Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Top Ten

2012 was a great year for us here at the HSEC blog. We love doing our part to spread the word about the remarkable pets and people at HSEC. So let's take a look back at the posts that helped to make this year so special - our top ten posts from 2012! We'll also give you a sneak peak into what you can expect in 2013.

Whether you're waiting for the ball to drop or recuperating from an excess of celebration, we hope you enjoy looking back with us, and perhaps catching up on a post or two that passed you by.

10. Microchipping: Bring Your Buddy Home

Curious about microchipping, the process that can return a lost pet via a tiny permanent implant? Check out this post for all of the details. Microchipping increases the chance that your lost pet will be safely returned. The procedure is quick and relatively painless, and is commonly performed at events about town by groups like Spay Today.

In 2013... look for a series of posts about what to do if your buddy goes missing.

9. Feline Immunodeficiency Virus: Fiction vs. Fact

Read this post to get the facts about Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), a commonly stigmatized disease that attacks an infected cat's immune system. The condition is not a death sentence, nor is it as communicable as some have suggested. Cats with FIV can and do live long and healthy lives.

In 2013... look for a post about seizure disorders in cats and dogs. If you would like us to discuss a particular condition, suggest one in the comments!

8. How to Greet a Strange Dog

Every dog is different, but they all speak a common language - one that many people are prone to misinterpret. This post contains vital information for interacting with strange dogs in public. Excellent information for children in particular!

In 2013... look for more posts about animal communication. What are your cats thinking when they look at you, anyway?

7. Annie: Little Cat, BIG Personality!

Annie sporting kitty caps on her claws
Annie is an HSEC superstar - a young cat with Congenital Upper Eyelid Agenesis, a birth defect that left her without upper eyelids. Despite this, Annie is as playful and friendly as any kitty can be. Since the original August post, Annie has undergone successful eye surgery, funded with the money YOU raised! She is no longer in danger of going blind from her condition. Annie is still available for adoption.

In 2013... look for more posts featuring HSEC residents, current and former. In January we'll kick off with weekly success stories to get the year started right!

6. Pack Up Your Paws Part I and Part II

This two-part series explore the ins and outs of taking your pets on vacation. From considering whether it is a good idea to bring the animals along, to travel safety, to what to do once you get there, these posts cover it all. If you're already dreaming of that perfect summer vacation, start planning now!

In 2013... look for a post about local dog-friendly locations and events, so you and your buddy can stay-cation with style!

5. I Found A Stray - Now What?

We've all seen strays on the side of the road and felt moved to help them. But what do you do when you find a stray? What are the procedures for surrendering the animal to an organization that will care for them? How should you try to contact the owner? This post answers these common questions, plus more. A great basic informational source.

In 2013... look for posts about the inner workings of HSEC and how the organization functions.

4. Pet People Are Healthy People

It's not just an old wives' tale. Pet owners really do live happier, healthier lives. Get the scientific info in this post, and take a look at the New Leash on Life program, which pairs dogs from animal welfare organizations with prison inmates.

In 2013... look for posts about another way that dogs can keep you healthy - as running buddies! We'll help you and your furry couch potato get in shape for the upcoming Canine Crawl 5k on March 17th.

3. Giving Pets as Gifts

This recent post has already jumped up the charts to become one of the most popular of 2012. Maybe you've already promised someone a puppy for Christmas, or you're thinking ahead to all those birthdays and special events in the upcoming year. Read this post, and learn how to gift animals the right way.

In 2013... look for posts about making the decision to adopt at all stages of life, from college to retirement.

2. Feral Cats - Wild Animals, Not Stray Pets

Those kitties hanging out around the dumpster might not be lost pets. It's likely that they're ferals, cats who have not been raised around humans and are not friendly. Ferals are a controversial subject and can cause real problems in a community. This post outlines suggestions for handing this issue and takes a look at local groups that assist this unique animal population.

In 2013... look for more posts featuring our local partners in the animal welfare community.

1. Flea and Tick Season 2012

Far and away, our most viewed post in 2012 was this entry about the last flea and tick season, which was made even more virulent by the preceding mild winter. Since we're in the midst of another gentle winter, it's a good time to review this information. It's not that cold outside - in a climate like ours, pets need flea and tick prevention all year round.

In 2013... look for more seasonally relevant information, including an upcoming post about winter safety.

We hope your year was as good as ours! Thank you for all of your support over the last twelve months, and we hope we've earned it again for the next twelve. In return, look for us to keep connecting you to the latest from HSEC... in 2013 and beyond!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Donate Today!

As 2012 comes to an end, we have a lot to celebrate – lives saved, happy endings, sick and injured animals nursed back to health.  But looking ahead to 2013, there’s so much more to do.  Sadly, the number of homeless animals who needs our help far exceeds our resources.  The problem extends across our community, and that’s why we’re reaching out to you to ask for your support to touch the lives of animals in need.

We are an organization with a modest budget, operating on a shoestring to keep our efforts going.  Even a small contribution can make a big difference! 
  • For about $50 per month, or less than $2 per day, you can support the purchase of antibiotics or deworming medication.
  • Rabies vaccines cost us over $25 per month, less than $1 each day.
  • Spay and neuter surgery, preventing the tragedy of more unwanted animals, is an expense of $260 each month, or less than $9 per day for cats; dog surgeries are nearly $400 per month or $13 daily.
  • Supplies to keep our facility clean and stop the spread of disease come at a cost of $90 per month, or $3 per day.
  • Life-saving formula for kittens and puppies too small for solid food is an expense of $25 per month, or less than $1 each day.
While these numbers may seem small, these and other costs add up, and only represent a few items on our annual budget.  But if you can support a month, a week, or even a single day of expenses in caring for our homeless animals, it will make a difference. 

We’re hoping that we can count on your support to help us help pets who have nowhere else to turn.  Even a small donation can help us save a life.   Let’s make 2013 a successful year – donate, adopt, or volunteer.  Tail-wags of appreciation are sure to come your way!

Donate today!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Adoption Update

Ready for your Christmas cheer?

SNOWFLAKE, one of the twelve strays of Christmas, has been adopted! She is home for the holidays!

Congratulations to Snowflake and her family! Other "strays" Clara, Hot Cocoa, and Candy Cane are still available for adoption.

Happy Christmas from all of us at HSEC. May your days be merry and bright!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Twelve Strays of Christmas

Our Share the Love event last weekend featured the Twelve Strays of Christmas, twelve lovely and lovable dogs from Pitt County Animal Shelter. We're so pleased to tell you that eight of those "strays" have been adopted, and the remainder were transferred to HSEC where they will wait for their forever homes.

Let's meet them!

Candy Cane
Candy Cane is a young pit bull terrier mix with a sweet and shy personality. She loves beggin' strips, but not as much as she loves affection and attention from her people. Candy Cane will need a little time to warm up to new people, but once you open your heart to you, she'll return the favor! Although she does get along with other dogs, some patience will be needed to integrate her with a current dog. For that reason, we would recommend - but not require - that Candy Cane goes to a home where she is the only dog.

Hot Cocoa
Hot Cocoa is a six month old chocolate lab mix with a six month old's share of energy - and maybe a little more than his share! This enthusiastic, playful dog will need training and daily exercise. He would be perfect for an active owner with previous dog experience.

Snowflake is a young pit bull terrier mix who loves nothing more than to plop down for some quiet quality time with her people. And we think you'll agree she has the sweetest face! She is shy at first, but as soon as she gets used to you, she'll be climbing in your lap (literally). A true companion. Snowflake gets along with other calm medium to large dogs.

Clara is a pit bull terrier, about one year old, with a beautiful brindle coat. Looking for someone to share your adventures? Clara's the one for you! She is very energetic and loves activity. Clara gets along with other dogs.

All the "strays" are microchipped and have an adoption fee of $100. All dogs with the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina are evaluated for temperament, spayed/neutered, up to date on vaccines, dewormed, on heartworm and flea prevention and tested for heartworms if one year or older. Their adoption comes with a bag of Hill's Science Diet and one month free trial of pet health insurance from ShelterCare. All dogs four months or older must leave with a collar with their rabies tag as a form of identification. You can either bring your own collar or purchase a collar (priced $2-$10) from HSEC.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Reach Out!

It's the time of year when we reach out to those around us. So we'd like to reach out to you! We love to hear from our friends in the community. Here's how you can find us.

Our website has all of the information about our mission and our facility all in one handy place! Stop here for information about adoptable animals, surrender services, FAQs, volunteering, and much much more!

For a peek into our day-to-day operations, check us out on Facebook. You'll see select images and hear about adoptions, as well as updates about your favorite HSEC residents and alums. We also repost select funny or interesting or touching updates from others as they come our way. 'Like' us and share to help us spread the word!

If you're looking for a list of our adoption animals, head on over to our Petfinder page. Each of our adoptable residents is included alongside a picture and important information about the animal's needs or preferences. A great way to figure out which animals you'd like to see before you head out to the facility!

To learn about and sign up for the latest volunteer opportunities, the volunteer website is the place to be. *If you're a new volunteer or haven't registered for the website yet, please read this post before proceeding.*

If what you prefer is information expressed in 140 characters or less, follow us on Twitter! Connect to adoptable animals, facility and event information, and much more. Join the conversation and retweet to help us boost our signal.

For those who love a fuzzy face, hop on over to our Imgur page. There you'll see photo albums displaying the talented work of the photographers who volunteer their time to help us show off the best side of our residents. More than 900 pictures are up on our site!

For another way to collect those pictures and spread the word, follow us on Pinterest! Our pins link back to great information about our animals both past and present. Collect them all!

If you're reading this, you've already discovered our blog. Here you can get indepth information about all aspects of HSEC's mission as well as educational material about pet behavior, health, and wellbeing. We'd love it if you became a member. We're so glad to have you here!

Want to reach out more directly?
For blog-related issues, email
For information about volunteering, email
And for all other matters, please contact

Friday, December 14, 2012

Tips for a Happy (and Safe!) Holiday Season

It’s a busy time of year, but it’s important to make sure that your home is safe and happy for your pets. You can lighten your load by visiting the HSEC gift wrapping station outside Belk's in Greenville Mall. And employ our helpful tips to keep your four-legged friends safe this holiday season.

  • Hang breakable ornaments high on your Christmas tree where animals can’t reach, and set up the tree so that your animal can’t knock it over. Only water the tree with plain water - no preservatives or chemicals. It’s common for pets to drink out of the watering bowl, so cover it if you can!
  • Don’t put wrapped boxes of food under the tree - those noses are very sensitive.
  • Avoid tinsel and clean up ribbons after unwrapping gifts. Both can cause serious problems if ingested.
  • Keep light cords out of reach so they can’t be chewed on.
  • Always supervise animals around lit candles.
  • Don’t give out too many treats and make sure your pets won’t get into bones, trimmed fat, skin, discarded giblets, or those tasty little strings you used to tie up the turkey.
  • Be careful to keep poisonous plants and decorations out of reach. Mistletoe, lillies, and some ivies are poisonous. Poinsettias, amaryllis, and hibiscus can cause severe digestive problems. Potpourri can cause skin and oral damage and can also be poisonous.
  • Take standard party precautions. Cats in particular - even the friendliest - won’t want to be in the middle of all that noise. Keep shy animals isolated in a quiet, calm room with water and some toys to occupy them. If your pet is a true party animal, make sure that partygoers are treating them with kindness and common sense. No handfuls of greasy treats, no chocolate, and especially no drugs or alcohol.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

HSEC Holiday Wish List

If our homeless pets could write letters to Santa, we’re sure their first wishes would be for a warm, loving home for the holidays – and forever.  But even if you can’t adopt, you can make their season brighter.

We’ve made it easy for you to add your furry friends to your Christmas list by taking a few minutes to do a bit of cybershopping:  we’ve posted our wish list on Amazon. Our shipping address is already entered to make the gift-giving process as smooth as eggnog. 

Our list has something for everyone, with wishes starting below $10!  Our canine pals will love you for the kongs that can be filled with treats, and cats and dogs alike will love the treat balls, which help overcome the boredom of life in a shelter.  Cat scratchers are a popular item among our feline friends, and for the practical gift-giver, our list includes garbage and freezer bags, always needed at our facility. We also are always happy to receive bleach, paper towels, and other basic cleaning supplies.

A wonderful one-size-fits-all present is an Amazon gift certificate.  This will allow us to purchase a variety of items for our animals, as well as for the office that keeps our year-round workshop running. We have so many needs and our resources are limited, so every gift helps! For that animal-loving person that has everything, how about a donation in their name to HSEC?

We know from experience, and Santa has confirmed, that your generosity will make your Christmas merrier and guarantee you a spot on the nice list.  There’s no doubt that your human ho ho hos in the spirit of giving will be returned by an enthusiastic holiday chorus of meows and bow wows of thanks!

Friday, December 7, 2012

News You Can Use

As we head into the busy holiday season, don't forget about HSEC events!

Christmas Gift Wrapping

December 8th through 24th, noon-9pm (or noon-6 depending on mall hours), Greenville Mall, outside the entrance of the women's Belk Department Store.

Our traditional holiday fundraiser! Santa is sending us a crew of his most talented gift-wrapping elves (who strangely look a lot like our volunteers) and stationing them at the Greenville Mall. Pricing is dependent on package size.

Rather than releasing your inner Grinch by taking home a mountain of gifts, hauling out the wrapping paper, and trying to find that roll of tape, let us do the work for you!  Not only will you be tremendously relieved that your wrapping is done, but knowing that your gift-wrapping donation will benefit our homeless animals is guaranteed to bring you extra Christmas cheer.

We still need volunteers - you can sign up to become one of Santa's helpers at the volunteer website

Blog Committee Meeting

Thursday, December 13th, 7:00 pm at the Tipsy Teapot, 409 South Evans St. in Greenville.

Want to be part of the magic? Come out to our next blog meeting and see if this volunteer opportunity is right for you. We're always looking for writers, photographers, and tech support. An excellent way to volunteer for those with a busy schedule.  

Share the Love - a Pitt Partnership event in association with Greenville Subaru!

Saturday December 15th 11-4 at Greenville Subaru, 3999 S. Memorial Drive in Winterville (beside Rucker John's).

Come meet the 12 strays of Christmas - 12 wonderful dogs featured for adoption at the reduced fee of $50 (cash only). Microchipping services are also available as well as information about low cost spay/neuter.

Also featuring the No Choke Challenge. We strongly recommend to not use painful collars as a training tool. From 11-1, bring in your dog and their choke, prong, or shock collar and receive a FREE no-pull harness (while supplies last).

Introducing the Canine Crawl website!

The 13th annual Canine Crawl isn't until March 17th, but we're already getting excited for it. This year we're happy to roll out a fancy new website just for the event - right HERE! Update your bookmarks!

This year we will have online registration for the walk and participants will be able to register in teams. The event will also include a 5k, so if you're looking for a good incentive for those New Year's Resolutions, you can get ready to lace up your running shoes.

Become a HSEC Holiday Angel

You can be an angel this holiday season by providing a foster Home For the Holidays for one of our HSEC residents. We also have volunteer opportunities available on Christmas Eve, Christmas, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. You can give our staff a chance to spend the holiday with their families, and spread some holiday cheer among the animals at our facility.

And Even More Volunteer Opportunities...

We've had a great response from our new volunteer website. Let's keep that momentum going! In addition to special events, our adoptable animals also need volunteers to come in daily to assist with their care.

Keep checking in and signing up. If you've never used the website before (or you need a refresher), check out this post.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Giving Pets as Gifts

Dogs and cats are cute - puppies and kittens are even cuter. And they’re pretty much a rainbow explosion of adorability when they’re sitting underneath a Christmas tree wearing a big red bow.

But you know what’s not so cute? The increased numbers of animals that are turned into shelters after the holidays are over. Because a pet is about more than a photo op, it’s a 10-20 year commitment of your time, energy, love, and money.

So what if you want to get someone a pet for Christmas? Well, it might be the perfect gift - as long as you follow these important guidelines.

Do not surprise someone with a pet - especially an adult!

Even if you are sure that your loved one wants to get a pet, it should be up to the pet owner to decide if they are ready to take on the responsibility. Additionally, the bond between a pet and an owner is a special thing. Choosing a pet is very personal, and it’s important that the prospective adopter actually be present when the animal is chosen.

It’s best to give a pet a few weeks before or at least a week after the holidays.

Holidays are stressful enough for the people and pets already in a home. New decorations, family members hanging around, parties, noise - all of these things can freak out even the most well-adjusted cat or dog. Bringing a new animal into a home is also stressful. Don’t make it hard on yourself or your new furry friend by combining stressors.

Ok, so you’ve thought it through and you’ve decided that it would be appropriate to give someone a pet as a gift. Here’s how to do it.

Give the recipient a large wrapped box full of pet supplies and a coupon for the animal of their choice. It’s ok to offer to go with them to pick out the pet, but don’t push. It might take a couple of visits for the adopter to find their perfect fit.

If you absolutely must give a pet during the holidays, remember:

  • Plan on spending quiet time at home so bonding with the new owner can occur and the pet will learn that home is a safe environment.
  • Clean up all the present wrappings before introducing the new pet.  The new pet should be the last present received.
  • No parties at your home and limit the time you are away from home.
  • Make your house pet safe.