Understanding Animal Organizations: Shelters, Humane Societies, and Sanctuaries

If you search the Internet for pet adoptions or volunteer opportunities, you may get overwhelmed: shelters, rescue leagues, humane societies, sanctuaries, refuges. They seem interchangeable (and some do use them interchangeably), but each provides different services. Some of the services overlap, but all animal organizations missions align to prioritize animal health and safety. Regardless of the organization, do your research before adopting, donating, or volunteering. Ask local veterinarians, groomers, and walkers about them. If you can’t get information about the organization from trusted local sources, it’s probably best to avoid it. Animal Shelters The word “shelter” brings to mind dogs confined to cages and cats piled into a small space. But a shelter is simply a government-owned facility that takes in and cares for homeless animals. Depending on the town income and funding assignments, they … Read More

What You Need to Know About Canine Influenza

While we battle one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory, it’s important to remember that there is a variation that affects dogs and cats. Most dog owners are familiar with kennel cough but don’t think about canine influenza, which shares some of the same symptoms. Dog flu isn’t as severe (kennel cough is often a combination of different viruses or bacteria), but it can be debilitating and some cases lead to pneumonia. Prevention There isn’t a season for dog flu. Since its discovery in 2015, it has appeared all over the U.S. at different times of the year. Dogs transmit it to each other through their breath and saliva. Because it’s a virus, it can stick to objects for up to two days, which means humans and other pets can transmit it. Dogs … Read More

Do You Have Concerns About Fostering?

PetsEmpower understands that you may have concerns about fostering someone else’s pet. If you’re committed to our mission but have questions about fostering, please read on. We’ve compiled answers to some questions and concerns that new foster parents may have. What if my Foster Pet isn’t a Good Match? You want to help, but you’re more of a dog person than a cat person. Or maybe you’re afraid you’ll receive a hyperactive dog because you’re not an active person. Our goal is to build a network of options for people in crisis. We accept a variety of different animals, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept a variety of animals. If you share your preferences with us, we’ll do our best to match you with an animal. If we find a match immediately, that’s … Read More

6 Signs that You’re Ready to Foster an Animal

PetsEmpower enables people to move through crisis with the knowledge that their relationship with their pets will be preserved. As a result, short-term fostering is one of the most helpful services a volunteer can do for PetsEmpower, and it’s one of the most fulfilling experiences you’ll have. If you’re trying to decide whether or not fostering is right for you, we’re happy to discuss the opportunity with you. You may be surprised to learn that you’re more prepared than you think you are. You Want to Assist Animals and Humans You’ve considered fostering many times, but you’re torn between this volunteer opportunity and others that benefit social causes for humans. PetsEmpower isn’t your typical short-term fostering organization. Our program allows a crisis survivor to leave a dangerous situation. Fostering with us prevents an animal from … Read More

10 Tips to Keep Pets Healthy this Holiday Season

10 Ways to Keep Pets Healthy this Holiday Season

The holidays can be filled with joy, but they can also be stressful for both you and your pets. Whatever you have on the agenda this season, read on for our tips to keep all your furry friends happy and healthy. Watch out for these decoration don’ts. Make sure Christmas trees and other heavy decorations are secured, and always unplug lights when you’re not at home. Skip the tinsel, as many pets are tempted to eat it and it can cause intestinal blockages. Last, avoid putting any additives (such as aspirin) in your Christmas tree water, which pets may drink. Know your holiday plants. Amaryllis, poinsettia, mistletoe, balsam, pine, cedar, and holly can all be toxic to pets if eaten. Skip them all together if you have an especially young or curious pet, or keep … Read More

Study Reveals that Cats Prefer Human Social Interaction

credit: colostate.edu Researchers at Oregon State University have published the results of a study on household and shelter cats. After offering four different types of stimuli to individual cats, they discovered that, overall, cats preferred social interaction with humans to food. Because cats have developed an unemotional reputation based on independence, many found this surprising. However, if you’ve ever lived with a cat, these results probably didn’t reveal any new information. They won’t follow you around like puppies do, but cats do show affection in a variety of ways. Behavioral Study of Household and Feral Cats There are dozens of short articles summarizing the study’s findings without an explanation of the testing.  If you were on social media in 2013, you probably remember a similar viral story about domestic cats killing billions of birds and … Read More

Animal Magic: Cat Edition

I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time with animals growing up; my parents got us two kittens when my sister and I were little, but we also spent a lot of time at our nanny’s farm- where there were countless cats, a dog, chickens, geese, the lot. At the time I didn’t appreciate how fulfilling it was to spend cozy afternoons playing with the newest litter of kittens, but these days I’d happily queue up at the cat café for the privilege of an hour or two with some furry friends! I am a wholehearted believer in the power of animal company, and there is plenty of evidence to support the idea that owning a cat hugely improves your quality of life. Whether it is by soothing anxiety, boosting oxytocin production or … Read More