SPCA ACCEPTED INTO ‘WE FOSTER CHALLENGE!’

May 13, 2022
By: SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

The SPCA Serving Erie County has been accepted into the Maddie’s Fund We Foster Challenge! 

The We Foster Challenge is meant to help shelter and rescue organizations create or expand community-based foster programs that will get community members involved and proudly saying, “We foster! So can you!” As we shift towards a more community-centric model of animal welfare, it’s important to get everyone in the Western NY area involved. After all, fostering is a job just about anyone can do.  Pet owners know the incredible bond that humans and animals have and the importance of keeping families together. Foster care is a powerful way to achieve that. That’s what the We Foster Challenge is all about!

SPIRIT is a Shadow Cat currently in a foster home. He’s made great progress in the home, and his foster mom Erica reports that he approaches her now when she holds a brush so he can take control of his own grooming.

Throughout the month of May, the SPCA Serving Erie County will be highlighting Shadow Cats as our We Foster Challenge project. Shadow Cats is a new initiative which works 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.  We are seeing a positive response regarding the acceptance of these shy cats just the way they are, so we are expanding the adoption opportunities and housing of these cats to colony settings within the SPCA’s physical shelter as well.  While some Shadow Cats need to get out of the shelter to showcase their personalities, some are best kept with their buddies in the colony rooms that we have in our modern shelter.  We let the cats help us understand what they need.

SMOOCHIE was the first cat identified as a Shadow Cat. She is the “poster child” for the prestigious title, and serves as the spokeskitty! Her foster mom sent this photo and described the progress she is making in her home. Smoochie is still shy and prefers the shadows of her home, but she does come out to play, and follows foster mom around during meal time, and even approaches her for pets. Smoochie is available for adoption from foster mom’s home.

Shadow Cats are the best friend you don’t yet have.  They are quiet, stealth, and maybe just need a little extra time to acclimate into your home before they settle into being a lap cat.  Or perhaps they’ll remain the quiet and polite roommate that is grateful for your companionship and company….from a distance.  Shadow Cats offer the benefit of companionship without the burden of constant attention.  They’re great pets for individuals that work from home, or individuals who might work nontraditional shifts.  They’d be great roommates in apartments (they don’t need too much space!)

Pets are like people in so many ways, so why wouldn’t some of them be a little shyer than others?

This exciting Challenge is funded by Michelson Found Animals Foundation, Maddie’s Fund® and Cuddly in collaboration with Adopt-A-Pet.com, Adoptimize, American Pets Alive!, ASPCA, The Association for Animal Welfare Advancement, Best Friends Animal Society, Companions and Animals for Reform and Equity (CARE), Community Cats Podcast, Greater Good Charities, HeARTS Speak, Humane Society of the United States, National Animal Care and Control Association, Petco Love, and PetSmart Charities.  We are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this important shift in the work of animal welfare.

Want to get involved with fostering (or even adopting) your own Shadow Cat?  Please contact the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Foster Care Department via email at FosterCare@YourSPCA.org.

 

 

 

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!

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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 >>

 

Email MelanieR@yourspca.org for information or to register for the virtual session, or click on the image below for details on the SPCA’s Foster Care Department:

SHADOW CATS

Help a cat see the light! Become a member of the SPCA’s Foster Care team and bring home a “Shadow Cat!” And now, you can ADOPT a Shadow Cat for a waived adoption fee! Shadow Cats:
-Are quiet, polite roommates
-Are low-key
-Are not attention-seekers
-Keep to themselves
-Are perfect for those with busy lifestyles
-Only require food, a litter box, and plenty of hiding spots! 
NEW! Are available for adoption from either a foster home or the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter for a waived adoption fee! Read about this exciting update here! >>

Shadow Cat foster parents will foster cats in the home a minimum of two weeks; length of stay depends on each cat’s individual needs. As with all foster companions, the SPCA provides food, supplies, veterinary care, and guidance.

You can read more about the SPCA’s Shadow Cat Program here. If you’d like to help a Shadow Cat see the light, please contact the SPCA’s Foster Care Department at (716) 875-7360, ext. 216, or FosterCare@yourspca.org

Learn About the SPCA’s Foster Care Program >>

 

SPCA Serving Erie County LVT Constantino is Nominee for 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award

Vote for Marisa each day >>

June 18, 2021 — The annual American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™ honor the heroes who dedicate their lives to making a difference in animals’ lives, and this year, the SPCA Serving Erie County’s Marisa Constantino, LVT and Dr. Allison Kean, DVM were both nominated for these awards and recognition!

Constantino, pictured here, is one of five veterinary nurses selected to advance to the voting round!

Voting for the 2021 American Humane Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse Awards™ ,  sponsored by Zoetis Petcare, is now open!  From now until 12 p.m. Pacific Time on July 29, 2021, you can vote for your favorite vet and vet nurse each day. Your votes will determine the winners that will be featured on Hallmark Channel this fall.

If you are a U.S. resident at least 18 years old, please vote for Marisa each day right here >>

Marisa was nominated due to the outstanding care she provides. Her nomination at AmericanHumane.org reads as follows: 

Marisa demonstrates the characteristics of an American Hero Veterinary Nurse on a daily basis. She demonstrates the perfect balance of professionalism, compassion, logic, curiosity, and reason. Marisa approaches each animal she is presented with as if that animal is the only one she will treat that day, and may not see again. For a large, open admission, multi-species shelter, and public-facing clinic, Marisa does the work of 3 technicians. She has taken on the role of trainer and mentor to a large number of 4th year veterinary students on a regular shelter rotation, and does so with the knowledge that she has been influenced by preceptor mentors like her, and strives to pay it forward, also with the knowledge that these future veterinarians will depend on the talents and skills of technicians as they settle into their career, and knowing how to navigate that partnership with grace and professional respect is crucial.

 As animal welfare shifts to a true social service initiative, the ability to serve people with the same respect as animals in need is a skill that Marisa demonstrates without even trying. She sees the big picture, and works to undo much of the oppression and discrimination that many clients seeking services have experienced at some point in their lives. Marisa sees only solutions, not barriers. 

Animal welfare needs to care about people as much as it cares about animals, and Marisa is a perfect vision of that goal. 

The SPCA’s Vice President of Veterinary Services, Melanie Rushforth, says, “It is an honor to work with someone like Marisa on a daily basis.  She is a humble caretaker and an innovative veterinary nurse who represents the industry with the utmost professionalism.  She helps others be better.” We couldn’t agree more!

One winning Hero Veterinarian and Hero Veterinary Nurse will be featured on the 2021 American Humane Hero Dog Awards® broadcast on Hallmark Channel this fall!

Please take this opportunity to vote for Marisa as recipient of the American Humane Hero Veterinary Nurse Award™, and encourage your friends and family members to do the same! 

–SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

 

Valentine’s Day and Pets

February 11, 2021
By: SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

While we at the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County believe the best Valentine’s gift you can give your pet is the gift of a longer and healthier life without the burden of litters and pesky hormonal cycles, free of fleas and other parasites, it’s the season of love! Let’s talk a little about things to look out for this month.

Forbidden Chocolate
Seasoned pet lovers know that all types of chocolate are potentially life-threatening when ingested by pets. Methylxanthines are caffeine-like stimulants that affect gastrointestinal, neurologic and cardiac function—they can cause vomiting, diarrhea, hyperactivity, seizures and an abnormally elevated heart rate. The high-fat content in lighter chocolates can potentially lead to a life-threatening inflammation of the pancreas. Go ahead and indulge, but don’t leave chocolate out for chowhounds to find.

Careful with Cocktails
Spilled wine, a half a glass of champagne, or some leftover liquor are nothing to cry over until a curious pet laps them up. Because animals are smaller than humans, a little bit of alcohol can do a lot of harm, causing vomiting, diarrhea, lack of coordination, central nervous system depression, tremors, difficulty breathing, metabolic disturbances and even coma. Potentially fatal respiratory failure can also occur if a large amount is ingested.

Life Is Sweet
Don’t let pets near treats sweetened with xylitol. If ingested, gum, candy, and other treats that include this sweetener can result in hypoglycemia (a sudden drop in blood sugar). This can cause your pet to suffer depression, loss of coordination and seizures.

Every Rose Has Its Thorn
Don’t let pets near roses or other thorny-stemmed flowers. Biting, stepping on, or swallowing their sharp, woody spines can cause serious infection if a puncture occurs. De-thorn your roses far away from pets.

Playing with Fire
It’s nice to set your evening aglow with candlelight, but put out the fire when you leave the room. Pawing kittens and nosy pooches can burn themselves or cause a fire by knocking over unattended candles.

Wrap It Up
Gather up tape, ribbons, bows, wrapping paper, cellophane and balloons after presents have been opened—if swallowed, these long, stringy and “fun-to-chew” items can get lodged in your pet’s throat or digestive tract, causing her to choke or vomit.

Learn more about the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County here >>

Find the love you’ve been looking for at the SPCA Serving Erie County! See our adoptable animals >>

 

Lipsey Clinic COVID-19 Standard Operating Procedures
November 13, 2020

New York State has recognized veterinary practices such as the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County as essential and are allowing them to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic. To protect staff from the spread of this virus, veterinary clinics such as the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County have made considerations to protect both human and animal health.

The Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County veterinarians are applying careful professional judgment to case management so that needed care for animals continues to be provided while limiting staff and client person-to-person exposure. This may also include prioritizing urgent patient visits and postponing non-urgent veterinary visits and elective procedures until regular business operations resume in Western New York. In some jurisdictions, executive orders will directly influence what types of procedures may be performed.

The greatest risk of COVID-19 exposure to staff at veterinary clinics comes from person-to-person transmission through respiratory droplets from coughing, sneezing, or talking, which is the main way SARS-CoV-2 spreads. Clinic staff are continuing to self-screen daily, at the beginning of shifts prior to interacting with staff and clients and will practice social distancing. The Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County is taking additional precautions to minimize staff contact with all pet owners.

Effective immediately, the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County will enforce the following procedures in addition to the standard directive for all individuals to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth completely and socially distance at least six feet apart when in an area with other people.

-When a client calls to make an appointment, the receptionist will inform the client that only one person will be allowed to approach the building to pass along the pet to a veterinary staff member within the entryway/double doors at the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County and anyone else along for the appointment will have to wait in the car. At this time, the receptionist will ask if the pet has had any exposure to a person with suspected or confirmed COVID-19.  The receptionist will gather applicable information for the pet’s appointment at this time. Any pet who has had exposure to an individual with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 will be deferred to an appointment at a later time.

-Upon arriving for an appointment, the client must call from the car upon arrival.  At this time, an assistant may gather pertinent information from the client regarding the concerns for the veterinary visit.

-When the building is cleared from the previous appointment, the client will be invited by phone to approach the building with the pet to hand off the pet to a veterinary assistant at the double doors of the Lipsey Clinic. Only one person should approach the doors with the pet.  Pet owners will not be allowed to enter the building.

-A veterinary assistant will weigh the pet in the lobby and bring the pet to the exam room for exam and treatment. Upon completion of the exam, the owner will be called again to discuss any treatments necessary. After treatments are performed, the owner will be called and given the total for the visit, and will complete the check-out process over the phone prior to collecting the pet if the owner is paying by credit card (this is preferred).  If the owner is paying with cash, the owner may approach the building if another pet owner is not present, pay for services and receive change, and at that time, retrieve the pet and accompanying paperwork.

It is essential for the health and safety of staff and clients that these safety directives be followed.

For  more information, please visit the Lipsey Clinic page >>

— Melanie Rushforth, SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services

SPCA Slates Canine Parvo Vaccine Clinic for November 18

October 28, 2020
By: SPCA Vice President of Veterinary Services Melanie Rushforth

Canine parvovirus (commonly called parvo) is a highly contagious viral disease that can produce a life-threatening illness in puppies and dogs. It can be transmitted by any person, animal, or object that comes in contact with an infected dog’s feces.

Puppies, adolescent dogs, and adult dogs who are not vaccinated are at risk of contracting the virus.

On Wednesday, November 18th, the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County will host a free community Parvo vaccine clinic in an effort to keep pet dogs in the larger community healthy and vaccinated against this deadly virus.

We will serve dogs 4 months and older at this clinic. This clinic will abide by all capacity restrictions and social distancing directives to keep the humans who love and care for these pets safe and limit the risks of contracting COVID-19.

Appointments are required in order to be seen at this event. The SPCA will not be able to accommodate walk-up clients at this time.

To request an appointment, please email ParvoClinic@yourspca.org . You will receive an automatic reply detailing the process to confirm your appointment. Please note, an appointment request is not a guaranteed appointment.

Due to social distancing and capacity limitations, we will be unable to serve walk-in clients on this day. If you do not get an appointment, you are welcome to schedule a wellness visit at the Lipsey Clinic at the SPCA Serving Erie County.

Masks, worn properly, are required on the SPCA Serving Erie County property. If you do not wear your mask completely covering your nose and mouth for the duration of your time at the SPCA Serving Erie County, you will be asked to leave.

We are honored to serve the pets and the humans of Erie County with dignity and with safety precautions in place.

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