next to. Chips was
a mutt from the country who worked alongside someone who wasn’t his owner. Nemo and Kaiser were both dedicated to the military specifically for their positions.

Dogs are capable of so much more than we everyday civilians ask of them. Their loyalty and dedication to their mission is intense and heartwarming all at the same time.

If you are considering adopting a dog of your own, either as a service/therapy dog or a family pet, please consider adopting from the SPCA of Texas. Our doors are open to anyone who wants to give a homeless  animal a second chance at life.

You can find our adoptable animals on our Findapet page and see adoption updates on our Facebook page!

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PUPDATE: Two Korean Dogs Living Their Happily Ever After
Thursday, March 09, 2017

This week, we received the sweetest and most uplifting update from the couple who adopted two of our Korean dogs back in July. According to their new dad, Ellie (formerly Nadine) and Cooper (formerly Felton) are doing great!

[If you missed the original story about the SPCA of Texas’ Korean dogs, read this article or check out our Press Release first.]

 

Korean dogs
Cooper (formerly Felton) while he was in the shelter.

He says,

“Both have come so far that it is amazing. Ellie, although still wary of people, allows us to pet her and scratch her back and belly as well as do some playing. She still loves to eat and may be growing a little tummy.  She allows us to cuddle, although it's not reciprocated, and I have even laid my head on her without her getting up to leave. Although she remains a work in progress, she has come so very far and grows in confidence and love each day.

"Cooper is now unrecognizable. He constantly has his tail raised high over his back and communicates with that and his nose. He hasn't required a leash in months and is one of the first ones to go outside. He loves to be out at night and if we sneak out without his knowledge, he can be seen running and jumping across the yard by himself. Oh, the value of freedom! He has gotten to be quite a lover, always wanting to lay close and rest his head on your leg or stomach. When he wants to go out, which is every chance he gets, he will push the doors open and wait by the back door. He has latched onto [his new mom] and that is his person. She often says how happy she is that we were able to get both dogs, being fearful that someone else would have relegated them to the back yard since they weren't ‘dog like’ when we got them."

Korean dogs

Ellie (formerly Nadine) looking happy and carefree.

He then goes on to say,

“We have allowed them to grow at their own pace and have kept them with us at all times; however, it is getting time for them to be taken out into the world to see what else is there. We have been hesitant to do this until they feel safe with us (we don't want them to revert to their old ways). That part of their growth is coming. I moved some furniture and Cooper didn't want to go into the room that wasn't familiar but love and coaxing finally won out.


"People have said that these animals were lucky to have us but I think that we are just as lucky to have them. It is inspiring to see the transformation and know that they can finally be a dog and both give and get the love and attention they deserve.


"Thanks to all at the [SPCA of Texas] for your wonderful work and allowing us the opportunity to raise such beautiful babies.”

Korean dogs

Cooper in his new home with Ellie and his toys.

If that isn’t just the sweetest thing you’ve ever heard!! 

 

We absolutely love hearing heartfelt stories such as these from our adopters. If you have ever adopted an animal from the SPCA of Texas, please feel free to share your updates with us at any time!

 

You can share them to our Facebook page or shoot an email to kkerr@spca.org

 

Don’t forget the pictures!

 

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Professional Pet Sitters Week 2017, March 5-11
Monday, March 06, 2017

This year, March 5th to 11th is celebrated as Professional Pet Sitters’ week. Today, we’ll discuss what a professional pet sitter does and why it’s an excellent idea to hire one when you plan to travel without your fur-babies.

What’s the difference between a pet sitter and a professional pet sitter?


Many people believe that anyone can be a pet sitter. This is because a pet sitter’s primary job is to provide companionship and care to your pets while you are away. The job also includes feeding, grooming and walking or playing with the animals in their care. And let’s not forget about poop scooping. 

While it is true that almost anyone can be a pet sitter, only specially trained people may be professional pet sitters. In addition to the tasks above, a professional pet sitter is trained to perform animal first aid and CPR, as well as administer medications of all types. They might also be able to help train your pet while you are away from home, or at least continue teaching the basic commands.


Experienced professional pet sitters might also be able to provide specialized care for animals who suffer from particular behavioral issues. These include, but are not limited to, separation anxiety, hyperactivity or any form of  destructive behavior. 

Professional pet sitters are also insured and bonded and will conduct their business as though it is an actual business. They might specialize in one or two types of animals or in servicing specific clientele. They will also use contracts and  keep all of your and your pet’s information on hand in a client file. 

They will have proof of insurance and be able to provide you with references. They will potentially have a website for you to view that states all of their services and experience, along with all the contact information you need in order to get in touch with them.

Many professional pet sitters will place ads on reputable pet-themed websites or in reputable pet-friendly locations. But you can’t assume that because a person has an advertisement listed on a national pet-sitting website, they are a professional pet sitter. You always want to do your research. 

If their business is profitable enough, some professional pet sitters even have sub-contracted employees to help them with their workload. There are a few professional pet sitters who operate alone, servicing a small area near their own home. However, many pet sitters become professionals by working with large pet sitting organizations until they feel they have learned the business well enough to operate alone.

Why should I hire a professional pet sitter?

In a nutshell, you should hire a professional pet sitter for your peace of mind. You should be able to enjoy a vacation or trip out of town without worrying whether your pets—or your home—will be safe.

Because you know that a professional pet sitter is specially trained, you can rest easy knowing your pet is having the time of his life while you are away. Because the pet sitter is insured and bonded, you can trust that if anything does go wrong, the professional sitter will have the resources to set it right. 

Additionally, a professional is running a business and a business runs on excellent references and recommendations.  The professional pet sitter that you choose is going to care about the service she provides and will go out of her way to make sure your pet and your home are in pristine condition when you return. 

The chances are also high that your professional sitter has a website or social media presence. This means you could receive daily updates on your pets, if that’s something you decided was important to you.

So how do I find the perfect pet sitter for me?

My pet has specific health needs and medications:  You’ll want to find a sitter that will be able to care for him in the appropriate manner. Many sitters are not 100% comfortable administering medications to pets. This is especially true if your pet is a biter or otherwise causes a fuss when it’s time to take her medicine. The perfect pet sitter for you is the one who can calmly, reliably and efficiently administer your pet’s meds when she needs them. When searching for a sitter, be sure to check their references and ask them about their experience with medicating pets.

My pet is extremely hyperactive: Does Fido run circles around your yard all day? Your ideal pet sitter is fit, active and willing to spend an hour or two walking, jogging, playing with or otherwise exercising your pet every day that you are away. It’s likely that your energetic pet also has some behavior issues. If this is the case, you will want to find a sitter who is not only active, but confident in their ability to control your pet while out and about. You will want to confirm
that they live an active lifestyle and observe them interacting with your pet when he is performing his most hyper behavior.

My pet is very young: Young pets can be particularly difficult to work with as they still have so much to learn about  living in a human home. When searching for a pet sitter, make sure to ask if they are comfortable working with young pets. Some older pet sitters are not willing to work with younger animals because of the work involved. Some younger pet sitters don’t have the experience necessary to provide proper care. Whatever the case, be sure the sitter that you choose is very aware of your house rules, your schedule and your preferred method of training. Young pets are constantly learning and these will all play a vital role in how well your new puppy or kitten, etc. fit into your new  home.

My pet is antisocial/uncomfortable with strangers: If Fluffy isn’t a fan of strangers, it’s likely that she will be fearful or timid around whichever sitter you choose. This also means that she could become aggressive towards the sitter when they enter your home. You need a pet sitter who understands how to work with fearful or timid animals, as well as  follow standard animal safety regulations. The last thing you want is for your pet to attack a human, but you will need to hire a pet sitter who is insured just in case. You might also like to hire a sitter who commonly works with shy or fearful animals and who offers to work with your pet to overcome this. If you know without a shadow of a doubt
that your pet is aggressive with strangers, you should start by doing the responsible thing and have someone your pet is familiar with be the caretaker while you are away.

My pet is exotic/aquatic/uncommon: Many professional pet sitters specialize in working with cats and dogs as they are some of the most common animals kept as pets. If you happen to have small mammals, reptiles, birds or fish, you will need to look for a pet sitter who can accommodate such animals. For most sitters, caring for small mammals is not that big a leap from cats or dogs. However, say you have a hamster or bunny that bites. You will need to find a sitter who is more comfortable working with this. If you have reptiles and they will need to feed or have their living spaces cleaned while you are away, you are better off hiring a professional who specializes in caring for reptiles. The same goes for exotic fish. 

I can’t afford a professional pet sitter: As much as you love your pets, sometimes the perfect pet sitter is simply the one you can afford. This is especially true if you’ve planned a long, expensive vacation and just want to keep your pets at home without breaking the bank. If this is the case, it is perfectly acceptable to call on your neighbor or a local teen who needs some extra cash. Your pet will still benefit from the companionship and care that the pet sitter can provide. Your pet will also benefit from being able to stay at home while you are gone instead of being thrust into a strange and unfamiliar place. 

Where can I find more information?

Because the pet sitting industry has exploded in the last decade, professional pet sitters today often choose to be a part of one of two professional pet sitting associations.


The first is the National Association of Professional Pet Sitters (NAPPS). The second organization is called Pet Sitters  International (PSI). On both of these websites, you can locate professional sitters near you and find out more about what types of trainings, etc. professional pet sitters have access to.


If you have questions or concerns about this post in particular, you can contact the SPCA of Texas at 214-742-7722 or at spca@spca.org

Be sure to check out our Facebook page to see updates from the organization and follow us on Pinterest for more cool tips and tricks on how to care for your pets!