Pectus Excavatum is Not a Wizard Spell

Pectus Excavatum! It kind of sounds like a spell from Harry Potter, don’t you think? Well unfortunately it is not a fun or silly spell. Instead it is a dangerous condition Yogi the kitten was born with that changed the way her rib cage was shaped causing breathing issues. When Yogi came to us a few weeks ago we had no idea how badly she needed help. Her condition was so severe that she needed surgery in order to have a chance of making it to adulthood.

Often this diagnosis is a death sentence for kittens. But thanks to our awesome donors, medical team, and partner veterinarians we were able to give Yogi a chance at life. Her story and pictures are amazing, and we thought they might bring some joy to you on this gloomy day.

One week ago, Yogi underwent surgery at Planned PEThood of Georgia to fix her chest shape. We knew there were a lot of risks, and we also knew we had great people on board to help if needed. We had not one, but three doctors and our veterinary service manager jump in to help this sweet bobtail kitten. Each of them donated their time and came into our clinic after normal business hours to make this surgery possible.

After a miraculously successful surgery, everything was looking well, until little Yogi entered recovery. She just wouldn’t wake up. Our veterinarians knew something wasn’t right, so we reached out to our veterinary practice partners who graciously fit us in ASAP for an x-ray. It turned out that Yogi’s lungs were having trouble expanding to the new bigger space available after surgery. We knew this was a possible complication and Yogi needed oxygen support.

Yogi took another short trip to an emergency facility where she could continue to recover with 24/7 care – and most importantly oxygen support. Almost 8 hours after surgery she finally started to wake up. And then, by morning, she was doing well enough that she was ready to slowly wean off of oxygen support. It was the best news we could have received. And the even better part was that she went home with her foster family on the following evening!!!

Now, Yogi isn’t out of the woods yet. Part of the surgery involved sewing a custom external splint onto her chest to help her chest keep its new shape. She will have the splint on for about 6 weeks, and then she will have a second surgery to remove the splint.

But for now, Yogi is doing well and taking it easy with her foster family. She has even started to play, wobbling around with half of her body covered in a cast.  

We look forward to sharing the rest of her story with you in a few months. A lot of tiny miracles had to come together to help little Yogi on her journey. Thank you for your friendship and support. A huge thank you to the doctors and staff who went the extra mile to save this precious bobtail kitten, and thank you. Without our supporters none of this is possible.

If you would like to make a donation to our rescue fund to help animals like Yogi please visit our donation page.

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Soft Sheets that Save Lives

The kind folks at Peach Skin Sheets have offered us a terrific deal on their soft, luxurious sheets, which come in 24 colors! Which color would look good on your bed?

They’ll donate $20 to help rescue animals in need from every sheet set sold using our promo code and you’ll GET $25 off their regular price! That makes their $89.95 sheet sets (include fitted, flat, and pillowcases) only $64.95 including even California King Sets!

Please follow these instructions to make sure you get the discount price and Planned PEThood gets the $20 donation and you get a fabulous deal.


1. Go to www.PeachSkinSheets.com

– If you’re using a computer, select the “Shopping for a Fundraiser? Enter Here” link In the upper right.

– If you’re using a mobile device, tap the menu (3 horizontal lines) at upper right and then tap “Sign into the Fundraising Portal.”


2. Shop for your sheets!

3. When you’re ready to check out, enter our fundraiser code in the box provided: PETHOODGA

Online orders are shipped out within a few days all over the U.S. Plus, these make wonderful gifts for the person who has everything. The holidays are just around the corner…

Hurry! Our fundraiser ends Sun., Sept. 27!

Please note that fundraiser pricing cannot be combined with other promo codes, discounts, or specials including Colors of the Month pricing.

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Lucky Number 1,000 Takes a Ride

Madi Nix, Pennywise (the kitten), and Tanya Weaver celebrate our 1,000th transport!

When the Go Fix Georgia program began in May 2019, our team knew there was something magical in the works. This unique program was thinking outside of the box to ensure the health and safety of animals across the state. On August 20, 2020 the Go Fix Georgia program celebrated its 1,000th animal saved, Pennywise the kitten.

Pennywise poses after his extraordinary rescue.

Go Fix Georgia is dedicated to improving spay/neuter access to remote and rural animal shelters and communities across Georgia. The program is not complex, but it is wildly effective. In short, our dedicated staff and volunteers bring animals from county shelters to our Duluth clinic for surgery every week and then return them to the shelter for adoption. Every animal that enters the Go Fix Georgia program is guaranteed safety!

This program was initially created thanks to an innovation grant from Maddie’s Fund, and has been subsidized over the past year thanks to a Rachel Ray Save Them All Grant from Best Friends Animal Society. Without their investments, 1,000 animals would have been killed in rural shelters or adopted without being spayed.

Two kittens await surgery together.

Go Fix Georgia began in an effort to assist Newton County Animal Control, and has since added additional counties. In the beginning Newton County’s shelter did not have access to veterinary care or air conditioning, had a limited capacity to house animals, operated without a single rescue in their county, and only 47.5% of the animals that entered their facility left alive. They were struggling.

Just one year later, with the collective efforts of their staff and our program, immense progress has been made in Newton County. Their county commissioners allocated funds to expand their shelter, add air conditioning, require spay/neuter of all animals, and their euthanasia rate dropped to a record low. Animals in Newton County are now getting the care they deserve!

Planned PEThood’s goal is to broaden the scope of this service for Go Fix Georgia to include other rural counties and remote locations across the state. With access to affordable spay/neuter services, Planned PEThood aims to further reduce Georgia’s pet overpopulation problem, which causes the deaths of at least 40,000 cats and dogs in Georgia shelters each year.

The Go Fix Georgia model only works when we have two things from the county shelter – a team that believes in the effort and a way for the county to afford the services for their animals. Luckily, Habersham County Animal Control has both of those things, and just need a helping hand. Shelter Director, Madi Nix, has been working with us for a few months now and together we are making a difference in the lives of animals in Habersham County, like Pennywise.

Pennywise with her rescuer, Madi Nix, Shelter Director for Habersham County Animal Control

Pennywise took a wrong turn, and ended up 20+ feet down in a storm drain in a Dairy Queen parking lot in Baldwin, GA. He was sitting on a small ledge down there, just above all the “yuck” and water at the bottom. Thankfully, his cries were heard, and officers were dispatched to help! Unfortunately, the only way to save him would be to remove the sealed manhole. DOT was alerted, but it was time to improvise.

Madi had a 25 foot training lead in her car, along with her trusty “foster kitten supply” basket. So, she made a kitty elevator! She put some canned food in the basket, and lowered the basket down to the kitty. And waited. After about 5 minutes, kitten decided he was ready to go up and jumped in for a ride to the top!

Everyone at Planned PEThood was enamored with this sweet little kitten and his amazing story. So it made the fact that he was the 1,000th animal to ride our Go Fix Georgia van even more special.

Archer, one of the many animals transported to rescue.

In addition to animals transported for surgery prior to adoption, Planned PEThood networks with local rescue organizations to encourage them to pull from rural shelters like Newton and Habersham, adding those pets to the transport and moving more out of the shelter. Rescues and shelters often struggle with sending staff to remote shelters for rescue efforts, so many were eager and willing to aid us in our efforts. Roughly 400 of the 1000 animals we have transported have been rescue transports ensuring more room in rural shelters and less euthanasia!

Sometimes there are a little extra special patients onboard the Go Fix Georgia van. These two kitties had eye conditions that required specialized surgeries. One had an eye that was not functional and needed to be removed. The other kitty needed bilateral entropion surgery. This is to repair a condition where the eyelids grow inwards, instead of outwards like they should. Both of these surgeries would have cost Habersham County Animal Control thousands of dollars, which they wouldn’t have been able to afford. However, we happen to have an excellent surgeon on staff that was comfortable performing both surgeries at a fraction of the cost. While this is not a service we offer to the public, we do attempt to help shelters when we are able. While both of these kitties will have a few weeks of recovery time ahead of them, the surgeries were a success! They will no longer be burdened with the painful conditions they had and up for adoption very soon.

As we mark our 1,000th pet today, we know there are thousands more and we will continue to strive to be there. Rural shelters need our help, now more than ever and we look forward to the next 1,000. Thank you to all of our volunteers, fosters, supporters and followers who have helped make this happen.

If you have any questions or want to make a contribution to this effort e-mail gofix@PEThoodGA.org or visit PEThoodGA.org/GIVE

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Mufasa Moves to Ohio After Completing an Obstacle Course

Sometimes fostering is a sprint and other times it is a marathon. Mufasa was definitely a marathon kitty. To be honest, he may have even been an obstacle course kitty, jumping through hoops and over hurdles before landing the perfect adopter… in Ohio. To understand just how special his adoption is you must first understand Mufasa’s special needs.

Mufasa is estimated to be about 9-years-old and was rescued by Planned PEThood from a high-kill shelter. We have no idea how he landed up there to begin with or what his life was like before us. To say he was a hot mess is an understatement. His long hair was so matted that he had to be fully shaved upon rescue, and during the shaving process we realized he was emaciated and declawed for starters. Things were a challenge for Mufasa from day one, but he has always been the perfect gentlemen. He easily won over his foster parents with his blue eyes and LOUD meow.

Unfortunately Mufasa’s journey was just beginning. Remember, we are on a bumpy crazy obstacle course here. In summary, after months of vet visits and tests here is the list of ailments Mufasa suffers from:

1. Arthritis – moderately severe in elbows and mild in wrists
2. Bone Marrow – non-regenerative anemia
3. Thickened Small Intestines – possible cancer or IBD
4. Heart Murmur
5. Declawed – refuses to use litter box; uses puppy pads but often has misses and loose/soft stool

Just one of these ailments would typically detour an adopter, but five serious issues seemed like it would scare everyone away. His foster family was open and honest on his profile and shared the good, the bad, and the difficult. Mufasa was going to be an expensive kitty, but he was worth it!

Every once and a while we would get an e-mail or application that seemed promising, but they seemed to always fall through. It seems Mufasa knew the perfect mommy was on her way the entire time. He just patiently waited in his cat bed.

To care for his medical issues Mufasa needed a RX diet, probiotics, monthly injections for arthritis and joint supplements. Who better to care for his issues than a retired vet tech with experience with his breed and medical conditions?! When this application came in it was too good to be true. Mufasa would even be an only cat with ALL of his new mom’s attention. Just one small hiccup in the application. His adopter was in Ohio and Mufasa was in Georgia.

Well, when it is meant to be everything just falls in line. Mufasa’s adopter flew (in a pandemic) to Atlanta to pick him up at the airport. His foster family overjoyed to bring him to the airport for a final farewell. Just like that Mufasa’s obstacle course was complete. He made it to the finish line and won the prize. A life of love, comfort, and care thanks to a serious of events. Each part playing a significant role in Mufasa’s happy ending. 

Every adoption is a race to the finish line. Some are fast sprints that take but a few weeks from rescue to adoption, others are marathons that take months or years, and occasionally there are a few obstacle course runners like Mufasa. Foster homes are the constant that every animal needs in order to get to the finishline. Consider becoming a foster home today!

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Athletes for Animals Gives Back

Times are tough for many people and their pets, which is why we are so excited to receive a grant of $1,200 from Athletes For Animals.

Athletes for Animals has successfully connected athletes with a shared passion for animals, educated the public about responsible pet ownership, promoted pet adoption, raised funds and distributed grants to support best practices in animal welfare.

The awarded grant funds are specifically designated to help reduce the cat population in the Lawrenceville area through spay/neuter. We have a few areas that have been on our waiting list to assist, and with these funds we are able to get to work. 

Please join us in thanking this generous organization for their gift to our community. Their support allows us to help kittens like the one pictured.

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Easy Ways to Protect Your Pet on the 4th of July

 

 

This year, the 4th of July may not be filled with as much food, friends and fireworks as previous years. Many cities have canceled their firework celebrations all together. However, without large fireworks displays people are likely to host even more fireworks in their neighborhoods. For our pets, it can feel more like a scary alien invasion!

In fact, July 5th is the busiest day of the year for animal shelters, which fill up quickly with animals who panic and flee the bright lights and loud noises of holiday celebrations. Make July 4th a pet-riotic holiday by following these steps for a stress free day for both you and your fur-kids.

  1. Prepare for the worst-case scenario.  July 4th is a great annual reminder to be prepared in case your pet escapes or gets lost. If your pet is not wearing a collar with an ID tag, now is the best time to get one. Visit your local pet store or even Wal-Mart for a tag machine. Tags cost less than $10 (you will spend more on gas searching for your lost baby if he/she runs away.) If your pet is not microchipped, visit consider getting one. They run $20-$50 depending on where you go and they provide peace of mind in case your pet is ever lost that you can be reunited. Planned PEThood offers low-cost microchipping at vaccine clinics are with spay/neuter surgeries.
  2. Double Check Your Microchip. If your pet is microchipped, you’ll want to double check that your pet’s registry is connected to the correct name and your current phone number and address. If your pet is chipped but not registered, you can register for free here. On that page, created especially for pet owners, you can find resources on what steps to take in case your pet is lost, check local shelters and create a poster for your lost pet.
  3. Leave your pet home. Better to leave them at home in a cool spot with lots of water. The noises might be scary, but you will know they are safe. It’s especially wise to avoid bringing your pets to firework events, as they could panic and try to run. No matter how well trained your pet is, a loud BOOM can cause them to run away.
  4. Work them out.  Be sure to give your pets lots of exercise during the day, so they’ll be a little worn out before the scary noises start at night. A nice long run or play session during the daytime will help with your pet’s overall stress and anxiety levels. Some pets may sleep right through the night time celebrations!
  5. Head indoors before the fun begins. Don’t wait for the fireworks to be in full swing before taking care of your pet. It’s best to bring him or her indoors or put them in a cozy spot well ahead of the first boom of fireworks. Which brings us to…
  6.  Create a safe space. Pre-pyrotechnics, create a safe, escape-proof space in your home. Lower the blinds, close the windows, provide a bed or crate where they feel comfortable, offer a special chew or toy to distract them and turn on the TV or radio to help mask the noises outside.
  7. Wrap them up. Confining movement in dogs and cats actually has a calming effect on them, which is why you might want to consider an anti-anxiety wrap or coat. Try this one, available on AmazonIn a pinch, you can even create one from a scarf.
  8. Give them a chill pill. If you’re really worried about a pet who stresses easily, talk to your vet in advance about anti-anxiety chews, drops or other remedies that can help your pet relax. There are plenty of prescription and homeopathic solutions out there that can help your pet get the extra dose of relaxation that he or she needs.

Independence Day is fun for us, but it’s the worst day imaginable for some cats and dogs. They literally think the world is ending! Do them a favor and make sure they’re well protected and safe so they stay with you for many years to come. Happy Fourth!

Credit: MICHELSON FOUND ANIMALS FOUNDATION

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Love at First Sight, Vision-Impaired Kitty Adopted

Hi there! My name is Fabio, and this is my story.

In 2019, I found myself in a rural high-kill animal shelter. They said I was feral, unfriendly, and unadoptable, but I was just  petrified! I am visually impaired, and the loud noises at the shelter left me scared and confused. 

Lucky for me, Planned PEThood was able to travel more than 50 miles to rescue unadoptable cats, like me, from this rural shelter to place in their Working Cat Program.

The Working Cat Program saves cats deemed unadoptable who would otherwise be killed, and it places them in unique locations at businesses, farms, and homes as working cats. That was the original plan for me… 

However, with a little bit of love, care, and medical attention the team at Planned PEThood realized I was far from feral. I was named Fabio, which fits me perfectly. I am blonde, fabulous, and friendly! I was just visually impaired, scared, and in pain.

For more than a year I lived at Planned PEThood’s spay/neuter clinic. I met LOTS of friends and friendly people, but the clinic was loud and filled with commotion. I longed for a quiet home to call my own. 

Just a few weeks ago, I got my wish! I was adopted by a very loving and understanding mommy and a feline sister. She wanted to share an update with you: 

“He’s the chillest cat I’ve met. It took only one day for him to start exploring and letting go. You all took care of him so well he is already pro at most things. Fabio is spending most of his day on the lounge couch and gazing out the window, since we have a busy and lively neighborhood. He is starting to play, and I’m understating more and more the range of his vision. He does laps around apartment while touching the wall/perimeter with this tail, almost like a walking stick . He zooms one fast time around the living room after using the litter box, which I find hilarious. Other places he’s claimed as nap spaces include: under our bed, by the screen balcony door and under my desk. I’m winning his heart one serving of wet food at a time, I can feel it.” – Fabio’s Mom. 

Planned PEthood’s team and supporters are the only reason I am alive and well today. Thank you all for your kindness. I look forward to a long and happy life with my new family. 

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Three Grants Awarded for COVID-19 Assistance

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has affected small businesses and non-profit organizations hard. Our spay/neuter clinic and supporting programs were closed for five weeks, while our rescue and foster programs were running at warp speed. Our fans and supporters have been crucial to our survival.

Additionally, there have been numerous organizations that have stepped up to offer additional aid to animal welfare organizations like Planned PEThood of Georgia. We are honored to have received aid from three organizations: The Petfinder Foundation, The Banfield Foundation, and Maddie’s Fund. Their support has allowed us to continue our important work.

Please take a moment to learn about the wonderful work of these three organizations and thank them for their gifts to Planned PEThood of Georgia. 

Maddie's FundMaddie’s Fund ($2,500) – #ThanksToMaddie our foster animals have been able to receive the supplies and care they need during this difficult time. Planned PEThood was awarded a $2,500 Foster Pet Stimulus Grant to assist with the cost of basic supplies such as litter and food and critical vaccinations for 50 kittens. 

Maddie’s Fund® is a family foundation created in 1994 by Workday® co-founder Dave Duffield and his wife, Cheryl, who have endowed the Foundation with more than $300 million. Since then, the Foundation has awarded more than $237.6 million in grants toward increased community lifesaving, shelter management leadership, shelter medicine education and foster care across the U.S. The Duffields named Maddie’s Fund after their Miniature Schnauzer Maddie, who always made them laugh and gave them much joy. Maddie was with Dave and Cheryl for ten years and continues to inspire them today.

Maddie’s Fund is the fulfillment of a promise to an inspirational dog, investing its resources to create a no-kill nation where every dog and cat is guaranteed a healthy home or habitat. #ThanksToMaddie.

Petfinder FoundationPetfinder Foundation ($750) – The Petfinder Foundation’s 2020 COVID-19 Operation Grant was the first grant available to animal welfare organizations for COVID-19 specific needs. We are honored to receive a gift of $750 from the Petfinder Foundation to assist with animals our organization has already committed to help. 

The Petfinder Foundation supports the shelters and rescue groups, including Planned PEThood of Georgia, that post their adoptable pets on Petfinder.com. It is their mission is to prevent the euthanasia of adoptable pets.

Banfield FoundationBanfield Foundation (920 doses of flea/tick prevention) – In the past, the Banfield Foundation has gifted our clinic with surgical equipment and sterilization tools totaling close to $20,000. This recent gift of 920 doses of flea/tick prevention is just another testament to their generosity. 

These medications will be used at our clinic to give to pets and pet parents in need. Often we encounter patients unable to afford supplies such as flea/tick medication. This gift will allow our team the ability to help pet parents who may be struggling to afford their pet’s basic needs right now. 

The Banfield Foundation was created in 2015, as the charitable arm of more than 1,000 Banfield Pet Hospitals. With the support of generous associates, clients and pet owners, together they are making a better world for pets.

Together, our supporters and these foundations are making a difference. Thank you all! 

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Cage Expansion and Community Outreach Project : Matching Donation Challenge Issued

Earlier this week our team went LIVE for a virtual tour around our clinic. We wanted to give you a special opportunity to peek behind the curtain and show you how we put your generous gifts to use each day. We also wanted to share with you how COVID-19 has affected and changed our operations. We hope you will take the time to check out the video. There are a few special and adorable guests throughout the video you won’t want to miss. 

During the video we also made an exciting announcement! A generous donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, has offered to make a $5,000 gift to Planned PEThood of GA if we can raise the matching funds dollar for dollar by midnight on Giving Tuesday (May 5). Challenge accepted! This is a rare opportunity for your donations to be doubled immediatelyPlease consider a gift of at least $15 this evening which will immediately turn into $30. 

Under normal circumstances, our spay/neuter clinic performs 50-75 surgeries on cats and dogs each day, and our kennel and cages are filled with patients awaiting surgery.  Sadly, our clinic and most others in our area have been closed for the past 4-6 weeks, and at the worst possible time – kitten season. We expect to see a HUGE cat population BOOM in the next few months and the need for help will only grow. 

So, as we dip our toes back in the water and begin opening up again for prearranged appointments, we have decided to utilize this special matching gift in two ways with our Clinic Cage Expansion & Community Outreach Project. Once raised, the $10,000 will allow us to purchase additional cage space in our surgery preparation area. This new section of cages will allow our team the ability to safely monitor and perform surgery on additional cats and small dogs each day.  

We also know that as the need for our services will grow, so will the need for financial assistance. That is why $5,000 of the money raised will be put toward community veterinary assistance. Maybe someone rescued a pregnant cat and now is struggling to care for the new family, or maybe a dog needs an urgent spay surgery but the owner is out of work. These funds will allow our staff the ability to say, “Yes, we can help and we can even cover the cost.”  The more we raise, the more we can help. Help us reach our $5,000 goal with a donation of any size right now.  

DOUBLE YOUR GIFT NOW

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An Important Message from Our Executive Director

Last night, as I sat listening to the birds chirping in my backyard, I was struck by how strange the world feels right now. Our daily lives have completely changed. We are in the process of creating new daily rhythms that don’t include offices, schools, restaurants, or any social gatherings. 

At the same time that all of this isolation is occurring, our connections to each other, and to our pets, have never been more palpable. Our pets have become a constant source of love, comfort, and distraction during these challenging times.

When I started the Planned PEThood of Georgia 10 years ago, I was driven by a desire to help pets and the people who love them. It was a simple mission that grew into an organization that currently runs six distinct life-saving programs. We reach communities and animals in ways I had not imagined 10 years ago, and I am wildly proud of how much our staff and volunteers give to the community. 

We feel fortunate to be a recipient of the CARES Act’s Small Business Loan program. With this assistance, our dedicated staff members will continue to receive their paychecks during this time. We continue to navigate this strange new world and how to give back while protecting our volunteers, staff, and patrons. 

While our payroll is secure for now, 60% of our programs are on pause, including the revenue-generating programs that fund our rescue efforts, rent, utilities, insurance, and… well, you get the idea. However, there is good news!

Our rescue program is flourishing with an abundance of foster home and adoption applications flooding our inboxes daily. Animals are being adopted faster than ever before, and we even have a waiting list for kittens.   

At Planned PEThood of Georgia, we are taking the COVID-19 pandemic one day at a time, and we truly appreciate your support during this challenging period. Everyone at Planned PEThood is thankful to have you as a friend. We hope you and your family are healthy and safe. Our receptionists are checking messages daily to keep you informed. Please reach out to us if you need anything. 

Sincerely, 

Elizabeth Burgner

Executive Director 

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