Monday, October 29, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Originally posted on 10/30/2011.

Thanks to everyone who came out to our Howl-O-Ween event and helped to make it such a success!

Keeping your animals safe during Halloween requires just a bit of extra forethought. But by following these thirteen easy and common-sense suggestions, you can make sure that Halloween is fun and stress-free for every member of your family.

    1. Many children can be frightened by overly friendly dogs, and the door opening and closing provides a great opportunity for curious pets to slip outside. Unless they are extremely well behaved, don’t allow your pets to come to the door with you. Instead, keep your dogs and cats in a quiet, secure room with food, water, litter, toys, and a comfortable place to relax.

    2. If the sound of the doorbell is frightening or stimulating to your dog, consider taping a sign over your doorbell asking trick-or-treaters to knock instead.

    3. Urban legends suggest that cats - and black cats specifically - are in danger of being targeted by violence during late October. In reality, the risk of increased danger has been exaggerated. However, it certainly won’t harm your indoor/outdoor cats to be kept inside around Halloween. Most cats won’t be thrilled to be outside amidst the chaos of trick-or-treating anyway.

    4. Chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats, due to the presence of Theobromine and, to a lesser extent, caffeine. Both compounds are stimulants that can cause nausea, vomiting, and even death. Keep candy bowls out of your animals’ reach and make sure your kids’ goody bags are also untouchable. Some components of sugar-free candies are toxic as well. If your pet has ingested something and you’re in doubt about whether or not it’s safe, call your vet.

    5. Decorative corn and pumpkins can also cause stomach upset if consumed, and these decorations should be kept in areas where your pets can’t access them.

    6. Animals should be supervised around decorations. Ensure that your pets aren’t nibbling on wires or other trimmings. Do not leave animals alone with lit candles.

    7. Having a party? It’s always a good idea to keep your pets out of the action in the same quiet room described above.

    8. This is an obvious one, but do not feed pets alcohol or other intoxicants.

    9. Pet costumes are adorable! But before you take your dog out on the town, try on the costume and make sure that it’s comfortable for your pet. And if your animal really doesn’t want to wear it, don’t force them. 

    10. While your pet is wearing a costume, keep an eye on them to make sure that they are safe - that they aren’t eating the costume, that they can see properly, and that they remain comfortable. If in doubt, take it off.

    11. Some dogs will love to come trick-or-treating, while some will not enjoy the fuss and commotion. If your dog accompanies you, they should be properly leashed and should act like good citizens - no barking or jumping on kids.

    12. It’s a good idea to have reflective patches on your children’s costumes so that cars can see them. Similarly, put reflective patches on your dog’s harness, collar, or leash if they come trick-or-treating with you.

    13. Whether they are staying inside or coming along, dogs and cats should all wear proper identification with your contact information, just in case they wander off. Take this opportunity to look into ID microchips as well. This is a tiny electronic ID inserted under the pet’s skin. They are relatively cheap, painless, and can can help reunite you with your pet if they become lost. Ask your vet for more info about ID microchips.

    And don’t forget to have fun! Happy Halloween from HSEC!

    Friday, October 26, 2012

    Pitt Partners

    "What does it matter if your shelter is no-kill if your community is still euthanizing?"

    That was the question asked of HSEC's executive director, Callie Richardson, at a conference last year. At HSEC, we pride ourselves on our commitment to operating as a no-kill shelter, where residents are euthanized only in rare cases of extreme aggression or extreme illness or injury.

    But as a whole, Eastern North Carolina has a very high euthanasia rate, and Pitt County is no exception. HSEC is not above or beyond this problem just because we are a no-kill shelter. We can work to lower euthanasia rates, but we can't do it alone.

    Luckily, we don't have to. In December 2011 HSEC joined the Pitt County Animal Shelter and Spay Today to formally create the Pitt Partners, an inter-agency collaboration dedicated to reducing the euthanasia rate in our community.

    This decision was spurred by what initially seemed like a lost opportunity. In 2011 the three groups applied jointly for an ASPCA grant that targets funds to lower county euthanasia rates. The grant's goal is to see a 72% live release rate - right now, our county figure is below 50%. Live release includes adoption, return to owner, and transfer to a no-kill rescue.

    We came very close to receiving the grant money, but finished as the first runner up. The experience of applying for the grant forged a partnership between the three groups that none wanted to give up. In 2012, Pitt Partners began to meet monthly. By working together, we will work to combat the single biggest killer of cats and dogs: overpopulation.

    Pitt Partners is committed to effective spay and neuter campaigns and other operations to stop overpopulation in Pitt County. As part of this initiative, HSEC has changed its intake policy so that 70% of our intake comes from local shelters, especially Pitt County Animal Shelter. 30% of our intake is surrender by the owner. Instead of assisting several nearby counties, we have changed our focus so that Pitt County is at the top of our priority list.

    Sometimes different animal welfare groups within a community can feel like they are competing against each other. But we all have one goal, and the animals are far better served if we work together.

    Our first fundraiser is the Howl-O-Ween fall festival this Sunday at Alice F. Keene park from 2-5pm. We have inside activities planned in case of bad weather, so please stop by and help us work towards our goal...

    Until they all have a home.

    Wednesday, October 24, 2012

    (Almost) Wordless Wednesday - A Cat's Life

    Pretty calico Sadie (AKA Butterscotch) lies in the sun. Her new brother Mr Oreo is the handsome black and white cat. Sadie was adopted in March by the Carter family, who drove all the way from Charlotte to get her! She took a little while to adjust, but now, as you can see, she's a part of the family. Read about her hoarding tendencies on the family's blog here.

    Monday, October 22, 2012


    Gather all your wee ghosties and goblins! HOWL-O-WEEN is coming!

    When: Sunday, October 28th, 2-5 PM
    Where: Alice F. Keene Park, 4561 County Home Rd, Greenville

    What: a fall carnival and fundraiser benefiting HSEC and the Pitt County Animal Shelter. Our first joint fundraiser! Get up to the minute information on our Facebook event page.

    The pet costume contest is our featured event, taking place at 3:00. We will pick a winner from the categories Best Couple (animal/human or animal/animal), Most Creative, Scariest, and Funniest. Registration for the contest begins at 2:00 and is 5$ per entry. Each winner receives a prize, so get those costumes ready to go!

    Looking for a deal? Check out our pet supplies yard sale (new and gently used items). Then swing by the silent auction, where you can bid on services like a 30 minute massage certificate from Kinetic Physical Therapy and Wellness, 2 nights boarding at the "Five Paw" Hoffman Haus Pet Resort and 4 football tickets to the ECU/Houston game, among others!

    We'll have plenty of activities for kids as well, including color-your-own trick or treat bags, and paint-your-own photo frames. Put those frames to good use with a visit to the photobooth by Funpoochfoto. Spaces for the booth are limited, so if you want to reserve a spot, be sure to register online ahead of time. Check out photographer Ana Maria Hernandez-Barrios' Howl-o-Ween Pinterest page for costume and picture inspiration.

    Vendors and businesses in attendance will include Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital, New Levels Dog Training, Tenth Street Animal Hospital, Critter Creations by Betty, East Carolina Veterinary Service, Banfield Pet Hospital, Loreta's Frozen Yogurt (with free doggie fro-yo samples!!), and MORE!

    If you're hungry after all that fun, stop by our bake sale. Interested in donating items to the bake sale? Contact

    We want to help keep your pets safe. Spay Today will provide a microchipping service for $25 dollars. If your pet is ever lost, this chip can help bring them home. Check out our post on microchipping for more information.

    And of course, we'll have plenty of adorable, adoptable pets at the adoption stand. Dogs from HSEC and Great Dane Rescue Alliance will be there hoping to meet their forever family. If you're looking for a new addition to your home, you might just fall in love. For every HSEC adoption, we will transfer one animal from Pitt County Animal Shelter.

    Are you excited yet? We are! We can't wait to see you there!

    Wednesday, October 17, 2012

    Wordless Wednesday - Caption Me!

    Help us caption this picture! Leave us a message telling us what you think this little cutie is saying.

    Monday, October 15, 2012

    Foster Tails - Diane and Blue

    Animals at the Humane Society are well cared for, with lots of TLC from the staff and volunteers.  But it’s still not home.  Some of our temporary guests just don’t do well at the facility, and that’s where our group of compassionate foster parents come in.  These volunteers open their homes to cats and dogs in need of a little extra attention, and we’d love to see these deserving animals go from their foster homes to their forever homes. Here are the stories of two of our waiting pets.

    Diane is a four year old black and white cat who was brought to us by an owner who had “too many cats”.  She was often too nervous to come out of her box at the Humane Society, but blossomed in her foster home.  Her foster mom reports, “She's completely settled at the apartment now and I feel like she's my shadow whenever I'm here because as soon as I get home she runs to the door to greet me and she's always following me from room to room.”

    Diane loves her toys, especially a stuffed mouse that she throws into the air and chases.  She’s become quite the talker, and loves sitting by the window, watching the world go by while she is safe indoors.  She sleeps with her foster mom, and rubs against her legs with her purr motor running. 
    In her cage, Diane was such a scaredy-cat that she was easy to overlook, but now that she’s in a home, she’s a loving, playful kitty who loves to be loved.  She has told us that she does not want to go back to a cage, but really wants a home of her own. 

    Blue, a pit bull mix, has had a rough life, but is a survivor who’s ready to experience a lifetime of love.  In May, a car drove up to the Humane Society, pushed Blue out, and sped off.   Clearly in a lot of pain, Blue was immediately taken to the vet, where he was found to have several broken bones – one was the humerus, the long bone that connects the shoulder to the forearm – and the other was his tail, which had to be amputated.

    After spending eight weeks in a splint, and many costly vet visits later, Blue has healed.  He was fortunate to find a foster mom who’s an athletic trainer and worked on his rehabilitation.  He loves to run and go for long walks.  Despite his cruel treatment, he’s a people dog, and would do great with any age humans.  He loves to cuddle, and is happy to join his foster mom on the couch or in her bed.  He’s made friends easily at the dog park, and would do well with a doggy sibling.

    Blue’s hobbies include playing catch, tennis balls, ice cubes, sunbathing, and chasing bugs.  His foster mom reports, “He is perfectly crate trained, all I have to do is tell him to go to his home and he'll go lay down in his crate.”  

    We’re hoping the next step in Blue’s journey is home, where he can continue to run and play as he so deserves.  He’d love to meet you, either at his foster home or at the HSEC facility!

    Friday, October 12, 2012

    What's Next for the Blog?

    Thanks for everyone who entered our first giveaway! With the help of a random number generator, we've selected a winner.

    And appropriately enough, the number that came up was number 1! Congratulations to Lynette Weaver, the first commenter to correctly identify our muddy resident as Tom. Lynette, you can stop by our facility to claim your prize. How exciting!

    It's Tom!
    Tom is a young male with a gorgeous brindled coat, who loves chasing balls (and maybe also digging a hole from time to time). Come visit Tom during our public hours, Friday-Sunday 2-5.

    We're proud of what we've accomplished so far on the blog, but we have no intentions to rest on our laurels. We want to hear from you - what do you like about the blog? What do you want to see more of? Complete our poll, and maybe even leave us a suggestion in the comments. We want this space to be one of your primary sources of HSEC news, and a solid resource for information about animal welfare, health, and happiness.

    What are your favorite kinds of blog posts? 

    Wednesday, October 10, 2012

    Happy Birthday To Us!

    Hold onto your hats, folks! The HSEC blog is turning ONE! October 11th is the one-year anniversary of our very first post.

    Since that day, we've put up more than 100 posts and received more than 26,000 hits! And we're just getting started. In the next year, you can look forward to more content that keeps you informed about HSEC and addresses common questions and problems relating to pet care.

    We couldn't have done this without you. So for our birthday party, we're going to be giving the gifts.

    We're excited to announce our first HSEC blog giveaway! Our lucky winner will receive this prize pack full of HSEC goodies:

    Here's how you can win! Take a good long look at this photo of a current HSEC resident...

    Post a comment with the resident's name - you can compare and contrast with the pictures on our Petfinder page.

    The contest will be open until 12:00 noon on Friday, October 12. Now closed! We will use a random number generator to choose a comment, and if your comment has the correct name, you win!

    The fine print:
    • One entry per person, please. 
    • You must come to the HSEC facility in Greenville to pick up your prize - sorry, out-of-towners!
    • HSEC staff are not eligible to win.

    The giveaway is now closed.
    Thanks for entering!

    Monday, October 8, 2012

    Summer Stats

    *Make sure you tune in on Wednesday - you won't want to miss our next post!*

    As we say goodbye to the summer of 2012, let's take a look at our summer stats!

    In July and August, we took in 52 animals in total; 32 in July and 20 in August. Our July intake was 14 dogs and 18 cats, while in August we took in 7 dogs, 1 puppy, 4 cats, and 8 kittens. At the end of August, we had 47 animals in our care.

    Adoptions in July and August totaled 55! We had 29 adoptions in July and 26 in August. July numbers include 7 dogs, 7 puppies, 4 cats, and 11 kittens. In August, we adopted out 5 dogs, 6 puppies, 6 cats, and 9 kittens.

    As always, puppies and kittens go fast! It's hard to resist those cute little faces. We're happy to say that most animals do not remain at the facility for long. The average stay, from intake to adoption, is less than 40 days!

    Summer adoptions include:

    Kayla and her new owner, HSEC animal care tech Danny

    Lilly - after living at HSEC for a year and two months! Featured on the blog.

    Olive - featured on the blog


    ... and Newton, adopted together!

    Slate, adopted by a tech at Firetower Animal Clinic


    Theodore with his new sister!

    We also have some pictures of HSEC alums sent in by YOU! Post your pictures on Facebook or send them to and they will be included in our next stats post!

    Rudy, adopted two years ago - now in the doghouse for pigging out on her brother kitty's food!

    Mona - featured on the blog


    Razzle and her mommy Christina

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Keeping Cats Indoors

    When you adopt a cat from the Humane Society, we strongly suggest in most cases that you keep your new feline friend indoors. Sometimes, potential adopters are puzzled by that requirement – after all, aren’t cats just fine, or even happier, outdoors?

    It’s a cold, cruel world out there for cats, and indoor cats have been found to live as much as twice as long as their outdoor counterparts. Many dangers lurk, and although a cat may seem street-smart, that’s no guarantee against some of the common risks, such as being hit by a car or becoming prey to a coyote, hawk, or aggressive dog. Even the sweetest pet can get into a fight with another cat roaming the streets, risking injury or infection.  Regular immunizations will protect against rabies, but there is no vaccine that can protect 100% against FIV (feline immune virus) or FeLv (feline leukemia), two diseases commonly spread among outside cats, especially ferals.

    Pet owners can experience tragedy when the cat is poisoned, either intentionally by a neighbor who hates cats and sees them as nuisances, or unintentionally by lawn chemicals or substances they may find when visiting a garage. Cats may be caught in animal traps, or abused by cruel and disturbed individuals. 

    Visiting cats may also become problems in the neighborhood.  Mistaking a child’s sandbox for litter and leaving odors behind in favorite spots will probably not be appreciated. And the birds, chipmunks and squirrels that your cat may proudly present at your doorstep mean the unnecessary death of wildlife in your area. Cats are a major predator of small birds, mammals, and reptiles, and can even accelerate extinction in at-risk species.

    Last, but not least, cats may bring along wildlife of another kind – fleas!  Outdoor cats can become infested, putting your carpet, upholstered furniture and bedding at risk.  Not a pleasant experience for you or your cat.

    Indoor cats can be perfectly happy perched by a window or door, watching the world and all its dangers go by. Read our post for tips on how to keep them from getting bored.

    A good pet owner needs to be educated about the risks of allowing a cat to access the outdoors. These risks can in some cases be minimized, but they can never be eliminated and should not be ignored. There is no doubt that the safest place for your kitty is indoors.

    Wednesday, October 3, 2012

    Monday, October 1, 2012

    Upcoming Events

    Looking for ways to support HSEC this fall? Look no further. Here's the roundup of our upcoming events and volunteer opportunities.

    To sign up as a volunteer for any of these events, visit our new volunteer website here.  (If you have not yet registered for the new site, see this post for instructions.)

    Oct 13th and 27th - ECU Concession Stand

    HSEC runs a concession stand at ECU home football games! Volunteers take and fill orders and prepare food (pop popcorn, wrap hot dogs, fill drinks, and prepare nachos). Volunteers must stay for the duration of the event, arriving 2 1/2 hours before game time and staying as long as needed (generally through the beginning of the 4th quarter). Volunteers for this event receive a FREE HSEC volunteer t-shirt and will get breaks and snacks throughout the game. 

    If you're attending the game, stop by our stand and support HSEC!

    October 13th - volunteers needed 2-8
    October 27th - TBA (game time is not yet set)

    October 18th 6PM - Bow Wow Bingo

    Help Pitt County pets win big and maybe even put a little money back in your own wallet with Bow Wow Bingo! This joint venture benefits HSEC and Spay Today. This event takes place at the Pitt Community Sports and Recreation Complex, located at 4561 County Home Rd in Alice F. Keene Park.

    The cost to play is $20 per person. Doors open at 6, games begin at 6:30. This is the last game of the season, so don't miss out! For the rules, click here (scroll down to the bottom of the page, then click again on 'click here for schedule and rules). Volunteers for this event must be available from 5:45-8:45.

    October 15-28 - PetSmart Adoption Stands

    Our cats will be at PetSmart during the third and fourth week in October. (Dates for dog adoption stand(s) have not yet been set.) We need volunteers for this adoption stand weekdays 5:30-8, Saturdays 11-5, and Sundays 2-5. Stop by and check out our sweet adoptable cats!

    October 28 2-5PM - HOWL-o-ween!!

    This event is our first joint fundraiser with the other members of the Pitt Partnership. Grab your dog and your family and come out to our fall festival at Alice F. Keen Park on County Home Rd. Activities will include:
    • Vendors
    • Food
    • Costume contests
    • Face painting
    • Silent Auction
    • Microchipping by Spay Today
    • Adoption stand
    • And more!
     We can't wait to see you there!

    Edited to add: we are still looking for vendors for Howl-o-ween, and we are also still in need of donated items for the silent auction and bake sale. If you are interested in becoming a vendor or providing items, please contact for more information.