Monday, March 25, 2013

Surrendering a Pet

Sometimes things happen. Regardless of our best intentions, plans, or dreams, sometimes things happen. And sometimes, we are unable to care for our pets and must decide what to do next. In this post, we'll look at what to do if you find yourself in this difficult position.

For the purposes of this post, we'll assume that you have done everything possible to resolve the issue you are facing with your pet, and have decided that it is no longer possible for you to keep them in your home. In the future, we'll take a look at common behavioral issues that prompt people to give up their animals, and what to do about those problems. But of course, it could also be that you are no longer able to keep a pet because of financial reasons, health reasons, job demands, and so on. We know. Sometimes things happen.

The most important element to consider in this situation is time. If you want to make sure that your pet is rehomed or placed in a no-kill facility, this most likely will not happen right away. All rescues and no-kills are full, all the time. For any of these organizations, including HSEC, to accept your animal, you must get on a waiting list and wait for a spot to become available. It's best to plan on about 4-6 weeks of waiting time.

As soon as you make the decision that you cannot care for your pet, please get in touch to secure your spot on that list. You can always take yourself off the list later on if circumstances change. And while you wait, take the opportunity to look into other options in your area. Don't put all your eggs in one basket - diversify!

But be sure as well to do your homework. Not all rescues and no-kill facilities are the same, and some will have policies or conditions to which you would not want to subject your pet. Ask questions about an organization, check out their website, even arrange a tour of their facilities if possible. According to the Humane Society of the United States, all shelters should have the following programs:
  • A comprehensive volunteer program
  • An effective foster program
  • A network of rescue partners
  • Innovative, aggressive adoption programs
  • Behavior programs that maximize adoptions
  • Medical protocols to reduce disease and keep shelter pets healthy
  • A positive approach to engaging the community in solving pet homelessness
If a shelter, rescue, or no-kill organization does not provide these programs, that is cause for concern. You can familiarize yourself with normal shelter/animal welfare facility operations here.

Take some time to research other options that might assist you in your specific situation. For example, there are several organizations that find foster homes for active military during deployment, like Dogs on Deployment. There are also many regional organizations that assist with foster care for pets whose owners are facing illness or disability. See what is available in your area.

Once a spot opens at HSEC, your pet will be brought in for an evaluation of behavior and overall health. There are no guarantees that any animal will be accepted into the facility. There is a surrender fee of $50, which defers but by no means covers the costs that we incur while caring for your pet until it finds a new home. You must be able to demonstrate that your animal is up to date on all vaccinations, including rabies.

Finally, it's best if you can find a new home for your pet on your own. This way your pet will go right from your arms to a new family, without having to enter a rescue (we do our best, but our facility is no substitute for a loving home). In addition to word-of-mouth, spread the information about your pet far and wide, using Facebook, Craigslist, and good old fashioned fliers or newspaper ads. Some rescue groups allow courtesy listings of available animals as well.

Finding a new family for your pet may seem daunting, but use your common sense and don't be afraid to ask questions. HSEC can provide a copy of our adoption application (with our name removed) if you would like to screen potential adopters. If you and the adopter are comfortable with it, you can also schedule a home visit to see your pet's possible new home. Read more about finding a new home for your pet here.

As a pet owner, you have decided to take on responsibility for that pet, which can sometimes mean finding it a new living situation. If this is the last thing that you can do for this animal, do it well.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Flea and Tick Season 2013

It's that time of the year again... flea and tick season is upon us.

Or did it ever leave? Many fleas and ticks are capable of surviving our cold season, and though this winter was slightly colder than the last, it's still time to consider your plan of attack. We'll look at the pests looking to hitch a ride on your pet, and how you can prevent it.
Cat flea

The flea species that live on cats and dogs spend their entire adult lives on the pet, and cannot survive more than a few days without a host. Signs of fleas include little black specks in the fur known as "flea dirt," as well as the actual bugs themselves. Adult fleas are very small, about 1-3mm, and can jump as high as thirteen feet. Flea infestations are uncomfortable, and if left untreated, can cause flea allergy dermatitis and anemia. Fleas can also transmit tapeworms.
Flea on finger

Flea dirt

There are several species of ticks living in North Carolina. You can read more about them here. Like fleas, adult ticks feed on the hosts' blood, though unlike fleas, they do not spend the entirety of their lives on the host, and can survive for several months between feedings. Several diseases can be transmitted by ticks, including Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, and Ehrlichiosis. If any unusual symptoms are noted after you or your pets are bitten by a tick, seek appropriate medical attention.

Three different species of ticks

Fully engorged embedded dog tick
But don't worry, you can decrease your pet's risk - and your own risk - for attracting these pests. In order to do this, you need to keep fleas and ticks off of your pet, out of your home, and out of your yard.

Keep pests off your pet 
To avoid ticks, stay away from their natural habitat of shrubs and long grasses by remaining on paths and roads. Humans can layer their clothing and tuck their pants into their boots. Wearing light colored clothing makes ticks easier to spot. If your pet has been exposed, check your buddy carefully, making sure to look everywhere, including behind the ears and under the collar. (And check yourself as well.) Many insect repellants are effective against ticks, but read labels carefully and do not use repellants on animals unless the label specifically indicates that it is for pets.

Most insect repellants do not work against fleas. There are many methods available to protect your pet against fleas, which include flea collars, topical treatments, and even pills. Some of these are also effective against ticks. Ask your vet to find out the preventative measure that is best for your four-footed family. You will most likely find that one of these methods works best. Don't be afraid to try another method if the first doesn't work.
Keep pests out of your house

Simply vacuuming your home regularly can significantly decrease a pest infestation, especially if you have carpets. Vacuum couches and floor cushions as well, and launder your pet's blankets and other fabric items. If you have a vacuum with a replaceable bag, throw the bag away after use. Some people choose to keep pets off furniture, especially beds and couches.

There are also more serious methods for dealing with a flea and tick problem, including pesticides. Seek an expert opinion before you result to treating your home with pesticides, as these can cause health problems for you and your pets if they are not used appropriately.

Keep pests out of your yard

Frequent mowing and yard upkeep helps to cut down on the long grass that fleas and ticks love to live in. Keeping the yard well-watered can actually drown pests. There are also several commercial pesticide sprays that can be applied to your yard. Again, whenever you use pesticides, it's best to do so with expert support and assistance.

What to do if your pet - or you - already has a pest problem

The first step is to get rid of the immediate problem. For a flea infestation, your vet may prescribe a medication which will kill any fleas. A good bath will also get rid of pests - there are commercial flea shampoos available at your local pet store, though many people use any liquid soap, including dish soap. It is a good idea to treat all animals in your home. Your vet will also recommend that you begin a regimen of preventative treatment.

If you or your pet has an embedded tick, don't just yank it out. You're likely to leave the head behind in the skin, which can cause infection. Here's another couple of don'ts: don't apply petroleum jelly or cleaning fluid and don't hold a lit cigarette or match near the tick. These home remedies will not cause the tick to withdraw from the skin and may make it more difficult to remove the tick intact.

The best way to remove a tick is to use tweezers (or a tissue) to firmly grasp the tick's body. Without twisting or jerking, pull steadily and slowly straight out until the tick is removed. If the tick's mouth parts break off in the skin, remove them as you would a splinter. Wash the bite with soap and water and apply an antiseptic. Note the date of the bite and save the tick - keeping it in rubbing alcohol is best. If you or your pet develops symptoms that could be due to a tick-borne disease, your doctor or vet may want to inspect the tick to determine the species. (Not all species of tick carry disease.) The chance of disease transmission from a tick bite is low, but it's a good idea to be prepared just in case.

How to remove a tick
After the fleas and ticks are gone, complete the other steps in this post to prevent or eliminate pests in the future. There are many organic and natural preventatives and remedies that claim to help control fleas and ticks on the pet, in the home, and in the yard, and to treat infestation once it occurs. If this is a concern for you, be sure to ask your vet about these options as well.

These pests are a pain, but with a little bit of preparation, you can rest easy this flea and tick season.

Originally posted in April 2012

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Thank You, Canine Crawl Supporters!

Yesterday, the 13th annual Canine Crawl brought the luck of the Irish to the Humane Society!  A dog lover’s dream, the event was a winner all around. 

Grey skies didn't stop our supporters!
Canines and their humans arrived in style.  Many pups were sporting St. Patrick’s Day bandannas, hats and entire outfits as they milled around the Town Commons, making and sniffing new friends.  They and their people ran the event’s first-ever 5K, or did the one-mile walk.  The chilly day was a perfect one for the runners and walkers, many of whom brought donations beyond the registration fees.

Our doggy guests ran the gamut, from teacup-sized Chihuahas and Yorkshire Terriers to pony-sized Great Danes and Saint Bernards.  We were visited by many former residents, whose tail wags reported their happy new lives in their forever homes.

Like a three-ring canine circus, there were events for everyone.  The costume and human-dog lookalike contests were a big draw, while vendor booths offered merchandise, information and even microchips to help lost dogs find their way home.  The food truck kept the crowd well-fed, featuring hot dogs, pizza, drinks and other festival food.

The Canine Crawl depends upon a large cadre of human supporters sprinting to the finish line.  We’d like to thank our sponsors and vendors, our volunteers, and all who attended and contributed to the cause with registration fees and donations.  Without you, our work and the happy endings we see every day would be impossible.

If you attended, we’d love to hear your comments!  And if you couldn’t join us, it’s not too late to make a donation.  Our homeless dogs depend upon you, and send a heartfelt woof of appreciation for all you do!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Ten Reasons to Visit Canine Crawl!

Our biggest fundraiser of the year is Canine Crawl - and it's scheduled for this Sunday, March 17th, at Town Common in Greenville! The weather looks good (fingers crossed), and we can't wait to see you! The 5k begins at 9am (registration begins at 8), and the main event begins at noon. We're going to be there - and here's our top ten reasons why!

1. Canine Crawl is a family friendly St. PAWtrick's Day event!
You can bring your whole family out to Canine Crawl, including your dogs! All of our events are appropriate for all ages.

2. Stay active, with your dog!
Canine Crawl will feature both a 5k and a 1k. If your dog is able, you are encouraged to run with your pooch! Both humans and dogs can benefit from a bit of exercise.

3. Not looking to run? Why not relax instead!
Not much of a runner? No problem! Canine Crawl will also feature the Cat Nap. This means that you can get sponsored to sleep in while everyone else is doing the 5k or the 1k. How awesome is that?

4. Bond with your dog!
Canine Crawl offers a unique environment for you and your dog to bond with one another, whether it be during the races, checking out Vendor Village, or relaxing.

5. Network!
Canine Crawl is a great place to meet new friends. You already know that you have a love of animals in common with the other people present, so really you're just getting to know people who are already your friends. Your dog might want to make some new friends, too!

6. Find a new pet!
The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina will have some our adoptable dogs at Canine Crawl, as will some of the other great rescues who are attending. It's the perfect place to see our dogs outside of our facility, having fun and being social!

7. Microchipping!
Canine Crawl will feature low cost microchipping for your best friend. Most vets and shelters check found dogs for microchips. If your pup ever gets loose, microchipping will ensure that he is returned to you, even if he slipped out of his tags.

8. Vendor Village
Canine Crawl will have the Vendor Village, which will feature wonderful things for sale from dog treats to t-shirts, and much more! Pick up some gifts for loved ones, your pet, or yourself!

9. Be a part of something bigger than yourself.
Show support for The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina and join our family of staff, volunteers, and supporters. By supporting HSEC, you're being a wonderful example of caring and compassion for some of those who need it most.

And the number one reason to go to Canine Crawl is...

The Humane Society of Eastern Carolina is a no kill facility and a non-profit (501c3) organization. We receive no government funding and thus rely on our wonderful supporters and fundraising for support. Canine Crawl is our biggest fundraiser of the year! By supporting HSEC, you're helping us help cats and dogs who all require housing, food, medications, beds, toys, and love.

Help Us Help Them and attend Canine Crawl, March 17th 2013 at the Greenville Town Commons in Greenville, North Carolina! See for more information on times and events!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Canine Crawl 1 Mile Walk

Are you and your canine companion ready to share a leisurely stroll with numerous HSEC friends and supporters? The 13th Annual Canine Crawl will be filled with fun activities for pets and pet people to enjoy while raising awareness and funds to support the Humane Society of Eastern Carolina. 

This year’s Canine Crawl is sure to introduce some competitive spirits with the implementation of the 5k run but for those canines simply striving to crawl, the namesake continues with this year’s 1 Mile Walk. The Canine Crawl 1 Mile Walk will begin at 2:30p.m.  Sunday, March 17th with “day-of” registration opening at noon. Participation will require a $20 donation (which can be collected using or $25 at the registration booth (cash or check only).

With your participation, you will receive a HSEC’s 13th Annual Canine Crawl T-shirt, a goodie bag, and the satisfaction that comes with participating in the HECS’s largest fundraiser of the year! Of course, any additional contribution from you, yourself, or friends & family on your behalf is encouraged.

The 1 Mile Walk course is set to take place at the scenic Greenville Town Commons Park, with start and finish lines strategically placed near the Vendor Village. The 1 Mile Walk is certain to be a fun and memorable time for all people and puppies involved. So come out and participate in the 13th Annual Canine Crawl 1 Mile Walk, the pace is set for comfort and the race is headed towards ample enjoyment!