SPCA Serving Erie County Offers Free Adoptions to Current and Past Military Members During Vets & Pets

May 17, 2022
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

To thank the men and women of the armed services this Memorial Day, the SPCA Serving Erie County offers “Vets & Pets,” waiving adoption fees on most animals for individuals and immediate families of individuals on active duty, reserves, and honorable discharge, along with service-disabled veterans and those retired from military service. This program, a longtime SPCA tradition, is proudly brought to our community by philanthropist and SPCA supporter Nancy Gacioch of Buffalo!

Vets & Pets begins Monday, May 23 and runs through Monday, May 30* at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter and all SPCA off-site adoption locations.

Photos of all adoptable animals can be found here >>.

See a list of our off-site locations here >>.

Military ID or DD214 will need to be presented. If an individual is currently serving outside of New York State, that individual’s spouse can adopt during Vets & Pets if a military spouse identification card is presented. Adopters can apply the Vets & Pets waived adoption fee promotion toward a total of two animals.

Please contact SPCA Adoptions Supervisor Krissi Miranda with any questions: (716) 875-7360, ext. 233.

Vets and Pets, & the Effect of Animals on the Lives of Veterans: An open letter from the SPCA’s Melanie Rushforth >>

*Please note: The SPCA’s West Seneca shelter is closed on Sunday and Monday, May 29 and 30, but many of the SPCA’s off-site adoption locations are open those two days! See a list of our off-site locations and photos of the animals available here. To be pre-approved to adopt an off-site pet, please call the SPCA’s Offsite Adoptions Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 235, or visit the 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter Monday – Saturday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.


May 16, 2022

 

Dear SPCA Friends & Family:

On Saturday morning May 14, members of our SPCA’s Humane Education Department embarked on a visit to Buffalo Public School #99, the Stanley M. Makowski Early Childhood Center, 1095 Jefferson Ave. in Buffalo. We were participants in an event teaching children about the different ways to safely express themselves and their feelings through art, words, music, and more.

Mere hours later, less than one mile away, ten lives were taken in a barbaric act of violence, rage, and racism.

The people we lost to this hatred, members of our community, were exceptional individuals who, we have learned, truly made the world a better place for those in their lives and for so many they didn’t even know. Our hearts go out to the victims, to their families, to all the people in our towns and cities and counties who are suffering from this hateful brutality.

The violence inflicted upon these individuals, and the violence that affects community members every single day in our neighborhoods, is something we must continue to fight together. With one voice. As one community.

The SPCA Serving Erie County stands committed to its work of putting an end to such violence. Our specific efforts in response to this weekend’s killings are slowly unfolding, but we are ready to bring our existing programs where they are needed most. Our Paws for Love therapy pet visitation teams are on notice, ready to step in at counseling events, therapy sessions, stress-relief events, and more to help suffering individuals cope with their feelings, fears, and emotions. Our Humane Education team is ready to bring our important message of anti-violence, inclusion, empathy, respect, compassion, and love to our community’s children. Our pet food pantry is already in the process of delivering pet food and litter to neighborhoods filled with pet owners who may have difficulty acquiring these items at this time.

We are certain there will be more opportunities for our humane society to assist in efforts designed to not only help with what happened this weekend, but to fill the needs that arise in Erie County every day.

Our SPCA has and will remain diligent in its contribution to the creation of a society more humane, more inclusive, more accepting, and more loving. This can only be accomplished when our entire community works together in solidarity against acts of bigotry, racism, hatred, and violence.

As always, we remain honored to serve the people of Erie County and beyond.

Committed to Kindness,


Cait Daly
President & CEO
SPCA Serving Erie County
CaitD@yourspca.org

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

This Month’s Vets and Pets, and the Effect of Animals on the Lives of Veterans

An open letter from the SPCA’s Melanie Rushforth

May 1, 2022

Dear Fellow Veterans of Erie County (and beyond!),

First, thank you for your service!

Second, as a small token of appreciation for the service dedicated to this country we share, the SPCA Serving Erie County wants to invite the community at large to spread the word about an incredible promotion happening.  Between May 23rd and May 30th, the SPCA Serving Erie County is waiving adoption fees on most animals for individuals and immediate families of individuals on active duty, reserves, and honorable discharge, along with service-disabled veterans and those retired from military service.  This special offer for these special humans applies at our Harlem Rd location and multiple offsite locations.

As a veteran myself, of the US Army, I know firsthand the benefits of pet companionship.  My pets have seen me off on an overseas deployment and greeted me with unbridled enthusiasm upon my return(s) home.  The comfort of a pet is unlike anything else.  From a scientific standpoint, interacting with animals has been shown to decrease levels of cortisol (a stress-related hormone) and lower blood pressure. Some studies have even found that animals can reduce loneliness, increase feelings of social support, and boost your mood.  Pets offer a sense of community and a safe haven in a world that sometimes just doesn’t make sense all the time.

People may often hear military troops refer to each other as brothers or sisters. The military creates a structure of shared work and deepens relationships through tough times.  After leaving the military, or even transitioning from active duty to the reserves, a veteran might find this part of their life lacking. There aren’t always built-in friendships in a new workplace or neighborhood. For single veterans, it could feel as though no one needs their presence to survive.

A furry friend can provide friendship and love, plus a reason to get out of bed every day. Our pets are entirely dependent on us to survive.  Pets are there 100% of the time. Dogs and cats are ready for snuggles, long conversations and play time. Many dogs, and even some cats, enjoy going for walks with their humans. Relationships and bonds are formed and deepen over time.

This promotion wouldn’t be available without the support of longtime friend and supporter of the SPCA, Nancy Gacioch of Buffalo.

If you have a former service-member in your life, please encourage them to take advantage of this Pets for Vets celebration.  The SPCA Serving Erie County is currently beyond capacity with animals that need loving homes.  They would be honored to share their lives and love with an area veteran.

Thank you for your support of the work of the SPCA Serving Erie County and for your service.

-Melanie Rushforth, SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services
United States Army



Veterans Day Reflections From the SPCA’s Melanie Rushforth

Veterans Day 2021 — After almost 30 years of holding a role that serves the public in some way, I’m never without gratitude. I began my social service career following military service, and while the two may seem quite different, they are actually more similar than not.  These days I wake up and look forward to the moments and challenges that come with being the Vice President of Veterinary Services at the SPCA Serving Erie County, and around Veterans Day I tend to lean heavily towards reflection. This year, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on what being a veteran off of the battlefield looks like through my eyes.

November 11, formally celebrated as Armistice Day, has been known as Veterans Day since 1954 when it was renamed. Veterans Day officially marks the anniversary of the end of World War I in 1918 and honors those who served in the armed forces.

To those who served, and for those who love the men and women who have served, Veterans Day is more than just a holiday, and for some (myself included) it is a time of reflection on years of service and the impact that service has on the work in which we are involved now.  The ongoing pandemic may be fostering an environment in which resilience is front and center, but this year seemed to call for a written reflection on the ways in which my military service shows up in my work as an animal welfare professional.  Dogs and cats are very different than tanks and battlefields, yes.  But the basics of teamwork, trust, and training span across different industries where veterans may find themselves serving in a different capacity.

As a United States Army veteran, I’m proud of my service.  It was never easy, but it was always meaningful.  I could probably apply that statement to my work in animal welfare, especially as animal welfare has shifted over time to serve whole communities and commit to tackle issues from a social justice approach, versus simply treating the symptoms over and over.  My time in service shows up on a daily basis with regards to the value I place in people, and the trust we need to have with one another to do good work in an effort to really make lasting change.

Veterans bring a sense of resourcefulness, boldness, and leadership that is often not replicated in employees with civilian backgrounds. They’ve been faced with the challenge of getting a job done without access to the resources that would ideally be available.  This resourcefulness is a highly-desirable employee trait within the nonprofit sector, since it is always trying to grow, adapt, and meet the needs of people and animals with limited resources at hand. Veterans also bring a sharp ability to stick through difficult tasks and see them through to completion.

The military cultivates many traits that serve well in business and community service. It champions collaboration, innovation, and problem-solving. Innovation shows up because of people having to think on their feet. There were many circumstances where no one knew what was around the corner, or what challenge would arise, but a standing belief that runs deep in the military is that ‘there is always a way.’ When it comes to executing a mission, there’s a strong adherence to relying heavily on the collective creativity of the team to get the job done.  Teamwork truly does make the dream work.

The military produces individuals with uncanny adaptive thinking and a capacity and passion for continuing to learn. This learning environment focuses on personal development, as well as training and developing subordinates and peers. This acts as a force multiplier when a veteran is added to the staff of any organization, whether for-profit or nonprofit. Veterans work to develop a crew that can perform well together rather than focusing on the individual. This commitment to a greater cause becomes an ingrained culture that can improve the work habits of the entire team.

For fellow veterans, I thank you for your service.  For the loved ones of fellow veterans, I thank you for your support, trust, and commitment.  In the community where we all intersect, I invite us all to continue to find ways to collaborate, grow, and strengthen the bonds that truly unite us.  We are stronger together.

— Melanie Rushforth, SPCA Serving Erie County Vice President of Veterinary Services and former member of the United States Army


SCHOLASTIC BOOK FAIR
to benefit the SPCA Serving Erie County
In-person fair May 2-3 & 5-7, 2022

Online Book Fair >>

Ages 5 – 16
25% of your purchase benefits the SPCA!
Family-friendly pricing!

IN-PERSON
Visit the SPCA 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday & Tuesday, May 2 & 3, or Thursday -Saturday, May 5 – 7!

ONLINE
CLICK HERE to purchase books online, to meet popular authors, to watch book videos, and for direct access to more than 6,000 additional titles (plus nearly 300 titles listed by grade)!

MORE INFORMATION
Contact Director of Humane Education Christine Davis
(716) 875-7360, ext. 262 or
ChristineD@yourspa.org

Lab? Spaniel? Shepherd? Terrier? Chihuahua? Boxer? Husky? Hound? Bulldog? Newfie? We’ve asked these questions for 155 years. ONE. HUNDRED. FIFTY. FIVE. YEARS. It’s taken us this long to become unstuck! Watch as SPCA Pres/CEO Cait explains the SPCA’s newest dog breed ID policy!

See the science behind this change >>

–Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

 

 

SPCA Serving Erie County Assists BISSELL Pet Foundation in Air Transport of 150 Animals to Buffalo

April 21, 2022
By: Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

More than 150 animals will take to the skies the morning of Saturday, April 23 as the BISSELL Pet Foundation, assisted by the SPCA Serving Erie County, engages in a major animal transport to Buffalo.

The dogs and cats will arrive by air from Baton Rouge, LA to Buffalo, NY in “…an effort to relieve overcrowded shelters due to seasonal high intake, short-staffing, a shortage of shelter veterinarians, and slowing adoptions for larger dogs,” according to the BISSELL Pet Foundation in a recent press release.

The press release stated, “This lifesaving flight has been organized and made possible through BISSELL Pet Foundation. Our trusted partner, the SPCA Serving Erie County in Buffalo, NY, will be leading the ground team for unloading and distribution to other shelter partners.”

Fifteen of the transported dogs will stay at the SPCA Serving Erie County, and the other animals will be divided between eight other animal shelters in NY, OH, PA, even Toronto and Windsor, Canada.

The SPCA Serving Erie County’s Annual Giving Manager, Phillip Weiss, will depart for Louisiana from Buffalo Friday, April 22 and will return with the animals Saturday. The flight is scheduled to arrive in Buffalo between 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. at TAC-Air BUF, 50 North Airport Dr. in Cheektowaga.

“This will be such an exciting experience and I am very blessed to be a part of it,” Weiss says. “I can’t wait to represent the SPCA Serving Erie County and our region during this transport, and most importantly, help get these precious animals to Buffalo safely. These animals are coming from unfavorable situations and from shelters that do not have the resources and staffing to provide the care needed; they’ll now receive that care from us and the other receiving shelters. We are very fortunate to have such generous communities in our region that help us provide for these high-risk animals. Thank you to the Bissell Pet Foundation for making a huge difference in the lives of so many animals! ”

SPCA President/CEO Cait Daly couldn’t agree with Phil more. “We are honored to be working with the Bissell Foundation on this transport that will save the lives of these precious animals. We are incredibly grateful to our community for stepping up to foster, adopt, and donate. We could never do what we do without that support!”

“Transport is a lifeline to at-risk adoptable pets as shelters throughout the nation struggle with overcrowding,” said Cathy Bissell of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “BISSELL Pet Foundation is incredibly grateful for our shelter and rescue partners who have opened their doors to give these deserving pets a second chance.”

Photos and videos of the transport will be shared on the SPCA’s Facebook page >>  and other platforms. When the transported animals are available for adoption they will be listed, along with all other available animals, on the Adoptable Animals page of YourSPCA.org >>

 

A few behind-the-scenes photos sent by Phil on Friday afternoon:

The SPCA’s New SHADOW CAT Initiative

February 10, 2022
By: Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

UPDATE 4/21/22: The adoption fee for all Shadow Cats, regardless of age, has been waived! This includes the adoption of Shadow Cats from either the SPCA shelter or a foster home! Wondering if an adoptable kitty has been designated as a Shadow Cat? Check out adoptable animal photos here >>  and click on individual listings of our cute cats to read their descriptions and find out if they are Shadow Cats!

******************

The SPCA Serving Erie County is proud to roll out a new initiative that shines the spotlight on a unique population of animals in our care.   Effective immediately, the SPCA’s Shadow Cat effort will work to meet shy or fearful cats where they are behaviorally to assist them in navigating the journey to becoming adoptable pets living out the rest of their lives in long-term homes. 

Fear is common and a perfectly normal, innate, and adaptive behavior in all animals. However, if fear isn’t addressed appropriately, it can develop into serious behavioral and health problems and result in deterioration. Our goal with Shadow Cats is to be proactive in managing a cat’s fearfulness or shyness should a cat surrendered to the SPCA present those behaviors while in the shelter.

Transitions and big changes are hard for many cats, even ones who are not identified as fearful. In preparing to introduce a cat into the home regardless of their confidence level, it is very important to set the cat up for a successful experience by making some small, but important adjustments.  The intent of Shadow Cats is to offer a home environment, in the form of a foster home setting, to allow the cat to gain confidence, relax, and build trust.  These cats may wind up being the best friend that was missing in that particular home, and we always consider that a foster “win” rather than the traditional term “foster fail.” Even if the stay is temporary, the effects of a loving and welcoming home environment will be permanent. 

Introduction to a new home can be very challenging for a fearful cat. Fearful cats usually do best in relatively quiet homes or quiet areas of the home. Many fearful cats slowly become more confident as they get used to their living space and daily routine. The Foster Department of the SPCA Serving Erie County will assist new and experienced foster parents with whatever they may need to help  Shadow Cats acclimate to their homes.  Time, patience, love, and food are some of the ingredients that will help a Shadow Cat step into the light a little bit at a time. 

It is a special experience to build a relationship and bond with a fearful cat, and it is deeply rewarding. The journey may be long, but patience is a true gift to a nervous cat in need.  Just like people, cats can have vastly different personalities.  Some of these Shadow Cats may blossom into lap cats, while others may remain the quiet roommate that is grateful for love, attention (from a distance) and a safe place to call home.  Whatever the end result, we are grateful to have the opportunity to showcase these special cats in an effort to save more lives. 

Do you have room in your life for a Shadow Cat? Find out how you can get involved right here >>

 

See adoptable animals by clicking image below! 

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