Saturday, January 26, 2013

Success Series - Ezy

Welcome to another installation of our Success Series! Every Friday* for the next several weeks we will post the story of a pet who has found their forever home through HSEC. If your animal was adopted from HSEC and you want them to be featured on the blog, contact us:

 Some adoptions are easy.  Dogs who are tail-waggingly friendly and seem to shout, “take me home” are often short-timers in our kennel.  Unfortunately, this was not the case with Ezy, who became a long-term guest. Ezy (pronounced 'easy') was our very first featured adoptable animal on the blog in October of 2011! You can read more about him here.

A large Shepherd mix, Ezy is a handsome guy, but not one to warm up to strangers.  Time and again, he was overlooked by adopters, but at the same time began to bond with the volunteers who came to walk and play with him. Soon, he developed into quite the soccer player, kicking the ball around and even finding a way to carry it in his mouth!

Amy, a new volunteer who spent time with Ezy, found a connection, sitting in his run with him after a long walk. His charm surfaced and he began climbing into her lap, smothering her with kisses.  Soon, Amy was excited to arrive at the Humane Society to play with her buddy, and realized she was in love.  But there was a problem.  Being a college student, Amy knew she couldn’t give this big, active boy the time and space he needed.

Luckily, love for animals runs in Amy’s family, and her aunt and uncle were also interested in finding a new canine friend.  With five acres in Raleigh, they had plenty of room for Ezy to run and play, and the rambunctious fellow made an immediate attachment.  He loves to sit under a large dogwood tree on the property, and enjoys cuddling with (before ripping apart) stuffed toys.  He’s also fond of fishing trips, where he can play in the lake.  Following a round of training classes, Ezy learned to sit, stay and wait, although this big fellow is still afraid of storms and will head for the nearest lap at the first sound of thunder!

Shy no more, this hard-to-adopt guy has found a wonderful place to call home – with people who have found him Ezy to love.

*We know, it's Saturday. We won't tell if you won't!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Caption Gibbs!

Gibbs is an HSEC success story! Help us caption this silly picture of him. Leave a comment with your suggestions.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Running With Your Dog

Just as the percentage of overweight Americans increases, so does the percentage of overweight dogs. It is estimated that 40-45% of all U.S. dogs are either overweight or obese – that’s about 35 million dogs! Similarly to humans, the best way for dogs to lose weight is to focus on diet and exercise. So what better way to get your dog in shape than to focus on getting yourself fit as well. Find an activity that you both enjoy and can benefit from – such as running.

Dogs love to run, it is in their bones. And they make a great running partner. They won’t care about the number of calories burned, or how fast/far you run, or what the weather is like. They’ll just be happy to get outside with you and be active. If you’ve been running for a while or are just looking to start, getting your dog involved is one of the best motivators. Once you get into a routine, you’ll feel obligated to not let your partner down, even if you’re not in the mood – the guilt of depriving your best friend of a favorite activity will make you never want to skip out.

Running with your dog should start with some basic training. The first step is to have your pooch trained and comfortable on a leash. It is recommended that you have a four-foot to six-foot leash and a snugly fitting flat collar to keep your dog safe at your side (a harness is also an option, but may cause chafing on longer runs). When running with your dog you’ll want to keep a few things in mind: you should be able to hold the leash while keeping your arm bent at your side in a normal running position and unlike a normal walk, you’ll want your dog’s front feet to be even with or slightly behind yours. Avoid straightening your arm and allowing your dog to get ahead of you.

When starting out, slower is better. If you or your dog (or both of you) are new to running gradually ease into a running program and begin with alternating walking and running for brief periods. Try walking for 2 minutes followed by jogging for 2 minutes throughout the entirety of your normal walk. The generally accepted guideline for increasing your running mileage is not to exceed a 10% increase (in either time or distance) a week.

As with any kind of exercise, there are a few things to be mindful of. If you need water during a run, you should provide your dog with same number of water breaks. Monitor your dog closely during the run. Watch out for signs of fatigue, pain, or overheating. If your dog begins to pant excessively, slows down, or refuses to continue, stop running. NEVER put your running goals ahead of your dog’s well-being.

Think about the terrain you are running on. Paved roads will toughen your dog’s pads and should be broken up with dirt roads or trails (which are better on your joints as well). Try finding locations where you can run in the street or on the pavement, while your dog can run mostly on grass. The Green Mill Run Greenway, South Tar River Greenway, and River Park North are great local places to take your pooch for a run.

It is suggested that all dogs should be a year or older (with closed bone growth plates) before any rigorous activity. Older dogs and overweight dogs will need different training programs than younger healthy dog. Check with your veterinarian for more details.

On March 17, HSEC will sponsor a 5K in conjunction with the annual Canine Crawl. Dogs are welcome to run in the 5K, but we have some rules:
  1. Do NOT bring your dog if he/she is younger than SIX months of age and/or is not fully vaccinated.
  2. Do NOT bring your dog if she is in HEAT.
  3. Have your dog wear current ID and rabies tag (or bring rabies certificate)
  4. Even if you are not thirsty, be sure to let your dog have plenty of access to water. Water will be provided.
  5. Keep your dog on a 6-foot or shorter leash at all times. No dragging dogs during the race.
  6. Please make sure your dog has been conditioned to run the 5k. If your dog does not run regularly, the 1 mile walk may be a better option for you and your dog.
Check back to receive some 5K training tips and see why some of our own HSEC dogs could be your prefect running partner.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Friends, we've been sharing some of our successes with you recently, animals that are alive and in loving homes because of your generosity. Now we need your help to create another success.

Scooter is a four year old cat, very sweet and easy going, who loves to rub his head on his favorite people. He's declawed and was raised in a home around other cats. A perfect pet just waiting for a home. But there's one problem: Scooter was recently diagnosed with diabetes.

As in humans, diabetes in cats can be controlled through injections and the monitoring of blood glucose. This treatment is expensive and would tax our little facility beyond its limits.

Scooter needs a home NOW! His adoption fee has been waived. If he has not found a home by February 1st, he will be humanely euthanized. But none of us want to see that happen, as we have all become very fond of this sweet boy.

So please, help us spread the word. Tweet, share, shout it from the rooftops! Scooter needs your help. Please, help us save him. We know you can do incredible things. We've seen it happen before.

UPDATE: Scooter has been adopted! Thank you so much for all of your help in spreading the word. We've never done a 911 blast like this before and it was a learning experience for all of us. Thanks for your patience and enthusiasm as the story progressed.

We're going to let Scooter settle down in his new home (with a repeat HSEC adopter!). And when we get updates, we will be sure to share them with you.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Success Series - Blossom

Welcome to another installation of our Success Series! Every Friday for the next several weeks we will post the story of a pet who has found their forever home through HSEC. If your animal was adopted from HSEC and you want them to be featured on the blog, contact us here:


At arrival
When Blossom first arrived at HSEC with her litter of three puppies, she was in desperate need of care. This devoted mama had given everything to keep her pups nice and fat, leaving her extremely thin and with a variety of skin conditions. We don't know much about her past, except that she was found living on the street, but we believe that she may have spent her young life having back-to-back litters. She was also very nervous around people. Her experiences around humans had not been positive, and during her time as a stray we think she was sometimes harassed or had objects thrown at her.

After some much-needed care and recovery
In addition to these issues, Blossom is a pit bull mix, a breed that is commonly maligned and misunderstood. She also needed a home without other dogs. Despite her bad beginnings in life, this girl was a true lady, sweet, friendly, and shy. We all loved her, but we knew that it would take some very special people to welcome her into their home.

During her long stay at HSEC, Blossom put on weight and recovered from her other health problems. She also spent some time in foster care with a reliable and frequent HSEC foster family, where it became clear that her fear issues would take a lot of patience and love to overcome. Foster care helped Blossom substantially. But she needed a permanent home.

Adopters of difficult-to-place animals are very special to those of us who work and volunteer in the animal welfare world. Some HSEC residents stay at the facility a long time. But when their families finally come to claim them, we know why they have waited so long. They were just waiting for their perfect match to come along. And while we fretted and worried about Blossom's future, she waited patiently for her family to arrive.

Blossom on the day of her adoption
Dan and Ashley-Anne first took Blossom on as a foster. The couple had been considering dog ownership for a while, but they weren't certain if this responsibility would fit well into their lives. In time, though, it became clear that their home was where Blossom was supposed to be. We call this a "failed foster", but this adoption was anything but a failure.

Today, Blossom is flourishing in her new life. She loves her treats and sleeping on a big bed and getting to meet all of Ashley-Anne and Dan's interesting friends. Slowly she is overcoming the issues of fear and shyness that have kept her back. And now this mother who gave everything is finally having her own opportunity for care and nurture.

When she came to us, Blossom was a bud that hadn't yet opened. And as she continues to grow in her forever home, we can finally see the beautiful flower inside. It can be hard to work with homeless animals. Amidst the sea of need, it can be difficult to remember why we got into this in the first place.

Blossom is why.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Caption Me!

Caption me! What is Porscha thinking about this strange cold stuff? Leave us a comment!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Love Your Dog? Leash Your Dog!

by Sistine Burgess

All the animals pictured here are available for adoption! Click their names to learn more!

Candy Cane, ready to go!
Many people think that leash laws and policies are merely suggestions for people with dogs who aren't friendly or don't listen to their owners. Some believe that their dog shouldn't be confined to a leash when at a public park or in the woods, but allowed to run and explore, as long as they stay within eyesight of their owner. However, leash laws are in place for more reasons than just keeping your dog close; they keep your dog, you, and the public, safe.

You may think that it's okay for your dog to be unleashed because it's friendly. Although your dog might be friendly, there are animals, and people, who aren't. There are wild and stray animals your dog may sniff out, and if your dog isn't on a leash, you may not be able to convince them to leave it alone. Wild animals want to avoid humans, but if they're cornered and scared, they're unpredictable and will defend themselves. This can end in not only expensive vet bills, but in heartbreak for you and your family.

We love our dogs, but not everyone does. People have the right to walk in public spaces without having to fear being confronted by loose dogs. Many walkers carry sticks and other weapons with them for protection against stray or dangerous animals. If your dog isn't leashed and approaches a stranger, they may get hurt or even killed. They may even approach another dog in the hopes of play, but not all other dogs want to interact with other animals. There's always the chance that an unfamiliar dog has special needs, behavioral issues, or is sick. Another dog might be a service dog that's working and needs to have their space respected. Never allow your dog to approach an unfamiliar dog without explicit permission from that dogs owner, especially unleashed.

Porscha is safe in her leash and harness
Many people with small breeds don't consider their animal dangerous or threatening because they're smaller than average. Size is no excuse for an animal to be unleashed. Small dogs can be just as quick to snap at a stranger, a child who may pet too hard, or another dog. These situations are made more dangerous if they aren't on a leash and easy to control or remove from a dangerous situation. Smaller dogs are at a higher risk of being seen as prey animals by bigger dogs, and should always be on a leash so they can be protected and controlled.

A common misconception is that dogs that stay close to their owners can do fine off of a leash. A lot of dogs want to stay on the heels of their owners at all times, even when outside. Even when a dog is trusted to stay within close proximity of their owners, it is never okay to assume that they won't at any point bolt away from you. When a dog is not on a leash, they can get into trash or ingest something undesirable or dangerous. Especially when in an unfamiliar environment or an area that has the potential to hold numerous distractions, special care should be taken to ensure that your dog is always on their leash.

If a dog sees something they want to investigate and they're not secure, there is a chance for tragedy. An unleashed animal can chase after unfamiliar or wild animals, causing harm to the other animals or themselves. Your animal might even cross a road, unknowingly putting itself in danger. Not only does your dog have the chance of getting hurt or killed by an oncoming car, it can cause the driver to get into a wreck and be hurt or even killed. As the owner of that dog, you might be held liable for damages caused by your unleashed animal. 

Many dogs are natural runners or chasers. If you don't ensure their safety on a leash, they can run themselves into unfamiliar territory and get lost. The whole family suffers when a beloved dog is lost. When the family dog gets lost, it can get picked up by animal control or taken in by a good semaritan, but there is always a chance that it might get hit by a car, attacked by wild animals, hurt by humans, or simply never be found.

Buddy hits the trail
It's not only dangerous and rude to have an unleashed dog, it's illegal. It's unlawful in almost all places to have an unleashed dog outside of your personal property. In the city of Greenville, dogs in public must be on a leash, or confined, at all times. The city of Greenville's website states, “The City of Greenville has a 24-hour leash law. Every person owning or keeping a dog must keep it on his/her premises. Dogs are permitted off the owner’s property if the dog is on a leash or is under some other means of physical control.” It goes on to explain that found dogs are taken to Pitt County animal shelter and owners will be made to pay fines for their animal.

We love our dogs. Most of us see them as more than pets, but as family. We always want to do what's right for our loved ones, and for our dogs, that means keeping them on a leash. It keeps your dog close to you, within your control, away from other people and dogs who may not want interactions, and away from areas that may be unsafe. Leashing your dog is both the safe and the kind thing to do.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Success Series - Diane

Welcome to HSEC's Success Series! Every Friday for the next several weeks we will post a success story featuring one of our own former residents. We'll meet dogs and cats who have directly benefited as a result of YOUR support and help. So stay tuned, and let's make 2013 a year of success!


Diane was depressed.  This beautiful black and white girl arrived at the Humane Society after being taken in as a stray by a kind person who asked us to help her find a home.  But poor Diane hid in the back of her cage, frightened and withdrawn, not attracting the attention of potential adopters.

Fortunately, we were able to locate a volunteer willing to provide a foster home for Diane to give her some time to relax and begin to trust.  And, as often happens, it worked!  Shy Diane slowly began to open up, becoming attached to her foster mom and becoming her shadow, following her from room to room.   Diane watched her foster mom leave in the morning, and greeted her when she returned.  Frightened no more, Diane settled in and made herself at home.

Typically, when a foster animal makes significant progress, that’s a signal that it’s time to return to the facility and await a forever home.  For Diane, however, the story has a different happy ending.  Although her foster mom had no intention of adding a permanent resident to her home, she realized that she had fallen in love with Diane – and made her adoption official several months after the scared little girl arrived.
Diane and Haley

Diane now sleeps with her human every night, and loves to play with toys, throwing them into the air with abandon.  She delights in playing with a laser light and feather toys.  She has come a long way from her days as a frightened wallflower.

“I love how much she’s grown since I first met her,” says Diane’s mom, Haley.  “She’s a whole different cat! I honestly can’t imagine life without her.”

Is your pet an HSEC success story? Want to see them featured on the blog? Contact to learn how.