Tag Archives: pet adoption

Life Is Like A Song

After two years in ACDC's care, Charlie found his forever home, where he is clearly quite content!

By Nikki Senecal

Two years is a long time to wait, but Charlie (aka Charlie Choo) has, at last, found his forever home!

When Charlie came to the Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC), he was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), a blood disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks and kills its own red blood cells. At diagnosis, Charlie weighed just over seven pounds, was severely jaundiced, and was not eating. He went home with Kim Butler, ACDC’s cat director, because she, unfortunately, had direct experience dealing with her own cat’s IMHA.

Cats with IMHA have to get blood drawn regularly to check “packed cell volume” (PCV). Normal cats fall into the range of 37-44, Kim explained. Charlie’s PCV was as low as 19; while not good, he wasn’t a candidate for blood transfusions. With medication, paid for through donations to ACDC, Charlie’s numbers eventually fell into the normal range.

When he was adopted he had been off all medication for three months. Still, Kim says, “he will still need his blood checked every few months to make sure he’s holding at a stable pace.”

At Last
Enter Melissa Lane, a volunteer at the PetSmart at Marple Crossroads. Melissa became involved with ACDC after her feline companion of 10 years, Alice, passed away due to kidney failure. At that time, she was moving in with her boyfriend, Stephen Hostetter, and his dogs, and says, “I pretty much gave up on the idea of having a cat because of the dogs.” So she decided instead to volunteer to help find homes for cats to satisfy her desire to be around cats. “At first, volunteering made me sad, but after a few times, I really enjoyed getting to know the cats there.”

Melissa came to know Charlie during her shifts at the adoption center. “I knew that Charlie was a sweet, mellow, beautiful cat. I also felt a lot of compassion for Charlie because I knew that it would take him longer to find a permanent home because of his previous health problems.” Melissa felt he deserved a good home. She even knew of one: hers. But she worried about mixing dogs and cats.

One Sunday afternoon, that changed. “Karen Bates was in the center trimming Charlie’s nails and cleaning his ears, and we got to talking about the possibility of having a cat in a house with two young huskies. She told me about having the dogs cat-tested and the rest is history!” In order for Melissa and Stephen to adopt a cat, the cat would have to be an adult with previous experience with dogs. Fortunately for Charlie, he fit that description and all the pieces fell into place for an adoption.

Melissa didn’t have misgivings about adopting a cat with such a rare medical condition (it’s more common in dogs than cats). “Charlie was given a clean bill of health, and I knew that if he had any other health issues, they would be addressed immediately.”

A Thrill to Press My Cheek To
Because Charlie has such a loud purr, Melissa and Stephen joke that “he has a V8 engine in his chest.” He’s also quite a talker, “He has one drawn out meow that sounds like ‘heellloooooooooo!’” Melissa explains. At five, Charlie still plays with the energy of a kitten. He also enjoys company when he eats. “Sometimes he’ll meow at me until I join him,” Melissa reports. “Charlie is not exactly a lap cat yet, but at night, he curls up to sleep next to my head on my pillow or sleeps belly up, legs up nestled up to my torso.”

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Filed under ACDC News, Adopted Animals

JoJo Comes Home!

Lynette and JoJo

U.S. Airways Flight Attendant Lynette Siple arrives at Philadelphia International Airport with JoJo in hand!

Earlier this month, the Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC) learned that JoJo, who had been adopted through ACDC two years ago had been surrendered to Cumberland County Animal Services in Fayetteville, N.C. The shelter contacted ACDC after scanning JoJo for a microchip. The microchip’s registration had never been changed and thus, JoJo’s owner came up as ACDC.

ACDC is incredibly grateful to Danielle Dumas and all of the staff members at Cumberland County Animal Services for not only taking the time to scan JoJo, but to also contact and work with ACDC. The shelter could only keep JoJo for 10 days. ACDC wanted to ensure JoJo had a long and happy life and knew they had to do something. But what? They put an e-mail plea out to all of their supporters for help.

Enter Lynette Siple of Drexel Hill, Pa., a U.S. Airways Flight Attendant and animal lover. Lynette offered to fly JoJo home with her! On her day off last Thursday (October 7), while in-between flights, Siple picked JoJo up at the shelter in North Carolina, took him to a vet for vaccines so that he would be cleared to fly, and then boarded a U.S. Airways flight bound for Philadelphia with JoJo! JoJo even got to fly first class with Siple in some very comfy seats.

Kim Butler, ACDC’s Cat Department Director, met Siple and JoJo at the airport, where there was great celebration! Though JoJo was a little spooked from his busy day, he came through with flying colors. Butler took JoJo to Stoney Creek Veterinary Hospital, where he was given a full examination and brought up to date on his vaccinations. JoJo will soon be reunited with Karen Chaya of Drexel Hill, who was his ACDC foster mom two years ago before he was adopted. JoJo will be available for adoption in two weeks. This time, he truly hopes to find the family that will care for him forever! Thank goodness for JoJo’s many guardian angels, especially Lynette Siple, Danielle Dumas, and Cumberland County Animal Services!

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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:

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Filed under Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Dogs

Part II: Déjà vu – What To Ask When Buying Pet Insurance

Advances in veterinary medicine have made caring for a sick pet more possible than ever, but the cost can be prohibitive.

By Kim Cavallero

Here are the promised tips on purchasing pet insurance from our April 9 blog post on pet insurance.

About Pet Insurance: Most people think they will never need it. But, if your pet becomes ill or has an accident, pet insurance can save his or her life. Advances in veterinary medicine have made it possible to treat chronic conditions such as cancer and kidney disease, but that care doesn’t come cheap. In the last five years, veterinary costs have risen more than 70%.

Some pet parents are put in terrible situations where they have to make difficult decisions such as their pet needing a life-saving treatment that they cannot afford. Pet insurance can prevent that from happening. Save yourself from that heartbreaking scenario by purchasing pet insurance now.

Following the tips below, you will find a list of pet insurance companies to consider when purchasing a policy. Most pet insurance companies’ websites give you the opportunity to submit some basic information and receive a quote online. You can also visit this site to receive quotes from several different companies by submitting your information once. Choosing the right company depends on your needs. Be sure to read reviews and ratings pet insurance policy owners have given. This could be your best source of information when choosing a company. My research found that Philadelphia’s Pet Plan was best for me and my kitties. You can also compare insurance plans for cats and dogs.

Why do I need pet insurance now?
While buying pet insurance now, as your pet is perfectly healthy, may seem like a waste of money, accidents and illnesses can happen at any time. If you do not insure your pet before something happens, many companies will not insure you after the fact or they may insure you, but not cover the condition for which your pet is currently suffering, considering it pre-existing.

What kind of coverage should I look for?
Coverage varies among the different companies offering insurance. Some companies cover accidents, illnesses, injuries, and/or routine care (i.e., annual vet visit, vaccinations), and even offer reimbursement for death benefits or a reward for a lost pet. You’ll need to determine which type of coverage is best for you. In addition, most companies have several different plans from which to choose.

Be sure to ask about exclusions. For example, some companies do not cover hereditary, congenital, or breed specific problems. Depending on the type of animal you have, this could be crucial.

What are the company’s payout limits?
Some companies will only pay up to a specified amount to cover treatment for an illness or injury, which means that once the limit is reached, you will probably have to pay for the remainder of your pet’s treatment from your own pocket. Companies usually limit the amount they will pay per year, per incident/injury, or per your pet’s lifetime. Figure out which is best for you.

How much is the deductible and how is it calculated?
Find out how much your deductible will be, as well as whether that deductible is per incident, per illness/injury, or per year.

  • Per incident means that anytime you take your pet to be seen, even if it’s for a follow-up visit to an illness they’ve already been seen for, you will pay your deductible before anything is covered.
  • Per illness/injury means you will only pay the deductible the first time your pet is treated for that illness or injury.
  • Per year means you will only need to pay the deductible once per year. For example, if your deductible is $100, once you meet that deducible, the company will pay for any additional care based on your reimbursement limits.

Will the company increase your policy based on your pet’s age?
Ask if your policy premium (the amount you pay each year) will be increased as your pet ages and if so, by how much. Some companies may insure your kitten or puppy for very little, but as your pet ages, may significantly increase the cost of your policy each time it renews.

How much does the company cover for your pet to see a specialist or visit an emergency clinic?
Some pet insurance companies will reimburse less if your pet needs to visit an emergency clinic or specialist. This is often when you need your coverage the most so be sure to ask if there is any difference in your coverage and if so what that is.

Under what conditions, can and will the company cancel your policy?
Some pet insurance companies reserve the right to cancel your policy for any reason other than fraud or nonpayment. This means they could cancel the policy if treatment for your pet escalates or for any other reason at their will. Be sure to find out under what conditions the company can and will cancel your policy.

Does the company cover ongoing and recurring conditions?
Some pet insurance companies do not cover ongoing or recurring conditions without the purchase of additional coverage. This means that if you pet is sick or injured in one plan period and you need care after your plan renews, the company would not pay it. You will want to ensure that the company you choose will continue to cover your pet and any conditions he or she has year after year.

Can you visit any veterinarian of your choosing? If you are traveling with your pet and something happens, can you visit a veterinarian where you are and still receive coverage?
Be sure to find out if the company will cover treatment at your choice of veterinarian or if they have a list of veterinarians that must see your pet for them to consider reimbursement.

Pet Insurance Companies To Consider

The views expressed in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Animal Coalition of Delaware County. The Animal Coalition of Delaware County does not endorse or recommend a particular company for pet insurance. Those purchasing pet insurance policies are encouraged to do their own research to determine what is right for them.

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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.”

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

Déjà vu

By Kim Cavallero

Annie's healthcare ran more than $20,000 in the last two years of her life

How much? You must be kidding. $650 to have my seven-year-old cat’s teeth cleaned? No way.

It shouldn’t have stunned me.

I was no stranger to healthcare bills for my pets. After all, my cat, Annie, who passed away last summer racked up more than $20,000+ in healthcare bills in the last two years of her life. She had a gamut of health issues—things the vets liked to tell me they had never seen in the decades they had been practicing.

While the vets were fascinated at how resilient little Annie was, I was simply scared for her. Every time she went in for another surgery, I was left to wonder how she would fare and how I would ever cover the cost.

Annie and I went through the ER at my local university’s animal hospital many times. And it never ceased to amaze many how many people were there with their animals making heartbreaking decisions. I watched countless people decide to euthanize their pet, even thought their pet’s condition was treatable. Their caretakers were dedicated to them, but they simply couldn’t afford to pay the cost of the care. It was gut-wrenching.

So, when my vet recently told me that my newly adopted seven-year-old cat, Emma, needed to have her teeth cleaned and one removed, I wasn’t surprised. But when my vet turned around and told me how much it would be, I couldn’t help but experience déjà vu.

The difference this time around was that I had purchased pet insurance for Emma when I adopted her. Oh sure….I have many friends and acquaintances who thought I was crazy, but it was the best investment I could have ever made. Of Emma’s $650 bill, her insurance covered $421 after my $200 deductible. Emma’s policy ran me about $185 for the year and it’s already more than paid for itself.

Many ask why I didn’t purchase pet insurance for Annie. The truth of the matter is I didn’t know that I should have when I adopted her. Had I tried to insure her after her health problems began, most of her care would have been considered a pre-existing condition and not been covered.

I don’t regret a penny of the money I spent on Annie’s care, even though I will be paying for it for the next few years. Annie was my heart and soul. But the moral of the story is to get insurance for your pet the day you adopt. It will likely save you from having to make heart-breaking decisions.

In my next post, I’ll give some pointers about what to look for when purchasing a pet insurance policy.

 

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Filed under Pet Insurance, Pet Tips, Pet Tips - Cats