Category Archives: ACDC News

Zippy’s New Home

Rabbits express joy by doing “binkies.” For those new to rabbits, binkies are when bunnies hop into the air often twisting midair and flicking their feet and heads. (Check out YouTube.) And since Zippy has gone to live with Amanda Mechlin and Mike Crowley in King of Prussia, he has been showboating not only with binkies but with his speed. “He likes it when we sit on the floor with him and he gets very excited and shows off.  He likes to come right up and let us pet him, and then he is off again! He is so fast!” says Amanda.

Zippy lives in Amanda and Mike’s living room where they can enjoy his company.  “It brings us so much joy to watch him run and hop around and do binkies.” When he’s not running around the room he likes to relax in a comfortable laid out position.

Amanda has always had and loved pets, which she feels are part of the family.  Growing up she had rabbits, “I always found them sweet and cute.”

When she saw Zippy’s profile, “I just fell in love with him.  I had never seen a rabbit with such unique colorings and a ‘lion’ mane!” When Amanda showed Zippy to her fiancé, Mike, he declared Zippy was “magnificent.” And the adoption process began.

Amanda describes Zippy as a “very charming little rabbit.” A fan of cilantro and romaine lettuce, Zippy also enjoys blueberries as a treat.

“I love spending our evenings with him. He has just made us so happy, and I can tell he is happy too!”

Amanda and Zippy

Please join the Animal Coalition of Delaware County in our support of the “Make Mine Chocolate Campaign” again this Easter. Rabbits, social but often fragile creatures, do not make good pets for small children.

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Paws 4 a Cause Yappy Hour

After the rush of the holidays, why not take a break? Come out and have a good time with fellow animal-lovers.

The ACDC Paws for a Cause Yappy Hour
Thursday, February 2
5 p.m.-8 p.m.
Generations Restaurant
9 State Road, Media

Tickets will be available at the door for $10.00.

ACDC is thrilled that Ben Singleton, known for his blues-rock style, will be featured at this event. Happy hour-priced drinks, free munchies, an opportunity to win great door and raffle prizes, a 50/50 cash prize, and 10% discounted food will be offered to ACDC guests.

All funds raised will go toward the care of homeless dogs, cats, and rabbits.

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Old Dog, New Tricks

By Nikki Senecal

Curly is an old dog willing to learn new tricks!

We hear it all the time, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” Many people prefer to adopt puppies because they’ll be able to train the animal to have desirable behaviors whereas adult shelter dogs are “defective.” This line of reasoning relies on so many myths.

Recently, Deb DeSantis, trainer from Going to the Dogs was over to show Stella how to use her agility equipment. She told me that she has taught one of her senior dogs to weave through her legs since the dog no longer has the energy for the agility course. Old dog, new trick. Just think of the senior citizens flocking to community college and adult school classes: just because the body is no longer able, doesn’t mean the mind isn’t willing.

Most dogs—86%–end up in the shelter because of the owners’ circumstances rather than pet problems. But when dogs are turned in, it’s usually the energy required to train and exercise any and all dogs that lands them in the shelter. The owner is either unable or unwilling to exercise the dog as much as it needs to be “good.” Definitely a problem of a “defective owner.”

Choosing an adult rescue over a puppy does not guarantee you will never have any problems with your new dog, but it increases the probability that you won’t.  Of course, with any new pet, there is an adjustment period while the dog learns what you expect of it.  An adult dog can be specially chosen for various traits that will make her compatible with you and your situation.

Consider these reasons for adopting an older dog:

  1. Puppies poop and pee frequently. Puppies can only be expected to “hold it” for short periods.  A two month old puppy will probably need to go out every three hours around the clock. If no one is at home during the day, consider an adult dog. Puppies need to have consistent schedules for feeding, watering, and being let out to for bathroom breaks. Adult dogs are often housetrained, and they have adult bladders.
  2. Puppies chew. Our pup thought of us as human chew toys in the early stages; it took a lot of training to redirect her behavior. I’ve heard of puppies chewing baseboards and drywall, couches, shoes, and clothing. An adult dog is past the teething stage and is more discerning in what he’ll chew. Give an adult dog chew toys and bones to keep him occupied.
  3. Puppies aren’t done yet. An adult dog is what it is; you know her size, temperament, personality, energy level, and relationship with children, other dogs, and cats. With puppies — especially puppies whose heritage is unknown — you never know. If you need to be sure about what you are getting, get an adult. Shelters are full of dogs who became the “wrong” match as they grew up—but who may be right for you whether that is large or small; active or sedentary; sweet or brilliant.  Further, our foster parents can help guide you in choosing just the right match for you.
  4. Puppies need lots of vet care. Veterinary bills for a puppy are more expensive than for an adult dog. All those trips to the vet for puppy inoculations really add up.  Adult dogs are usually already spayed or neutered and have had all their vaccines; a healthy adult should only need to go to the vet once a year.
  5. Puppies are distractible. Adult dogs are better able to focus, and this helps during training. Although puppies can and should be trained, trainers will tell you it’s often easier to train an older dog. Adult dogs are more likely to already have some training from the rescue organization because it makes them more attractive to potential adopters.
  6. Puppies have a ton of energy and need hours and hours of play time. Adult dogs are still playful  but an hour or two of activity can really wear them out.
  7. Puppies must learn to play with kids. Puppies and children are not always a good match—puppies can be more easily injured by children and rambunctious puppies haven’t learned how to play with small humans, and are more likely to hurt or scare children. Children should always be supervised with animals but many adult dogs have figured out little kids aren’t little dogs.
  8. Puppies are very social. Pups are used to being with their litter mates. Time alone can be very stressful for them. Adult dogs still need companionship, but they can tolerate time alone better and they sleep through the night.
  9. Puppies need to grow up. Adult dogs are ready to be your companion now—you don’t have to wait for them to grow up to go to the dog park (after they have all their shots), to go on hikes, to go jogging (after a year, depending on the size of the dog), to travel. With an adult rescue, you select the dog most compatible with you.  You can find one that travels well, loves to play with your friends’ dogs, has the energy for jogging or long hikes, etc.
  10. Puppies can stress out your adult animals. Do you already have a dog or cat that needs a companion? An adult dog that is good with other animals is a better choice than an energetic, exuberant puppy who has to be trained to enjoy the company of other animals. It may be stressful for your animals while the new pup learns.
  11. Puppies aren’t the only ones with time on their paws. Adult dogs have years of life ahead of them. All but the largest breeds average over 10 years. And in the US and UK, mixed breed dogs average 13.2 yrs.

Most people get swept away by puppy love because those little faces are so cute and their awkwardness is endearing.  People come to shelters looking for puppies, so shelter pups have a better chance of being adopted than most adult dogs. But for many of us, adult dogs make the perfect companions. If a senior dog is right for you, please check out Curly.

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Filed under Adopting A Dog, Animals in our care, Pet Tips - Dogs, Uncategorized

Feline Diabetes Part II: Treat, Manage, Control

How The Sugar Cat Got His Mojo Back!

In part one of our article on feline diabetes, we examined the types of diabetes, symptoms to watch for, and what to expect during a vet visit. Now we are ready to discuss the treatment options, the various types of insulin, and how you can do your own home monitoring of your cat’s blood glucose levels–saving you time, trips to the vet,  and money, not to mention less stress for your cat!

1: Proper Diet without question is the first order of business in management of diabetes. Cats are “obligate carnivores.” Obligate carnivores may eat other foods, such as vegetables, grains, or fruit, but they must eat meat as the main source of their nutrients. Cats who regularly consume a diet of poor-quality, highly processed, carbohydrate-rich food are on the fast track to becoming diabetic. The appropriate diet for a diabetic cat is a diet that is very low in carbs, low to moderate in fat, and high in proteins. (Sort of an “Atkins” diet for cats–the “Catkins” diet!)

Veterinarians usually prescribe a veterinary diet such as Purina DM, or Hills W/D or M/D. Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM, a veterinarian who has done extensive research on feline diabetes, also suggests that several very good commercially-made wet foods that will meet a diabetic cat’s needs. Many varieties of Fancy Feastcanned food meet the high protein/low carb requirements–plus the cat enjoys eating the food as it is very tasty. Blue Buffalo also produces an excellent food called “Blue Wilderness” that is mostly meat, high in protein, and low in carbs.

Sometimes merely putting the cat on the recommended diet is enough to “kick-start” the cat’s pancreas  into producing insulin, and thus avoid having to inject insulin. However, this is not always the case with cats in a more acute stage such as cats with Type I diabetes.

2: Proper Insulin is essential in managing blood glucose levels. There are several types of insulin currently in use by veterinarians. Protamine zinc insulin (PZI, or Pro-Zinc) is a very effective insulin primarily due to the fact that it is animal-based, comprised of beef and pork insulin molecules which more closely resemble natural feline insulin. It can be given at 6-12 hour intervals, allowing for good control of the diabetic cat. Other insulins currently in use include Humulin insulin, Lantus (glargine), or Levemir. Although these are all products geared for use in humans, studies have shown them to be effective in veterinary use. Your veterinarian will choose an insulin that is appropriate for your particular cat. Proper insulin syringes are important as well as they come in many different sizes and gauges. Your veterinarian will determine the appropriate size for the type of insulin for your cat.

Insulin syringes have a very thin, tiny needle and it is really very easy to inject into your cat. The insulin must be refrigerated, and it must always be mixed prior to giving an injection. This is not done by shaking the bottle, as insulin is fragile and you can damage the insulin that way. “Mix” insulin by taking the bottle, placing it between the palms of our two hands, and very gently rolling the bottle between our palms. Then we can draw the insulin from the bottle with the syringe and inject. Your veterinarian will show you how and where to give the injections. Typically it’s done further back around the hips or flank or, ideally, on the sides of the stomach. Try to rotate sites also, because repeated injections in the same site can cause a “granuloma” or knot of tissue that has poor blood supply.

3: Tight Management of Blood Glucose is the third component in managing your cat’s diabetes-and this is why home blood glucose testing has become so effective, and essential. For around $20, a blood glucose meter–just like people use–can be purchased at your local pharmacy. The most expensive part of home monitoring is the test strips for the meter. Each different meter manufacturer requires their own test strips to be used, they are not interchangeable. It pays to shop around, and some of the best pricing can be found on diabetic supply websites such as AmericanDiabetesWholesale.com.

Testing a diabetic cat

Cats can grow accustomed to having their blood sugar monitored.

Now, how exactly do you test your cat? We use the outer portion of their ear. The outer edge of a cat’s ear has very thin skin; it’s very easy to “lance” that spot of their ear. You do not need much blood, only about a drop the size of a pinhead. Once you have a droplet, then you take the meter with the test strip, dip the test strip in the droplet, and you will get a reading in about 5 seconds. Your veterinarian should be able to have one of their technicians demonstrate this for you as most veterinarians keep blood glucose meters in their offices. There is also an excellent video demonstration on YouTube.

By monitoring your cat’s blood glucose levels on a regular basis, you can see the gradual change in their daily levels, enter the readings into a log book or setup a spreadsheet in Excel, and review the readings with your vet. We followed this protocol with Miss Garfield, the diabetic cat I am fostering. When she was initially diagnosed with diabetes in October of 2010, her glucose levels were literally off the chart. When I first began testing her, her readings were over 600. Our veterinarian began with a regimen of 5 units of PZI insulin 2x per day. I was then testing her daily, and as our readings began to drop, we were able to adjust her insulin appropriately.

As of April 1, 2011 her readings were consistently in the 75-150 range so we took her off insulin–and she has been off ever since. I test her now about once a week just to make sure she’s maintaining normal levels. We are managing her with diet alone, she does not get stressed at all about doing the readings as she is used to it, and we save countless trips to the vet!

Editor’s Note added 7/20/11: Even though PZI and Humulin are very popular insulin protocols, we’d like to make note of the fact that not every insulin has to be mixed, in particular Lantus or Levemir insulin. When using either Lantus or Levemir, do not roll, shake or mix the insulin in any way. They are gentle, long lasting insulins that work great, in fact Lantus is one of the mostly widely prescribed insulins right now for feline diabetes, but if you roll or shake the vial, you will degrade the insulin and render it ineffective.
And thanks to Jennifer from FelineDiabetes.com for the reminder!

 

Acknowledgement to the following websites for valuable information:Feline Diabetes, Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkin’s website, Your Diabetic Cat, and Dr. Lisa Pierson’s website, Cat Info.

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Filed under Animals in our care, Foster Parents, Pet Tips - Cats

Older is Wiser

Frida is a well-mannered adult.

My friend the primatologist once told me that young mammals appear cute to humans so that we’ll take care of them. (We evolved to appreciate the “cute” characteristics rather than the other way around.) Who doesn’t want to cuddle a kitten or rub the belly of a new puppy?

This is part of what makes older animals so hard to adopt. They no longer possess the attributes (big heads, playfulness, clumsy maneuvers, etc) that pull on our heartstrings. When kittens fill up the shelters, older cats are often sacrificed to make room for the “more adoptable” kittens, and by older, we mean cats sometimes as young as one—those who’ve lost their kitten-appeal.

But there are many good reasons to adopt older cats:

  • Adult cats are neutered and have had their shots; they are generally trained to use a litter box
  • What you see is what you get—you know what the cat will look like, what her size will be, and what her personality is.
  • Whether teething or just exploring, kittens can be very destructive chewers. Adult cats typically chew less, if at all.
  • Kittens tend to get into much more trouble. They climb you or your curtains, fall from high places, and knock over collectibles like your mother’s Belleek (ask me how I know). Adult cats have manners.
  • Older cats require less time and energy. Give them some quality time each day, but not your entire day. They are usually content to curl with you and snuggle in for a long nap.
  • While adult cats groom, kittens are just too busy exploring to clean themselves properly.
  • Adult cats may sleep with you or in their own cosy spot but they are generally happy to sleep when you do. Kittens often run around through the night, doing anything possible to wake you up for fun and games.

Relinquished cats aren’t “defective” There are lots of reasons cats ends up in shelters: family members developed allergies, or the owner is moving to assisted living, or the landlord said the cat has to go. They weren’t bad cats; they were just with the wrong people. But an adult cat might be the right cat for your family:

  • For homes with small children: a young adult. Little kids are often much too rough with kittens. Adult cats are better equipped to deal with kids. The wily cats can generally escape from children and hide.
  • For working people: young adult cat. Kittens become bored and mischievous when left home alone, but older cats know how to entertain themselves.
  • For senior human: senior cat. Older cats often end up in shelters because their human companions have died, and no relatives or friends wanted to take them in.  Senior cats are perfect for senior citizens who might pre-decease a younger cat.
  • For a household with a senior cat mourning a companion: another senior cat. A natural choice because older cats don’t tolerate the stress of a new kitten. With careful introduction, you can find companionship for your aging cats.

Older cats are grateful for a second chance at a loving home, and when you adopt them that gratitude is showered on you. If a senior cat is right for you, please check out Maggie; if a young adult will complete your home, consider FridaBlaze, or Marcus.

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Filed under Adopted Animals, Adopting a Cat, Pet Tips - Cats, Uncategorized

Hot Bun in the Summertime

Cory is available for adoption.

Lori Vear, ACDC Rabbit Director, is hot and bothered. She’s working hard to get pet rabbits indoors during the summer. “Outdoor hutch bunnies face life-threatening conditions. Rabbits do not tolerate heat well, and high humidity combined with temperatures over 80 degrees can kill a rabbit,” Lori explains.

High temperatures can cause a rabbit to suffer from heat exhaustion. Rabbit sweat glands are located in their lips, which are not very effective in dispelling heat. Bunnies cannot easily pant when hot, compounding the problem. As the temperature rises, rabbits tend to drink less water, causing dehydration, and then they do not pant at all. Unsurprisingly, Lori’s on a mission to get people to keep rabbits indoors in air conditioned environments.

She offers these tips to help pet rabbits who must stay outdoors survive the heat:

  • Keep the hutch in complete shade and in a breezy area.
  • Fill clean, empty plastic soda bottles with water, freeze them, and put them in the hutch for the rabbit to lie against. Replace often.
  • Provide plenty of cool, fresh drinking water.
  • Know the DANGER SIGNS: A bunny who is listless, stretched out, panting, or drooling is in a state of emergency. Bring him inside, rinse his ears with room-temperature water, offer him a drink of water, and get him to a vet immediately.

Still, Lori and many others believe that rabbits are pets best kept indoors. “Indoor rabbits are affectionate, playful, and easily litter box trained.”

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ACDC Night Out at Iron Hill, Media July 12th!

We are teaming up with Iron Hill Media for a night out on the town!  If you bring the following coupon to Iron Hill on Tuesday, July 12th from 5 – 10 pm, 20% of your meal is donated to ACDC.  Alcohol is excluded in the donation, but what a great excuse to order some of their yummy nachos, scallops and oatmeal cake!   What are some of your favorites at Iron Hill?

Be sure to print out the pdf version which is posted here.

Directions to Iron Hill, Media are here.

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Fostering versus Sheltering: Why Adopt an ACDC Pet

by Nikki Senecal

photo by Ezgisu Atacan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

You’ve seen the signs in the neighborhood: “Free kittens.” Dogs come inexpensively on Craig’s List. Back in the day when classrooms had furry pets like guinea pigs, your kid might bring one home for the summer. There are still many ways to get a free pet, so why would anyone pay adoption fees?

What makes ACDC’s animals stand out among the others?

  • A Known Quantity: All ACDC animals are tested for dealing with other species as well as with human children. Even before Fido is plucked from the shelter, he or she has been rigorously tested for signs of aggression. Because ACDC’s dogs have been with a foster family for an average of 60 days, there are humans who can tell you about the schedules and quirks of your new friend. One foster parent even sends her charges to their new homes with a complete dossier. Since animals can’t talk, you’re way ahead on understanding your new friend. Priceless.
  • A Healthy Animal: no pet will be adopted out who is on (temporary) medication until they have completed their course of treatment, or have had their medical issues stabilized. You only have to read the story of Nellie to see that ACDC takes the time to ensure an animal’s health prior to adoption.
  •  Socialization: the animals ACDC rescues learn to interact with humans, other animals, and new places as warranted. Dogs who are properly socialized are less likely to be aggressive or fearful. Cats who are handled regularly learn to interact with humans in a satisfying way.  Isn’t that worth paying for?
  • Training: Foster parents want an animal who is housebroken as much as you do, and they work hard to train this behavior in puppies and kittens. Older dogs might learn new tricks from their foster parents. This type of training teaches dogs to be happy and confident. Knowing tricks can help calm energetic dogs and teach them to redirect undesirable behavior.
ACDC can’t claim our animals are perfect, but they’re headed down the right path. What is that worth to you?

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Filed under Adopted Animals, Adopting a Cat, Adopting A Dog, Foster Parents

Back By Popular Demand! BINGO Night!

bingo flier

The Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) will host its third Bingo Night event on Saturday, May 7th at the Redwood Community Center (280 6th Street) in Brookhaven, Pa. Doors will open at 5:00 p.m. and early arrival is suggested as space is limited. Up to $700 is cash prizes will be awarded throughout the evening in addition to raffle prizes from such supportive Delaware County business as Local Home and Gifts, W.F. Beardsley, Fergy’s Hair Salon, Oasis Fun Center, Seven Stones Café, Earth and State, Pinocchio’s, Pet Pro Nanny, and Stoney Creek Veterinary. All proceeds from this family-fun event will go towards helping homeless animals.

There will be 20 Bingo games played throughout the evening with an entry fee of $15 that includes one Bingo book and two raffle tickets. Additional Bingo books can be purchased for $5 and additional raffle tickets for $1 each or 15 for $10. Snacks and beverages will also be available for purchase; again with proceeds going directly to helping the animals in ACDC’s care find loving, permanent homes.

By hosting Bingo Night and other community fundraisers, ACDC is able to provide much-needed veterinary care to homeless animals that are waiting to find their “Fur-Ever” homes. This includes FIV-testing, spay or neutering (if old enough), vaccinations, and more. This coupled with the organization’s more personal approach of placing animals in foster care rather than in a shelter, ensures that all animals adopted through ACDC are as happy and healthy as possible as they begin their lives with their adoptive families.

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ACDC Teams Up With Make Mine Chocolate™ To Bring Awareness About the Reality of Easter Rabbit Adoptions

The Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) and Make Mine Chocolate™ are encouraging local residents to re-consider hasty rabbit adoptions this Easter season. Every year, pet rabbits are bought or rescued to be given as Easter gifts, only to be returned or dropped off at over-crowded humane societies or worse yet, abandoned outside to fight off predators, cars, injuries and illness. According to some estimates, 90 percent of rabbits brought into American homes for the spring holiday will end up euthanized. This unfortunate trend could be avoided with proper research and careful consideration. Rabbits make wonderful, loving pets but they are also fragile creatures that require some extra attention. And because of their fragility, rabbits are not recommended for households with small children. Easter-time marketing campaigns and movies like “Hop” may have parents thinking otherwise and that now is a perfect time to adopt a pet rabbit, but following are some tips and information to consider before choosing between a live animal or the Cadbury variety.

A Rabbits Life:

“Rabbits can live up to 10 years and require as much care and attention as dogs and cats,” says ACDC Rabbit Director Lori Busch. Along with this commitment come the daily requirements for exercise and grooming. Rabbits need several hours of daily exercise and should be provided with an exercise pen. Homes should also be rabbit-proof as rabbits have a natural instinct to chew. Rugs, drapes, table legs and electrical cords are all easy picking for a roaming rabbit. Rabbits also shed and unlike cats, hairballs can be a serious health risk. Owners should be prepared to brush their rabbit every day with a flea comb or slicker brush. Additionally, rabbits need to have their nails trimmed every eight weeks. Pet rabbits are very much companion animals and require daily love, attention, and playtime with their human counterparts.

Rabbits are famous for their reproductive abilities and can have multiple litters of up to nine young, known as “kittens”, each year. ACDC recommends spay and neutering for all of its adopted animals including rabbits. Altered rabbits are healthier and live longer by eliminating cancer and are less prone to aggression. Rabbits can begin reproducing as early as 4 months of age, so altering a rabbit as it reaches maturity will prevent a lifetime of overpopulation. An experienced rabbit veterinarian should always perform spaying and neutering and rabbits require annual vet check-ups to ensure proper health.

Rabbits are also ground-based, which is great for pet owners who prefer not to have pets on the countertops or jumping into the laps of houseguests, but it also means they may not enjoy being held in person’s (adult or child) arms for long-periods of time. Rabbit.org also suggests that the “natural exuberance, rambunctiousness, and decibel-level of the average toddler is stressful for most rabbits.” Calm homes make for calm rabbits.

Rabbit Resources:

In addition the Animal Coalition of Delaware County website and blog, the House Rabbit Society offers a comprehensive guide to rabbit care and information. MakeMineChocolate.org is also an excellent resource to bring awareness about springtime rabbit adoptions and ways to help.

What You Can Do:

There are several ways you can help, but prevention is the main thrust of the Make Mine Chocolate™ campaign. Awareness of what it means to own a rabbit for a pet, or any animal for that matter, is a huge step towards preventing unwanted and abandoned pets.

Other ways you can get involved are through our volunteer programs, through fostering, by donating and of course through adoption.

When you adopt through ACDC, you open up your home and lives not only to a pet truly in need of your care, but to a community invested in insuring a successful transition. Both you and your new family member will be apart of our caring and supportive community.

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Filed under ACDC News, Pet Tips - Rabbits