SPCA Summer Camp Offers Three Active Options for 2020

July 7, 2020
By:  SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County’s annual Summer Kindness Camp program has been modified to teach important lessons while keeping kids active, entertained, safe, healthy, and distant!

Three different camp options will be offered this summer:
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks
KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH!
KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks is a non-interactive kindness camp experience providing children with fun, engaging, hands-on activities and games that can be enjoyed at their convenience. Backpacks include one week’s worth of materials and instructions needed for the themed activities, art projects, educational handouts, and fun swag items…all children will need are safe scissors, glue, and a table cover for messy projects! There are three backpack themes available for $30 per backpack for children ages 5-12 and 12-15. See more on backpacks and register for your child’s backpack here.

KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! is a kindness camp with backpack projects that take place in the child’s home and yard, but the backpacks also go “off-leash” with some interactive, virtual experiences! Each day, 30-60-minute live, virtual interactions with people and animals will take place; campers will virtually meet different animals, participate in interactive games and activities, and learn lots of new things! Also included are on-demand videos, and additional, downloadable activity sheets! Themes, age ranges, dates, and costs vary; see more about KINDNESS CAMP: The Backpacks OFF-LEASH! here.

KINDNESS CAMP: The Live, Virtual, Veterinary Experience is a veterinary camp series for children who love animals and are interested in exploring veterinary careers! Campers will learn what it takes to be a veterinarian through a combination of live virtual content and fun activities, plus enjoy a take-home kit of materials. They will learn how to check a pet’s vital signs, discover what heartworms are, watch an animal exam, observe a neuter surgery, and so much more. Both live, virtual experiences, Introduction to Veterinary Science and Advanced Veterinary Science, are open to children ages 9-14 and cost $120. More information, dates, and registration are available here.

All backpacks and take-home materials have been handled by healthy staff members at the SPCA who were wearing gloves and masks. All materials have been thoroughly disinfected.  Backpacks are available via curbside pick-up, delivery, or shipping.

To find more information on all three types of camp experiences and to register your child for one camp (or all three!), please visit our all new SPCA Kindness Camp page here.

ECMC Staff Receiving SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love Therapy House Calls

April 14, 2020
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

The SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love therapy animals are hitting the virtual road again as they make more HOUSE CALLS, this time bringing their comfort and care to Erie County Medical Center (ECMC).

When ECMC staff members were asked what could be done to help make them feel just a little better, the response included an overwhelming desire for therapy pets.

Enter the SPCA’s Paws for Love therapy animals. The SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love two and four-footed volunteers will be making virtual house calls to the staff at ECMC through recorded therapy visits. “SPCA Serving Erie County Paws for Love: HOUSE CALLS, Project ECMC” starts this week;  ECMC staff members will be informed about where they can view the “visits” on ECMC’s Intranet site.

ECMC Corporate Associate Medical Director and Emergency Department Attending Physician Dr. Sam D. Cloud said, “Our dedicated clinical and support staff are working many long, difficult hours each day to address the many needs of our diverse patient population during this pandemic. On behalf of us all at ECMC, I am pleased to offer our sincere thanks to the SPCA for providing virtual access to their therapy animals through their ‘Paws for Love’ video visits.”

Read more about the SPCA Paws for Love: HOUSE CALLS program and find a playlist of house calls here >>

The SPCA Serving Erie County shares its gratitude and thanks to the professionals at ECMC for doing everything in their power to help us recover and rebound during the current health crisis. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with you all.

April 9, 2020This story was released last year to help pet owners make it a safe Easter for pets. This year’s holiday is very different from last year’s, but some of these reminders are still applicable for community members planning on bringing at least a few Easter traditions into the home on Sunday. 

LILIES, CHOCOLATE HARMFUL TO PETS; OTHER EASTER PET SAFETY REMINDERS

March 25, 2019
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

The SPCA Serving Erie County reminds pet owners that chocolate and Easter lilies can be harmful, even deadly, to pets.

All parts of the Easter lily, day lily, tiger lily, rubrum lily, and others are toxic to felines. Ingesting even a small amount of the plant can result in kidney failure and, if untreated, death. Shortly after ingestion, a cat may vomit, become lethargic, or develop a lack of appetite. As the kidney damage progresses, these signs worsen. In most cases, a cat must be treated within mere hours of ingesting the plant, or damage to the kidneys will be irreversible.

Most chocolate contains high amounts of fat and methylxanthine alkaloids (theobromine and caffeine) that cause constriction of arteries, increased heart rate, and central nervous system/cardiac muscle stimulation.

These effects can lead to vomiting, diarrhea, restlessness, excessive panting and thirst, hyperactivity, increased urinating, stiffness, and exaggerated reflexes. Cardiac failure, seizures, coma, and death can result if the chocolate ingestion is not found within four to six hours and treated appropriately.

Other reminders:

*Thinking about bringing a bunny into the home? Check out this important article from the SPCA’s former Rabbit Coordinator Mark Schnerle and the House Rabbit Society. You’ll see the truth about the nine most common bunny myths, you’ll learn how to select the right rabbit for you and your family, and more!

*If you color your Easter eggs, ensure the food colorings or dyes do not contain ingredients that are toxic to pets. And speaking of eggs, why risk salmonella by including raw eggs in your pets’ diet? Cooked eggs will offer them the same nutritional benefit.

*Check candy for the ingredient XYLITOL, extremely toxic to dogs even in very small amounts. Xylitol is a low-calorie sugar alcohol used as a sweetener, and does not raise human blood sugar levels or damage teeth. However, it’s extremely toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure, seizures, and death.

*Keep Easter basket ‘grass’ and foil candy wrappers away from pets. These items are non-digestible and can get caught in the intestines, leading to blockage and possible perforation. They can lead to choking, strangulation, and even worse, an internal obstruction.

*If you’re using garlic, onions, or chives in meal preparation, be extra careful about ensuring your pets aren’t sneaking a taste. These items are toxic to both cats and dogs and can cause gastroenteritis and hemolytic anemia. Adding to the risk is the fact that signs of both may not appear for several days. Signs of toxicity include increased heart/breathing rates, pale gums, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, and lethargy.

*Tempted to share holiday table scraps with Fido or Fluffy? Use discretion. Be aware of bones in the mix. And don’t overfeed your animal with table food to which he’s not accustomed…diarrhea is never a pleasant thing with which to deal, especially on a holiday.

*Be careful in selecting spring plants for the home. The foliage, flower, or pod of daffodils can cause upset tummies, vomiting, or diarrhea; flower heads of hydrangeas can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and weakness; the seeds and pods of wisteria can cause all of the above plus dehydration and collapse; even ivy is toxic and can cause breathing difficulty, coma, or death.

*Be sure curious pets are not able to get at a garbage bag! Even if harmful items are properly disposed of, an unsupervised pet can chew through a plastic garbage bag and still have access to raw bones and other waste.

Contact your veterinarian for more information.  In an after-hours or holiday veterinary emergency, you can reach an emergency veterinary clinic at 716-839-4043 in Cheektowaga, or 716-662-6660 in Orchard Park.

Click on the image below to see Lauren Hall’s story on the SPCA’s Paws for Love program and the Family Justice Center, airing this morning on WGRZ-TV:

NO BONES ABOUT IT…KEEP PETS SAFE THIS THANKSGIVING

November 21, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

People aren’t the only ones looking forward to upcoming holiday dinners…the smell of Thanksgiving dinner is enough to drive any four-legged critter into a food frenzy.  The SPCA Serving Erie County has issued these holiday reminders to keep your pets safe, slim, and trim:

HUNGRY PETS: Too many holiday treats won’t only pack the pounds on us…they’ll pack them on our pets. Many pets are on standard, limited diets; feeding them large quantities of food they don’t normally receive could cause abdominal pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, none of which are welcome during this festive holiday…or at any other time, for that matter. Use discretion. Turkey bones are also dangerous for pets. A brittle, spiky bone could cause irritation of the stomach or intestines, or could lodge in your pet’s esophagus.
NOTE: Dogs eating foods to which they’re not accustomed may experience BLOAT, a life-threatening condition. Dogs experiencing bloat may have difficulty breathing, may appear weak and/or depressed, may attempt to vomit but cannot, and/or may appear to be extremely uncomfortable for no apparent reason. If your pet exhibits signs of bloat, bring him to a veterinarian as soon as possible. Speak with your veterinarian for more information on this condition.

NO BREAD FOR BARNEY:  Think twice before leaving that homemade bread dough atop the oven to rise. According to the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center, when bread dough is ingested, an animal’s body heat causes the dough to rise in the stomach. As alcohol is produced during the rising process, the dough expands. Pets who have eaten bread dough may experience abdominal pain, vomiting, disorientation and depression.

PEANUT BUTTER WARNING: Using peanut butter as a holiday treat for your pet? Remember to check the label! Xylitol is a sugar substitute now added to some peanut butters and other foods and candies. It’s safe for most humans, but deadly to pets, even in small quantities! It’s also a bad idea to give any animal caffeine-laced peanut butter; serious health problems could ensue.


GARBAGE PICKERS?
  Some animals patiently wait for the chance to pick through the garbage when you’re not around. Aluminum foils with juices, plastic wraps with frostings, even tasty strings from tying turkeys…well, the temptation can just be too much for your deprived pets. Keep your garbage bags away from where pets can chew through them to get to the goods. Ingestion of these items can be life-threatening.

SWEET TEMPTATIONS: CHOCOLATE CAN BE FATAL TO PETS!  Chocolate contains a substance called Theobromine, a compound very similar to caffeine in structure. Theobromine can be toxic to dogs and cats in small quantities, causing vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures, rapid and irregular heartbeats, muscle tremors, coma, even death. Keep chocolate safely away from all animals.

POTPOURRI PROBLEMS:  Of course we want our homes to smell nice when guests arrive…but be mindful that liquid and other types of potpourri, especially sprinkled into rugs, along with many scented essential candles and oils are toxic to dogs, cats, even birds and other animals.

For additional holiday medical reminders, speak with your veterinarian, or call the SPCA’s Lipsey Clinic: 716-531-4700.

Buffalo Bills Visit SPCA Veterans in NFL’s ‘Salute to Service’

November 13, 2019
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

On Tuesday, November 12, 2019, members of the Buffalo Bills visited veterans connected in some way with the SPCA Serving Erie County as part of the NFL’s ‘Salute to Service’ program!

From the Buffalo Bills: “In recognition of the NFL’s Salute to Service campaign, the Buffalo Bills joined local military veterans at the SPCA Serving Erie County on Tuesday to engage with adoptable animals, and promote the good work the SPCA does for our community. The SPCA’s Paws & Patriots program was developed for veterans in our community in need of giving and receiving special love and attention, and for animals at the SPCA who need exactly the same.”

Honored for past or current service were Joseph Browning, Brian Buck (with SPCA Paws for Love dog Sam), Bruce Clugston, Peter Cooley, Keith Foss, Gary Gonzalez, Dennis Hennessey, Timothy Joyner (with SPCA Paws for Love dog Bruno), Anthony Lattuca, Ray Mandel, John Miller, Allan Monaco (with SPCA Paws for Love dog Jake),  Richard Sansone (posthumous recognition), Steven Tuttle, and SPCA staff member Laura Zaranek.

Also on hand to add to the evening’s excitement were SPCA Paws for Love volunteers Brittany Betts (with Brody), Marcy Baumgarden (with Yankee and Dodger), and Deborah Williams (with Sam)!

The SPCA Serving Erie County extends a heartfelt thanks to the NFL and the Buffalo Bills for helping us honor veterans while shining a spotlight on the Paws and Patriots program here at the SPCA for the second year in a row.

If you are a veteran or active service man or woman and would like to learn more about the SPCA’s Paws and Patriots program, encouraging those who have served to work with SPCA shelter pets, please send an email to PawsandPatriots@yourspca.org.

Check out the Buffalo Bills’ photo album here, or by clicking the image below:

See WKBW-TV Ch. 7’s story here, or by clicking the image below:

See WIVB-TV Ch. 4’s story here, or by clicking the image below:

For more information, please contact Terry Belke: Terry.Belke@wgrz.com

From the Amherst Bee: click the image below to see how Amherst Middle School is dedicating the year to helping the SPCA Serving Erie County’s “Paws for Love” program!

HALLOWEEN: NO TREAT FOR PETS

October 24, 2019
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Chief Communications Officer

WITH A FEW EXTRA PRECAUTIONS, PETS CAN HAVE A HAPPY HALLOWEEN TOO!

Halloween is meant to be fun for children of all ages, but according to the SPCA Serving Erie County, pets often experience the dark side of Halloween fun.  With extra precautions, seasonal problems can often be avoided:

NO CHOCOLATE for you! Just dog treats this Halloween!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-HUNGRY PETS:  CHOCOLATE CAN BE FATAL TO YOUR PET!  Please share this tip with children, who may be tempted to share their Halloween take with their best four-footed friends! The sweet smell of Halloween chocolate and other candy left by a door pleases pets, as do cookies and cakes served at Halloween parties. Sweets can cause diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or worse.  Purchase Halloween treats made specifically for pets and keep the “people” treats away from where pets can reach them.

-PETS AS VICTIMS:  Halloween is traditionally known for trick-or-treaters…and pranksters.  KEEP ALL PETS INSIDE on Halloween night, and the nights immediately preceding and following October 31.  This will prevent them from being stolen, teased, kicked, blinded by flashlights or abused in other ways.

-NERVOUS/TERRITORIAL PETS:  Constant door-knocking or doorbell-ringing may cause an extremely nervous pet to shake or tremble uncontrollably, or have an “accident” in the house.  Territorial pets may become aggressive at the sound of unfamiliar visitors.  Keep nervous or territorial pets distracted in another room with the door closed.

-CURIOUS PETS:  Keep pets away from costume-making areas, where sequins or buttons can be swallowed.  Scissors used for cutting patterns, or knives used for carving jack o’lanterns, can harm your pet.  Also remember to keep pets away from a candle-illuminated jack o’lantern.  Halloween has become a popular season for decorations as well.  Keep decorations out of your pet’s reach, or securely attached in place to prevent your pet from pulling the decorations down.  Swallowing a decorative object may cause intestinal problems and present a potential emergency.

-KEEP CURRENT ID ON PETS: Exuberant or nervous pets may bolt out doors opened for trick-or-treat candy handouts. Ensure they are wearing proper identification (even if they are microchipped) in case they become lost. Collars are available for purchase at the SPCA Petique, located at the 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter, and other pet supply shops. If you lose or find a pet, visit the SPCA’s Lost & Found page for tips on what to do next.

Contact the SPCA Serving Erie County with any questions or concerns: 716-875-7360.

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.

-Read more information on out-of-town animals accepted by the SPCA on our Animal Transports page.