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

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

A Long-time Foster Shares Her Secrets

Shae's foster, Rex

Fostering a pet can seem like a challenge: you don’t know the pet, how they’ll act in your home, or maybe you worry about getting too attached. But for every challenge, there are rewards that outweigh it. We recently caught up with an active foster, Shae S., who shared her experience and tons of amazing advice for anyone out there considering becoming a foster. Read on to find out how she got started, why baby gates are her best friend and her tips for what to expect in 3 days, 3 weeks and 3 months. Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a 33-year-old introverted graphic designer. I love the mountains, traveling, gardening and just being outside. I’ve lived in Colorado, Arkansas, Minnesota, but I bought a home and found my dream job in Utah … 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