Tag Archives: adopting a dog

ACDC Adoptables Strut Their Stuff at Seventh Annual Animal Law Conference

By Loren Ellis

The Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) recently participated in the Pennsylvania Bar Institute Animal Law Conference for the third year. Gail Griffin and I, ably assisted by Joe Boyle and Lori Busch on their breaks from work, manned the ACDC table. We brought three wonderful black kittens with us, as well as Curly, our senior cocker spaniel.  

Jimmy flirting with a conference attendee

Jimmy was the most vocal kitty. While the presenters were talking about hot topics for shelters and Pennsylvania wildlife law, Jimmy purred so loudly he turned heads half way across the conference room. Gail took him out of the crate so as not to disturb the speakers. He ate up the attention.

Then a woman from Buzzy’s Bow Wow Meow asked to hold Jimmy and actually held and played with him at her table for much of the morning. After an afternoon nap, another exhibitor asked to hold him. There’s no doubt in my mind that Jimmy is a very bright kitty who knows how to work his magic and get attention.

Chevelle and his sister Corolla kept each other company in a crate of their own. Chevelle wasn’t quite sure if Corolla cleaned up enough for the special event, so he gave her a tongue bath during the early part of the conference. She was looking good by lunchtime when everyone came to see her. Gail took each kitty out of the crate for a little while, and they worked the crowd.

Curly behaved perfectly at the Law Conference!

Curly was a big hit at the conference. He greeted everyone and got along fine with the other dogs and cats, never once barking. He seemed intrigued by little Lucy the poodle from PAWS and pulled toward her a few times.

Curly helped us keep the room clean by picking up all the crumbs off the floor. He was a big fan of the muffin crumbs and bagel crumbs but did not care much for the all-vegan lunch. He was not the only one. Curly rode a freight elevator, probably for the first time ever, to get outside and do his business and was not deterred by what felt like an amusement park ride or the lack of grass in Center City. 

All in all it was an educational and fun day. Each of the four animals behaved incredibly well during this all-day event. We had the opportunity to showcase some of our great animals available for adoption, tell the public about ACDC, and spread the word about our upcoming bingo event.

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Fun & Games

By Nikki Senecal

Stella has wonderful parents who have found ways to channel her high energy!

Our Stella is part border collie. You can’t really tell by looking at her, but her high energy level gives her heritage away! We’ve had to come up with some ways to help her burn off her energy when the weather prevents a visit to the dog park or the sun has gone down (and her energy level has gone up).

  • Obedience Class – You can (and should!) continue to review the exercises you do in obedience class at home. A few sessions of 10-15 minutes each day will help redirect some energy. Start with exercises that require more movement like “touch,” “heel,” and “spin.” (Spin is very easy to teach. This link provides good direction.) Move on to less physical tasks like “leave it,” “sit-stay,” and “down-stay” once some of their energy has been released.

  • Hide and Seek – Once your dog has reliable recall, this game can be fun for the whole family. One family member holds the dog while the other(s) hides somewhere in the house. The hider then calls for the dog, “Stella! Come!”—or if your dog knows other commands, alternate. (We use “treat, treat, treat”—but if you use this one, you always have to have a treat!) Dogs have a harder time establishing where a sound is coming from than humans do, so if your dog seems confused call her name again or say “here” so she can locate you. Don’t repeat the command. Give her a small reward when she finds you. Two or more family members can move about the house hiding in different rooms. Hint: if you have a second floor, be sure to get the dog running up and down the stairs as much as possible! (Also, if your dog is afraid of the bathroom, she will still be afraid of the bathroom while you are playing this game. Don’t hide in there!)
  • Fun Agility – You may not have the time or inclination to compete in agility trials with your dog, but that’s no reason you can’t practice agility. All it takes is a couple of buckets and a leftover piece of quarter round to make an agility jump for your dog (ask me how I know). Teach your dog “over,” and she’ll have a new trick to keep her occupied. A hoola hoop can substitute for a tire jump (depending on the size of your dog). A 40” square table from the thrift shop can function as a pause table and some stakes can make a weave course. Click here for more details.
  • Three Card Monte – Dogs are the only other mammals besides humans who reliably understand pointing. Place a treat under a cup and put it in a lineup with other cups. Point the dog in the right direction and see if he can “find” his treat. Of course, the nose knows! (In this case, unlike three card monte version humans play in the street, spread the cups apart so that it’s easier to locate the smell of the treat.)
  • Working Hard for Her Dinner Treat dispensing toys offer an intellectual—and physical—puzzle for Fido. Anything you can do to get pet dogs thinking will help transfer their energy. Two that you can find at our house include the Kong Stuff-a-Ball and the Omega Tricky Treat Ball. The BusterCube comes recommended as well.

Recommended Reading
Two books that are in our library include:


Filed under Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Dogs

What Have We Done?

Obedience training can help ease the transition of a new puppy....for both the puppy and the new human parent!

By Nikki Senecal

Editor’s Note: Nikki Senecal and her husband adopted Stella from the Animal Coalition of Delaware County last year.  

At Stella’s first vet visit just days after we adopted her, the doctor declared, “Your dog has behavioral problems.” I replied that we had enrolled her in obedience classes. I was hurt by this diagnosis but completely unsurprised by it. My husband and I had spent the evenings with a dog who basically thought of us as human chew toys. What had we done? 

I told this story to my sister who rescued her dog 11 years ago. She revealed that she had similar doubts for the first few months. In fact, when I was telling this story to a group of ACDC volunteers, one admitted that she wondered what they had done when the dog got in the car to go home with them!  

Whether your cat is pooping on your bed, or your rabbit has chewed through PVC pipe flooding your bathroom, or your guinea pig is waking the kids from their naps, pets don’t always behave perfectly, especially in the early stages of a new relationship.  

While every adoption is different, there are some steps we can take to make them happy and successful.  

  • Talk to other adopters. I can’t tell you how relieved I was when my sister said she had doubts about her dog. Sometimes all you need to know is that the adjustment to the new pet is just as hard for other people as it is for you!
  • Attend obedience training. Not only will your dog learn some basic manners, but you will learn how to respond better to your dog. The classes will help build trust between you. Finally, dogs like to have a job and need intellectual stimulation as well as physical exercise. Obedience training helps with this too.
  • Get specialized training. Stella’s mouthiness wasn’t being addressed in our obedience class. That’s when we hired a certified professional dog trainer. Knowing how to respond to Stella made our evenings much more relaxing.
  • Restrict your pet’s space. Put the cat, its food, and litter box in one room until she begins to get used to her new home.
  • Smells of home. If your new pet comes to you with a bed or toy, continue to use it as a “security blanket.”


Filed under Adopting A Dog, Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Dogs

The Temperature’s Rising

Stella taught her mom just how much the heat can affect dogs by refusing to walk during a walk!

By Nikki Senecal

We adopted Stella from the Animal Coalition of Delaware County in late June last year. One day in August, on our regular morning walk, she lay down and simply refused to get up. It was hot, but it didn’t occur to me that my little black dog was even hotter! We cut our 45-minute walks down to 30 when the temperature was over 80 degrees per the vet’s recommendation. (Black animals are particularly susceptible to heat.) Symptoms of overheating in pets include:  

  • Excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • A deep red or purple tongue
  • White gums
  • Increased heart and respiratory rate
  • Drooling
  • Mild weakness, stupor, or even collapse.

They can also include seizures, bloody diarrhea and vomit along with a temperature over 104 degrees.  Animals exhibiting these symptoms should see a vet as soon as possible. Fortunately for us, Stella knows how to let us know she’s too hot.

When the temperature rises, Stella gets ice cubes in her water. (Though there have been reports of bloat being associated with ice cubes, there seems to be no firm documentation. Know the signs of bloat and know your dog!)  Ice cubes in a cat’s bowl may help interest them in drinking. Sometimes cats will stop drinking when they need to most. 

Neither domestic rabbits nor guinea pigs tolerate extreme temperatures well. They should be kept indoors.   

Other recommendations for the warmer weather:    

  • Make sure pets have access to shade if they are outside.
  • Keep pets indoors if the temperature soars.
  • Beware of high-rise syndrome (pets falling through open windows). Make sure screens are fastened and unscreened windows are closed.
  • Don’t walk your pet on hot asphalt which can raise their body temperatures and burn paw pads.
  • Brush your cats more frequently in hot weather to keep them cool.

And of course, never leave your pets in the car on warm days. Even at 70 degrees, your car can become as hot as an oven in as little as thirty minutes.  


Filed under Adopting A Dog, Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Dogs

Big Changes for a Little Guy

ACDC Foster Mom Jennifer Citrone with ChuChu, who she is currently fostering

“I want to provide Chu Chu with a fun, happy, positive environment while he is here—something he didn’t have before,” shares Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) Foster Mom Jennifer Citrone. At the moment, Jennifer is fostering Chu Chu, a tiny five-pound Chihuahua, who was found fending for himself in an abandoned apartment in North Philadelphia.

Chu Chu hadn’t been well cared for. For starters, when he was rescued, his nails were so long that they were almost growing back into his little paw pads. In addition, when Chu Chu arrived at Jennifer’s home, he was sneezing a bit and by the next day, his sneezing had gotten worse. He also began coughing. Jennifer took him to Stoney Creek Veterinary Hospital, where he was diagnosed with an upper respiratory infection and given medication.

Animals like Chu Chu who are rescued by ACDC are cared for by an approved ACDC foster parent in that person’s own home 24/7. ACDC foster parents provide love, attention, socialization, food, and other essentials to their foster animals until their permanent, adoptive families are found. The cost of vet care for the animals is covered by the organization, not the foster parents. Chu Chu will stay with Jennifer until he is over his illness and then he will be available for adoption.

Things are definitely looking up for little Chu Chu and we are certain that he will have no trouble finding his furever family soon thanks to his devoted foster mom! “I love being able to provide dogs with a positive place to stay,” shares Jennifer, who has fostered three dogs for ACDC thus far. “ACDC is also one of the smaller organizations and every one involved genuinely cares for animals. We’re not in it for the money—we’re in it for the satisfaction of finding the animals we foster a wonderful new home.” Learn more about fostering for ACDC. To read more about Chu Chu, click here.

August Update: Chu Chu was adopted in May and is doing great. His new mom, who renamed him Tucker, reports that he has settled in fully to his new digs. He has his own little beds all over the house, as well as friends at the park across the street where they go for walks every day! Also, his adoptive mom shares that he goes everywhere with her in his doggy bag!

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