How kicker Stephen Hauschka will help dogs find their forever home this season
By: Kelly Baker
Contributing Correspondent, BuffaloBills.com
For Bills veteran kicker Stephen Hauschka and his wife Lindsey, staying in Buffalo means that they have more time to make an impact. Not only has Hauschka worked tirelessly on perfecting his craft this offseason, he and Lindsey have also worked to find a way to give back to those in the area. Throughout the 2019-20 football season, the Hauschkas are teaming up with the SPCA Serving Erie County to help the good boys and girls at the Western New York center find their forever home through the new “Hauschpups” program. For each field goal that the special teamer makes during games at New Era Field, he and Lindsey will pay the adoption fee for a dog at the center.
A cause that’s near and dear to them, the Hauschkas, who have two dogs of their own, couldn’t think of a better way to make a difference.
“With Lindsey’s involvement in the SPCA, she’s been volunteering there for a little while, and we’ve been involved with [the] Seattle Humane Society too, so it’s kind of a continuation of something that’s true to our hearts,” explained Stephen. “[It’s] a cause that we care a lot about [and] that’s animals. We have two dogs ourselves and love them so much. You know, I think every time Lindsey comes home from the SPCA, walking the dogs there, she just feels bad for some of these dogs that don’t get a home. They have good living conditions there, but it’s not the same as having a loving family to go back to. These are great dogs too and she shows me pictures of them and asks me if we can adopt them.
“With our lifestyle and a bunch of travel, we can’t have more than two, but that’s really where the involvement came from…”
Lindsey, who spends time walking dogs from the SPCA Serving Erie County when she’s in town, has developed a true connection with the caring staff and lovable animals she interacts with. Wanting to expand on her efforts, she drew upon her experiences volunteering to form the idea for “Hauschpups.”
“It kind of dawned on me,” said Lindsey about the program. “It was right around when Steve signed his new contract. I’m like, alright, this is awesome. This seems like a really good opportunity to get involved in the community and also do something that we’re super passionate about, which is helping animals and [to] support the people who work so hard to help the animals at the SPCA.
“Something that kind of stuck with my through volunteering, is that sometimes volunteers will pay the adoption fees themselves just if there’s a dog they really love – if they can’t take them home and that’s awesome,” she said. “Of course, there are other financial responsibilities that come from getting a dog…but if we can help in some way [to] have a family get a dog that maybe they wouldn’t be able to afford that day…[is special because] the dogs come and go really quickly…”
The SPCA Serving Erie County will present its second season of Tale for Two for the 2019-2020 school year.
Tale For Two encourages children ages 6 – 15 to read aloud to adoptable animals at the SPCA. Animals benefit from the increased socialization and reduced stress levels, while children work on their literacy and reading skills, building their self-esteem and confidence.
This year’s reading sessions, available in groups of 6 sessions (program cost: $40 for 6 sessions; discounts on additional sessions) or 12 sessions (program cost: $70 for 12 sessions; discounts on additional sessions) are available on Tuesdays, 4:30 p.m.-7 p.m. at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter. Sibling discounts are available. Reading sessions are 30 minutes in length.
Children can bring their own reading materials, or make a selection from the SPCA’s library.
SPCA Receives South Carolina Dogs as St. Frances Animal Center Prepares for Hurricane Dorian
September 3, 2019 By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca
As the state of South Carolina prepares for the possible arrival of Hurricane Dorian, St. Frances Animal Center in Georgetown sent 70+ dogs (and five cats!) on the road yesterday in an effort to open up space that may be needed for animals displaced by the hurricane.
The truck’s first stop? The SPCA Serving Erie County, receiving 14 adult dogs and five pups at 6 a.m. this morning.
A full crew was on hand to assist with the transport of these animals to the West Seneca shelter. See videos that were taken live of the transport arrival (Video 1) and hear from Devon, part of the husband-and-wife team who drove these animals to safety through the night (Video 2).
The SPCA’s Animal Transport Coordinator, Barbara Frazier, who worked through the weekend making arrangements for this transport, applauds the work of the St. Frances Animal Center. “In addition to making room for possibly displaced dogs, these dogs were proactively moved out ahead of the hurricane due to the potential danger they would be in if or when the hurricane strikes, as the shelter is right on the east coast of South Carolina,” said Frazier.
Things to know about this transport and these animals:
-The animals received by the SPCA Serving Erie County this morning had been previously surrendered to a shelter by their owners. They are not animals who have been separated from their owners by a storm.
-None of the animals in the videos will be available for adoption today.
-Many of the adult dogs are already spayed/neutered. They will be examined today, and those without pressing medical needs will be slated for behavior evaluations. This could happen as early as later this week. The dogs will be listed on the SPCA website’s Adoptable Dogs page when they become available.
-The five puppies who arrived this morning are not medically prepared for adoption and still need vaccinations and other treatments, so they are being placed in foster homes. If a foster family decides to keep and adopt its foster pet, that animal will not be available for general adoption. The animals not adopted by their foster families will be listed on the SPCA website’s Adoptable Dogs page when they become available. Puppies are adopted very quickly and rarely spend the night at the SPCA once available. If you are interested in a transported puppy, remember to check that page several times throughout the day. To learn more about becoming a foster parent to a future animal in need, please visit the SPCA’s Foster Care page.
The SPCA Says Goodbye After 38 Years of ‘Butler Service,’ as Joe & Fran Butler Retire
August 28, 2019 By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer
This week, we at the SPCA Serving Erie County say goodbye to a husband and wife team whose names are practically synonymous with the organization. Joe Butler, a 38-year employee and former dog control officer in the town of Evans, and Fran Butler, a 33-year employee, will be retiring August 30 after a history with the SPCA that brought them to three different shelters: Pontiac Rd. in Angola, Ensminger Rd. in Tonawanda, and now Harlem Rd. in West Seneca.
For 24 and 23 years respectively, Joe and Fran managed the SPCA’s satellite shelter in Angola. Because they lived nearby, the two often worked around-the-clock helping thousands of animals along with thousands of people (many who were known to knock on the Butlers’ door at all hours of the night). They were involved in animal cruelty investigations, rescues, adoptions, admissions, public relations, special events…every single aspect of shelter work was handled by Joe and Fran, along with their small team of staff members and volunteers.
When that satellite shelter was closed, the two relocated to the Tonawanda shelter (Joe had worked there prior to the opening of the satellite shelter) and eventually to our current West Seneca site. Here, their important work with animals continued in the Behavior & Training and Adoptions Departments.
Last week, I asked Joe and Fran a difficult question…consider the last 30+ years at the SPCA and share with me something you love now, or a favorite memory. For Joe, a significant time was in the early 90s, when the SPCA started performing early-age spay/neuters. Fran is thankful for the fact that the Adoptions Department is like a group of family members who can count on each other for help.
For the 29 years I’ve known her, Fran continues to teach me the importance of making a human connection no matter how busy you are. I’d watch her at a very busy Angola shelter adoption desk with several people waiting for attention; no matter how busy she was, she took the time to look each patron in the eye, thoughtfully respond to questions, and in doing so, made each and every patron feel valued. I still see her doing this today in West Seneca. That is a gift, and it’s one she shares with all of us.
I was a little afraid of Joe when I first met him. I was 24 and even in heels had to look up at this serious, steadfast man who was in charge of our Angola shelter. It didn’t take long to realize I now knew one of the most genuine, determined people I’d ever meet in my life. The love he exhibited for animals was unsurpassed, as evidenced by the work he did 24/7 (not an exaggeration), and I’ll always be thankful for his never laughing at how much I didn’t know, and how he helped me learn about the most difficult parts of the job while becoming acclimated to a small, insightful, tightly-knitted staff.
Sheila Foss, SPCA educational farm manager and 34-year employee, says, “When I think of Joe and Fran, the words that spring to my mind are respectful, dedicated, concerned, thoughtful, humble, gracious, helpful, humorous, calming, and mentors.”
She adds, “Fran & Joe demonstrate these descriptors to everyone they encounter: each other, co-workers, visitors, and patrons. I am blessed to have had the pleasure of being on their team, and hope their journey continues to bring forth an abundance of treasures, small and large.”
SPCA Petique Retail Store Manager Jessica Tyler, a 12-year employee, says “Over the last 12 years at the SPCA, I’ve had the pleasure of knowing these two. Joe is so knowledgeable and passionate about what he does here, and his love for animals shows.
“I worked with Fran doing adoptions for nine years, and we shared many laughs, many tears, and overall had a great time at work,” Jessica said. “She is more than a co-worker; she is family to me. She’s always there for me, and….I will miss talking to her and seeing her smiling face every day. Joe and Fran will be missed, but it’s time for more fun to happen!”
The impact Joe and Fran have made on the SPCA, its programs and services, its staff members and volunteers, and most of all its animals, will not be forgotten.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Thank you, Joe and Fran, for spending nearly four decades putting others’ happiness ahead of your own, and for living lives that truly made a difference in our community!
Susan Royce, Administrative Financial Assistant: Fran is one of the kindest people I have ever had the privilege of working with. When I stepped into my position of Administrative Financial Assistant I was constantly going to her with questions regarding Adoptions procedures and the reports they generated. She was always right there to help me with a kind heart and gentle demeanor. She is the Adoptions matriarch and her retirement will leave such a void; knowing Fran she will make sure that the staff is well-prepared in stepping in and picking up where she left off. A sweet, kind and genuinely nice person. I am going to miss her terribly!
I learned so much from Joe in how to handle and work with dogs. He was always there to answer any questions with dogs and delivered information in a succinct and clear method so even a novice dog handler could understand. It was always a comfort knowing that he was on the job taking great care of the animals, comforting the dogs who came in frightened and unsure. The admiration and respect I have for him is huge, and he will be missed in so many ways. Here’s to a job well done!!
Stephanie Pepper, Shelter Manager: Fran has an amazing way of treating every adopter/potential adopter with kindness. I have never seen Fran frazzled; she always remains calm with a “can- do” attitude…no matter what came her way. I love how she refers to every animal while going over adoption paperwork as “your baby” – always made me smile!
Fran was a great asset to the Adoptions Department. Every morning Fran comes in, and she cleans and prepares for the day. There is so much that Fran does behind-the-scenes that having her gone will definitely leave a void. Every morning when I come in I always said, “Good morning Fran!” I will miss her!
Krissi Miranda, Adoptions Supervisor: Fran, you have the kindest heart of anyone I know! I’m going to miss the way you called every animal being adopted the adopters new baby. From coming in early every morning and making sure we were ready to hit the ground running as soon as the doors opened, making sure this place didn’t look like it went to the dogs, to working from the moment you came in until the moment you left, this place will not be the same without you!!!
I will miss your smile and your kind heart. I am so excited that you are retiring and able to do the things you enjoy most! I’ll miss you but you deserve to retire while you’re still young enough to enjoy it!!!!!!
Joe, you have a kind heart and it shows in the love you have for your family. The thousands of animals whose lives you changed I’m sure would thank you if they could. This place will not be the same without you. I am so excited for you and Fran and in some way I’m envious of you both. Take care, live large, and enjoy your golden years! You deserve it!!!!
Jennifer Grzeskiewicz, Adoptions:
One thing I have learned from Fran is that there is no “I” in team. Teamwork is a very important part of our jobs and without it we wouldn’t be able to function the way we do. I love that Fran welcomed me into our Adoptions family – without them to talk to or rely on for help, things would be much more difficult.
Tina Corcoran, Adoptions:
I remember bringing my daughter Devan to the Angola shelter when she was young. We would walk the dogs and even adopted our second family dog named Bojangles from Fran and Joe!
Sandy Comes, Adoptions: To Fran: I will miss the morning stories and jokes; you always made the mornings silly! Thank you for always being there as a co-worker and a friend to help me when I was stuck with anything. You always made it seem easy. I will miss you my dear friend. You were a joy to work with and honor to become friends with. I hope you and Joe get to enjoy all the wonderful things retirement offers! Always remember you can volunteer anytime as a greeter! Love you!! To Joe: Over time I got to know you and learned what a wonderful person you really are. You have done the work of many in this shelter and I am sure [there were times that were not] easy, so please enjoy your retirement! You have more than earned it!
Julia Walsh, Lipsey Clinic & former Veterinary Department Assistant: Joe and Fran are very passionate and dedicated to the SPCA.
I look up to them and am inspired by their relationship- it must have not always been easy to work with your spouse for 30 + years 🙂 !
I looked forward to Fran’s warm greetings every morning. It has been a pleasure working with them both! Best wishes!
Lydia Stineman, Veterinary Technician/Lincoln Memorial University Program Support: I [had heard] about “Fran and Joe from the Southtowns” and when that shelter closed, heard they were coming to the “Northtowns” shelter [in Tonawanda]. I was excited to meet them, because I had heard so much about them but had never seen them! Fran was so sweet, and we connected right away. Joe is a big teddy bear! He gets right to the point, and that’s THAT! It was awesome working with them, and I will miss them both! 😘
SPCA SERVING ERIE COUNTY TO BRING BACK ‘NAME YOUR OWN PRICE’ ADOPTIONS FOR KITTENS & CATS 20 WEEKS AND OLDER
Starting Monday, August 19 for 19 days, the SPCA Serving Erie County will bring back its Name Your Own Price adoption special for kittens and cats ages 20 weeks and older. The adoption special will run through Friday, September 6 and applies to felines temporarily residing at the SPCA’s 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca site, or one of several offsite adoption locations.
Included with the adoption is the cat’s spay/neuter surgery; age-appropriate vaccinations; initial worming; flea control medicine; feline leukemia test; microchip; temporary identification; a certificate for the new pet’s first physical examination at the SPCA’s Lipsey Clinic or at the Niagara Frontier Veterinary Society’s veterinarian of choice; the option of a 30-day pet health insurance plan provided by 24PetWatch; and while supplies last, a bag of Purina cat food.
See photos of cats available in West Seneca here, and for a list of offsite adoption locations along with photos of cats available at those sites, click here. Questions about Name Your Own Price adoptions? Call SPCA Adoptions: 716-875-7360, ext. 233.