Monday, December 7, 2009

Elderly Owners: Butterball and Fred's stories

In the past week, Cares4pets has rescued two animals that were in desperate need of help. Fred, a 14 year old yorkie mix, came to us when his elderly owner entered hospice care due to a long fight with AIDS. Unfortunately, Fred was not invited to come along, so he ended up in rescue. Fred is mostly blind (due to cataracts), mostly deaf, and has very few teeth. What he wants most of the time is to sit on your lap. Even though Fred only has a few months or a few years left in him, we are confident that we can find him a home where he can retire in peace.

Butterball, a black and white long haired cat, on the other hand, has a much longer story. Her 80+ year old owner got evicted from his home over a month ago. Neighbors on his block aren't sure where he went, supposedly with family, but they do know that the house has been solidly boarded up since the eviction. Butterball's owner had a few cats, most of whom had been accounted for. However, no one was sure where Butterball had gone. When workers came to clean out the house last week, they found a skinny, dirty cat in the basement. Somehow, Butterball survived on her own in a boarded up house for over a month. They called us immediately, and she's been in our care every since. Poor Butterball; she's very anemic, dehydrated, covered in fleas, has very little hair left, and is skinny as a rail. Our vet pumped her full of fluids, and we've been feeding her ever since. Most days she just lays in her cage, looking at us with sad, sad eyes. This morning, when her foster mom went in to feed her, she gave a pitiful meow and lifted her head to be scratched. We're hopeful that with a few more weeks of TLC, Butterball will be back to normal. In the meantime, we're just thankful that she made it out alive.

All too often, elderly owners are unable to keep the pets that they love and adore. While many of these owners have families and friends able to take care of their pets in their absence, sadly, this is not always the case. These animals are then abandoned, left in their homes, sent to the streets, or dumped in shelters. Because these animals are often older themselves and may have other medical problems, they are oftentimes less adoptable. Because they came out of loving homes where they were adored, they also tend to be much more depressed; they know what it means to be loved and taken care of, and they are very aware all of that has changed for them. So, next time you are in a shelter or looking at a rescue group's posting, take a second to think about these abandoned animals. They may not be all that happy to see you, they may not look very pretty, but they still need your love.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekend at Buzzy's

On November 14th, Cares4Pets was at Buzzy's Bow Wow Meow in Narberth, PA. Along with Mulligan and the Panamanian Devils were Conqi, Stay Puffed, and the still unnamed brindle puppy. The guys received a lot of attention from the customers at Buzzy's.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Adopt a Boxer Event recap

Saturday's Adopt a Boxer event was very wet. It rained the entire time. Despite the unfortunate weather, we had a lot of visitors to the Cares4Pets tent. Quite a few people came over to say hello to Ebony, Henry, Unnamed Puppy, and Mulligan. Stay-Puffed made a late appearance as the crowd was winding down. This was Mulligan's 32352nd appearance at an adoption event, the most ever by any of the current animals. Well, that's not quite accurate, but he's been to a lot and it's about time he finds a forever home. And if he has to put up with another kid blowing in his face, he's Shana's going to scream. Please enjoy some photos from Saturday's event.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Halloween adoption event (10/31/09)

Join Cares4Pets at the Halloween Bizaare (Bizarre Bazaar?) & Flea Market on Halloween!!

Adopt a Boxer and the Delco SPCA are putting on an event that we'll be at, showing off our adorable, adoptable animals.

The days activities include a meet & greet with our dogs for adoption, and animals from other rescue groups, a costume contest for the dogs and the kids, fun games with prizes for kids, our popular ask the dog trainer and Canine Good Citizen Test, and Emerald Du Cour the Animal Communicator (reservation required for Emerald) Add to that raffles, 50/50, silent auctions, lots of food and music and you have a day of fun for the whole family.

Saturday October 31 from 8:30 to 3:30
Rosetree Park
Providence Rd
Media, Pennsylvania 19063

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Henry Needs a Foster Home, STAT!!

Hello. My name is Matt and I’m a Cares4Pets volunteer. Last week, my wife and I found a young dog. Natalie from Cares4Pets encouraged us to write a blog post to help find him a home.We saw Henry trotting on the grassy area on the side of the road and pulled over. His emaciation was horrifying. That he could move so well was surprising. He was shivering, both from the cold and fear. It was clear that he wouldn’t have made it much longer against the elements. I rode with him in the back seat of the car, holding him until we got home. Amanda cleaned off his beautiful brindle coat and dried him. Henry was still obviously shaken up. We’ve been mostly keeping him in the travel kennel we had been using for Emerson, our foster dog. At first Henry would not relax, keeping his eyes open the whole time he was in the kennel. But after a while he closed his eyes and got some much needed rest. He’s improving continuously in our small apartment, but with two very playful and energetic pit bulls, he doesn’t get the stress-free environment or attention he really needs. He really wants to be out of the crate much more often than we can work out at this point. Three dogs in a small space is creating a strain on everyone, and we REALLY need to find a better suited place for this little guy to go.Henry is about a year old and fairly small; he’ll probably only be about 30-35 pounds when he reaches his proper weight. His interaction with dogs and cats has been very limited, but shows promise in his socializing abilities. Henry has a playful personality. With a few sweet words and gentle pats, he’ll give you kisses while playing with a tennis ball on your lap. He’s already crate trained and possibly even house trained, evidence that he’s a quick learner. He also walks wonderfully on a leash.Henry needs a foster home in which he can recuperate without the stress of other dogs. Cares4Pets will cover all costs related to his foster care including food and veterinary care. He’ll be a wonderful companion for anyone gracious enough to care for him. If you have room in your home to foster this sweet dog worthy of a fresh start, please contact Cares4Pets at cares4pets “at” hotmail "dot" com.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Ladybug: A Lesson in Feline Leukemia

Ladybug is quite possibly the nicest cat you will ever meet. Whenever someone comes to visit her, she purrs up a storm, climbs into their lap, and begs to be loved. She's also just about as cute as they come: a cute, tiny tiger tabby with big, soulful eyes. And yet, despite all of her charms, you won't see Ladybug on our list of adoptable animals. Why not? Because Ladybug comes from a home that had an active Feline Leukemia infection. Even though she snapped negative (more on that later), she has to be quarantined from other cats for 3 months before she can be cleared from this devastating disease.

So while Ladybug is waiting, let's take a few minutes to think about Feline Leukemia and what it means for us as rescuers and pet owners.

Feline Leukemia (or FeLV) is a retrovirus that exclusively infects cats and causes immune suppression. It's also one of most common causes of cancer in cats. Cats that are sick with FeLV can present with a variety of signs; because they are immune suppressed, they tend to get sick from bacteria and viruses that they would normally be able to fight off. Cats with FeLV often present to veterinarians with severe respiratory illness (trouble breathing, pneumonia), GI disturbances (inappetance, bloody diarrhea), and any number of other signs. Although these animals can be treated for their presenting disease, FeLV doesn't go away, so they are will get sick with something else in the future. The life expectancy of a cat with FeLV is generally only around 2-3 years, although acutely infected kittens often die within a month or two of infection.

FeLV is easily passed from cat to cat via bodily secretions. Cats that groom each other, fight, or even share food and water bowls can pass virus to one another. Although many cats will become immune to the disease, kittens and sick or stressed cats are at very high risk of contracting the disease.

So what does that mean for us as rescuers (and cat owners)? First of all, under no condition should any cat be brought into our homes and allowed to interact with the existing cat population before being tested for FeLV. Every time that we at Cares4pets find a stray cat or a kitten, the very first thing that we do is to get them tested. The simple, 15 minute blood test for FeLV checks for active virus, so it tells us if the cat is actively fighting the disease. So, since Ladybug tested negative, the question still remains; why is she in quarantine?

The answer to that is because Ladybug came from a home with an active infection. What happened in her home could happen to any one of us. Her "dad" found a stray kitten on the street and, being a bleeding heart like most of us are, brought him inside. He didn't know about FeLV, so he allowed the kitten to be loose in the house with his other cats. A week later, it was clear that something was really wrong. He took the kitten to the vet and found out that it was FeLV positive. Because the kitten was so young and already sick, he was euthanized immediately. In the week that he was in that house, he came into contact with the rest of the cats that lived there, one of them being Ladybug. A few weeks after that, Ladybug's brother came down with a terrible respiratory disease, tested positive, and was euthanized as well. For the next 6 months, everyone seemed to be fine, and Ladybug's owner crossed his fingers and hoped that all the rest of his cats would be fine. However, Princess, one of the older cats in the house, started looking worse for wear and eventually went the same way as Ladybug's brother. Ladybug came to us for reasons completely unrelated to the FeLV part of her story, but right after Princess was euthanized, so we have to consider that she, like all the other cats in her house, may be infected. The fact that she was so young during the initial infection and has remained healthy helps us to think that she has become immune and will be fine, but there is always the chance that her second test, a month and a half from now, will come up positive. For most rescue cats, that would be a reason to euthanize immediately. For Ladybug, we'll all have to sit down to make the difficult decision as to whether we euthanize her, send her to an FeLV positive cat sanctuary, or keep her in one of our few foster homes while we try to find her a home that will understand that she will most likely have a very short life expectancy.

But the FeLV infection has impacted Ladybug's dad's life too. Because his house now has to be considered "positive" for the disease until each of his cats test negative in two tests three months apart, all of his cats have to remain indoors, and he can no longer bring in any stray cats or kittens, as they would be at risk of picking up the disease from his current cats. He has to constantly watch his cats to make sure they don't get sick and has to be concerned about every little sneeze or cough that they may have. He has to be prepared to lose more of his cats in the next few months, all in return for bringing one sick kitten into his home.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Adoption Event THIS SUNDAY!!!

Join us this Sunday, June 21st (yes, we know it's Father's Day!) for an adoption event at the Bucks County Horse Park. Also at the horse park that day will be "Driving for a Cure" a carriage driving show for a cure! We'll be set up from 9 am to 2 pm with some of our critters, and they'll be excited to meet you (and to see the horses!). You can stop by to visit us and to enjoy the show free of charge. Lunch is provided for $10. We hope to see you and your families there! Please email us at for more information and if you are interested in meeting any of our dogs specifically.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Rescue in the recession

While people are losing their jobs, pushing to make ends meet, and trying to cut back, it's easy to forget that we are not the only ones struggling in the current recession. As families fight to keep their children fed, something has to give. Unfortunately, more often than not, that something is the family pet. We see the effects in our animal rescues and our veterinary practices every day.

In the past few months, all of our veterinary friends have been commenting on the effect the recession has had on their practices. The common trend is that appointment numbers are down, way down. But that's far from the only effect the veterinary community is seeing. Even when clients do make the commitment or find the funds to come in for an office visit, they frequently don't have the money to do necessary diagnostics and have waited to make an appointment much longer than they normally would, leaving the veterinarian with little they can do to help. As a sad consequence, this means that euthanasia rates are up, way up. When clients can't afford medical care and wait until their animals are really sick to bring them to the vet, there oftentimes isn't another option. Veterinarians are tired of killing animals, but they don't have much of a choice.

Of course, veterinary practices aren't the only ones hit by the recession. Animal rescues and shelters have been slammed. Intakes in shelters are through the roof, and every day animals are dropped off not because they are strays, not because they are sick, not because they are unloved, but simply because their owners can't afford them and can't keep them. Shelters are full of animals that simply don't belong there. On a daily basis, we get emails from at least a handful of owners looking to find a place for their pet in a no-kill rescue, and we sadly have to turn them away.

What's worse than the increase in animal intakes, is the decrease in adoptions. Because families are being cautious about their finances, they aren't adopting. Our adoption number are less than half of what they were last year at this time, as are many other rescues. We have a huge number of highly adoptable cats and dogs just waiting for their home. Unfortunately, it looks like they'll have to wait a little longer. This breaks our hearts; it's hard to say "no" to animals that have no where else to go, but again, there isn't really another option.

So in these tough times, take a minute to think about your furry loved ones and to appreciate the fact that you CAN still take care of your pet. Remember that we're not the only ones hurt by the recession. If you have an extra dollar burning a hole in your pocket, think about donating it a local rescue group that can put it to good use. If you have a little extra room in your house, think about adopting another friend or fostering for a while to give a needy pet a place to go. And please, if you do nothing else, spay and neuter your furry friends.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Adoption Event THIS SATURDAY!

Just wanted to pass on some more information about our adoption event this coming Saturday. We'll be at Greensgrow Farm in the Kensington/Fishtown area of Philadelphia this Saturday (5/30) from 10 to 2 pm. As always, we love to have people stop by to give our dogs (and us) some attention. The address is 2501 E. Cumberland Street in Philadelphia. While you are visiting, please thank the Greensgrow staff for having us join them for the day; they've been fabulous to work with and we're very excited!

Greensgrow Farm, if you haven't been there, is a fabulous place. Every Thursday and Saturday through the summer (and starting this week), they host a farmer's market with a slew of produce, meats, cheeses, etc, that are locally produced and direct from the farmer. You'll also have the chance to pick up any plants that you haven't gotten into your garden yet. They have a fantastic selection of veggie, fruit, and herb starters, as well as flowers and plants for your garden. On top of that, their staff is amazing at giving out tips and suggestions for all of your urban gardening. Their website is: Greensgrow Farm.

And if you're looking for something specific, here's a list of what will be available this Saturday at the Market:

Greenhouse Tomatoes
Spring Mix
Baby Arugula
Baby Spinach
Red Leaf Lettuce
Green Leaf Lettuce
Romaine Lettuce
Alfalfa Sprouts
Pea Shoots
B+B Garden's Organic Produce (Saturday only): Radishes, Pac Choi, and a variety of greens

Fruitwood Farms' Honey
Patterson Farms' Maple Syrup
Blue Water Coffee
Lilith's Apothecary
C.O.P.A. Soaps
Metropolitan Bakery Granola
Antonia's Pierogis
Nature Soy Tofu
Ray's Wheat Meat
Hot Sauce
Apple Butter
Greensgrow's Pesto
Slowrise Breads
Tony Rolls' Baguettes
'Baked' Coffee Cake + Scones
North Port Fishington Vegan Cookies
MyHouse Cookies Scones + Brownies
Gilda's Biscotti
Spelt Flour + Noodles
and much more....

AS ALWAYS, you can also find local meats, cheeses, eggs, and milk from humanely raised, grass-fed animals in our fridges and freezer in the greenhouse.

We hope to see you there!!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Upcoming Adoption Events

Spring is here, and with it comes warmer weather. What does that mean for us? It means we can finally start getting back outside with our adoptable animals at adoption events! Adoption events are a great chance for people to meet our animals and to get a chance to chat with us about the work we do. It's also a fantastic opportunity for our critters to get a day's worth of love and adoration! Since most of them are being fostered in homes with other animals, they rarely get 100% of anyone's attention for very long. Adoption events are the perfect way for us to remind them just how special they are! We are always looking for volunteers to staff our table at adoption events and to hold dogs; the more volunteers we have, the more dogs we can bring!

We currently have three events scheduled in the upcoming month or so; we'll update with more information when we have it. We'd love it if you can stop by to stay hello to our critters (and us). If you have a little more time, we can also use a few volunteers for each event. As we schedule more events for the summer, we'll keep you posted with dates and locations.

Location to be announced

Saturday, May 30th
Greensgrow Farm in Kensington

Sunday, June 21st, 9-3
Location coming soon!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The cat affectionately known as Splat...

So on a pretty average Sunday afternoon, I got a call on my cell phone from the emergency service at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital. A good friend of mine (and a weekend nurse in ES), Trish, was on the other line. "Would you guys be interested in taking on a high rise cat?" The veterinary profession commonly uses the term "high rise" syndrome to refer to cats that have jumped (or fallen) from a height that would easily be death of a less fortunate species. For some reason, cats that are immediately treated have a 90% survival rate after falling anywhere from 2-32 stories. Tiger, the kitty sitting in ES that Sunday, had fallen from a 6 story window sometime on Saturday. Unfortunately for him, no one had brought him into the veterinary clinic for 24 hours. Because Tiger didn't have any other options, Trish called us to see if we had a foster home and the funds to help treat poor Tiger. Luckily, I had just adopted out my last set of kittens and only had one other foster kitty, so I was game to take Tiger. And, thanks to the generous grant from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, we did have the funds to fix him. I headed in to ES to meet this poor kitty and to get a sense of how bad he had been injured. As it turned out, he had broken his left hind leg pretty badly and had a bunch of abrasions on his mouth and tongue, as well as some degloving on his front left paw. We FIV/FeLeuk tested him, then loaded him up on painkillers and antibiotics for the night (since his surgery would have to wait until the morning) and then I took him home. That night, he got pain meds every 4 hours, and first thing in the morning we drove out to Sara's veterinary practice to have him worked up and, hopefully, fixed. After some radiographs, it was clear that his left hind leg had been broken in two places (at the knee and near his hip) and couldn't be saved. His front paw, although it looked terrible, only had one dislocated bone, which could easily be removed. A few hours later, Tiger awoke from surgery with on less leg and one less toe. For the next few days, we kept him on strong pain killers and antibiotics as we waited to see how well everything would heal. Luckily for Tiger, he's now doing great! He's moved from being on cage rest to having the run of a small room, and he's learning how to get around, climb on laps, and play with only three legs. He's still a little worried about sudden noises and movements, which isn't too surprising considering his traumatic injury. Hopefully, in the next few weeks he'll be healthy enough (physically and mentally) to go to a new home!

Monday, March 30, 2009

We've been busy...

Just because we've been quiet over the past few weeks doesn't mean we haven't been busy! The past few months have been pretty crazy for us, luckily all in good ways!

To start, this year we were awarded our first grant. Last year, we were nominated for this grant by one of our supporters, Jennifer Mayer (who is also an associate board member of the foundation) and wrote our very first grant application. The wonderful Nathan Cummings Foundation decided to award us $9,900 towards our general mission of rescuing homeless animals, especially those with medical needs, and placing them into adoptive homes. We are eternally grateful to this foundation for believing in our goals and helping us to save more animals. Because of this grant, we've already been able to save a few critters that we otherwise would not have had the funds to treat. Over the next few months, we'll be highlighting some of these "special" cases, who had no other options and were slated for euthanasia, and who we were able to save and place into homes due to this generous grant. Thank you again and forever!

While that news has certainly been at highlight of the past few months, it's far from our only accomplishment! Another one of our volunteers, Amy Lefever, a marketing and publicity guru, offered to help us to "get our name out there"! She's helped us to develop a marketing and publicity plan and took the initiative to develop a Cares4pets facebook page, which already has 36 fans!

In addition, our website has been launched!!! Jason Kraley, one of our supporters, has been kind enough to donate his time and design skills to setting up a website that is not only eye-catching and fun, but also easy for all of us techno-illiterate folks to update. It looks amazing and will hopefully also serve to help our efforts be noticed! We're still a little behind in getting it up to date, but many of our adoptable animals are finally listed!

Finally, I have to take a minute to thank Ashley Mosser and Christy Hoffman. Ashley, our resident Girl Scout, has been doing an amazing job collecting updates from all of our adoptive homes, organizing them, and putting them on both our petfinder site as well as our newly launched website. In a few months, we'll hopefully have a much more complete list of our previously adopted critters with new pictures and updates. Christy is one of our volunteers that started out as a foster home and has been willing to donate even more of her time to our organization. Christy has been updating our facebook site, learning how to update our website, searching for new grants, and emailing food companies to see if anyone is willing to donate dog and cat food to our organization. She's amazing; we already don't know what we would do without her!!!

But that's not all! In the past few months, we've also had a number of donation drives done for our organization; the Long family (also proud owners of on of our rescues) did a donation drive for us over the Christmas holidays and brought us tons of wonderful goodies; everything from toys and treats to lots of food! Local Girl Scout troops also put together a drive for us, garnering us a ton of blankets, towels, food, cleaning supplies, and more!

So as you can see, we've been super busy! We hope that the next few months will be just as exciting! We'd like to expand even more and start publishing a bi-annual newsletter as well as plan a fundraising and networking event (or two!). Thanks again to everyone who has helped make the past few months such a success!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Being a Foster Home

Because Cares4pets is a foster-home based rescue group, we don't keep our animals in a central shelter. Every now and again, we need to kennel a dog for a few days until we find it somewhere appropriate to go, but for the most part, all of our critters are in loving homes. It's really easy to take something like this for granted, but it takes a lot of time and effort to place animals in appropriate foster homes and to keep them there. In addition, fostering is a ton of work for the foster home too; teaching a dog or cat basic manners while learning about their personalities can be a daunting task, especially when one is not looking to adopt their foster animal.

Although each of us running Cares4pets can share our foster stories, it's hard for us to remember our first overwhelming foster experience. However, one of our foster homes just started a blog to share their first fostering experience with the world. It can be found here: Foster Home Blog. As all of us who have fostered animals know, the true reward from being a foster home comes when your animal finally gets to his/her forever home and settles there. Brutus, the first foster dog for FosterDogMom, just went to his forever home last weekend. In the next few weeks, we'll get pictures and updates from his new home to share with his temporary foster home. Already, FosterDogMom is gearing up for foster number two. For all the trials and tribulations, she and her family will be back for more!

On the other hand, running a foster home-based rescue group is hard for us as well. We are constantly on the lookout for foster homes, especially homes interested and willing to take on large dogs, pit mixes, cats, and special needs (medical or behavior) critters. Quite often, we find a great foster home, only to have them "fail out" of our foster program, meaning that instead of fostering, they end up falling in love and adopting the animal. That's wonderful for them, the animal, and us, but it also means that we are forever on the lookout for more foster homes.

If you or anyone you know might be interested in fostering for our group, we would love to speak with you! Please send us an email, and we'll give you more information and answer any questions you might have!

Thursday, January 1, 2009


In just one afternoon, we managed to acquire 6 puppies (5 girls and one boy) and 3 kittens. It's always a "mistake" to look around when we're helping out at local shelters, and last weekend was no exception. Shana was heading to the shelter to help with spays and neuters, so I asked her to take a quick look around to see if there were any cats or kittens in desperate need of foster, either because they were medical cases that needed treatment or because they were too young to stay in the shelter without getting sick. Shana asked one of the volunteers at the shelter, and it all went downhill from there. The conversation went something like this...

Natalie: If you see a cat that needs a foster home, let me know, since I currently don't have any foster cats.

Shana: They just told me that they need a foster home for two kittens; are you game to take two?

So I arrived at the shelter ready to take home two kittens, only to look in the cage to see that there were in fact three. And so, it's no surprise that instead of taking home one cat to transfer to Cares4pets, we ended up taking three.

The puppies were another story... We all know better than to walk through the shelter when we visit, knowing that something will catch our eye. The last time we visited, we left with a sheltie and two american bulldog mixes after promising ourselves that we wouldn't take anything home.

And so, since we have more than enough dogs in our program currently, Shana avoided the adoption rows. However, as she walking out the front door, she almost ran into a big tupperware bin with holes poked in the top. She opened it up to find a litter of adorable puppies inside. No note, no information, just a tupperware bin full of puppies.

And thus, in a matter of hours, we found ourselves with 9 more critters in need of homes. All in a good days work...