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Superhuman Spotlight – Dr. Christina Simpson

Our 2021 campaign encouraged people to become a “Rescue Superhero.” When running our year-end numbers we discovered impressive numbers about our veterinarian, Dr. Christina Simpson, almost superhuman numbers. Here are just SOME of the things she accomplished in 2021:

  • 5,023 spay/neuter surgeries
  • 2,111 exams at vaccine clinics, outreach events, and our new Wellness Clinic
  • 27 special surgeries such as amputations and eye removals
  • Fostered multiple pets and SO much more! 

Dr. Simpson is such a blessing to the animals we serve. Please join us in thanking her for her superhuman efforts to help the animals of Georgia!

If you want to send her a thank you note, please comment below! She would love to hear from you.

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Petco Love Gifts Community with Free Pet Vaccines

As Part of Petco Love’s Initiative to Provide 1 Million Free Pet Vaccines, Planned PEThood of GA Will Distribute Free Pet Vaccines to all patients through the end of February. This includes patients here for surgery, vaccine clinics, or our new Wellness Clinic.

 

1 million free pet vaccinesThe free vaccines are made possible through Petco Love’s new national vaccination initiative, which is providing 1 million free pet vaccines to its existing animal welfare partners, including Planned PEThood of GA for family pets in need.

Parvovirus and distemper in dogs, and panleukopenia in cats, are some of the most prevalent deadly diseases impacting pets that are preventable with a simple vaccine. An estimated 30% of pet parents do not take their pet to a veterinarian annually for preventative care. To address this critical need, we are partnering with Petco Love to make pet vaccines free and accessible in an effort to ensure the health and wellness of our beloved pets.

Planned PEThood of GA aims to vaccinate 3,000 pets through this effort. In addition to offering it for free to animals visiting their Duluth clinic, they are hosting a free community outreach event in Habersham County on February 26th to aid a heavily underserved area.

“Thanks to Petco Love, we can offer these important vaccines at no cost to pet owners,” said Lauren Frost, Development Coordinator. “We urge community members to take advantage of this free resource and ensure the health and wellness of our community’s pets.”

Vaccines distributed through the Petco Love initiative will be the DAPPv Canine and HCP Feline vaccines and do require a veterinarian exam ($15-$25) or surgery at the time of vaccination.

“It is heartbreaking when any pet suffers or dies from a disease that could have been prevented. It is further exacerbated when unvaccinated pets come into busy shelter kennels, where these deadly diseases can spread quickly, resulting in multiple deaths, skyrocketing expenses, and hindering saving pet lives,” said Susanne Kogut, Petco Love President. “By creating greater awareness and making this crucial preventative care more accessible to pets not currently receiving these lifesaving vaccines, we can prevent the dangerous spread of disease.”

To learn more about Petco Love’s lifesaving impact, visit PetcoLove.org.

A little more about Petco Love:

Petco Love is a nonprofit changing lives by making communities and pet families closer, stronger, and healthier. Since our founding in 1999 as the Petco Foundation, we’ve empowered animal welfare organizations by investing $300 million in adoption and other lifesaving efforts. We’ve helped find loving homes for more than 6.5 million pets in partnership with Petco and organizations nationwide. Today, our love for pets drives us to lead with innovation, creating tools animal lovers need to reunite lost pets, and lead with passion, inspiring and mobilizing communities and our more than 4,000 animal welfare partners to drive lifesaving change alongside us. Is love calling you? Visit petcolove.org or follow at Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn to be part of the lifesaving work we’re leading every day.

 

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Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline.

Meet Maybelline and Dior! Their tale from rescue to adoption will warm your heart. While filling in at the Gwinnett County Animal Shelter a few months ago, Dr. Simpson met a tiny pair of kittens. They were only 0.5 lbs!!!

Immediately she developed a special connection to the pair, and felt a strong need to help Maybelline and her kitty sister, Dior. Maybelline was born with Cerebellar Hypoplasia and developed seizures before she was 4 months old. If that wasn’t enough, she was also born with weak eyes and her lens popped out of place after one of her seizure episodes. Without surgery to remove the lens, Maybelline would eventually have painful eyes and go completely blind. While Dior is not a special needs kitten, she has been a seeing eye cat for Maybelline since kittenhood. The two truly complete each other.        

Maybelline (left) and Dior (right)

Dr. Sigmund and Maybelline after surgery

Maybelline was given her fabulous name because the catchy jingle, “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline,”  rang in Dr. Simpson’s head during her examination at the shelter. Maybelline had eye issues that would eventually cause her pain and loss of vision if not corrected. The lens on both eyes needs to be removed by a specialist. Unfortunately, she had a seizure disorder that needed to be managed carefully or she could not only lose her vision. She could lose her life. The Gwinnett County Shelter was not a place for such a fragile and special needs animal, so Dr. Simpson took the pair home as a foster project. 

It took a few months of medication trials, but her seizures are now under control thanks to the medical team at Planned PEThood of GA. In early 2022 Maybelline finally got her eye surgery, and both lens were removed successfully. We want to send a big THANK YOU to Dr. Sigmund, ophthalmologist at Blue Pearl, and to our donors who have made it possible to save Maybelline’s vision. Maybelline and Dior have a bright future ahead of them! 

Today, Maybelline is in her foster home recovering with her sister by her side, and it appears that her outlook is good. You may be wondering how Dr. Simpson will be able to give the pair up after the strong bond they shared… 

Well… she won’t have to find out. The Simpson family decided to add this precious sister pair to their family. She will now be their rescuer, veterinarian, and MOM! Happy life girls. You struck gold!

 

 

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6 Ways to Shop Guilt Free and Save Animals


Get ready to SHOP TILL YOU DROP!

The holidays are approaching and there are sales and gift guides everywhere you turn! Put your dollars to good use and make purchases that benefit cats and dogs throughout Georgia. We have a variety of ways you can shop and benefit animals, check them out!

Lynch Creek Farm

Decorate your home or find unique gifts. Wreaths, centerpieces, garland, décor, and table top trees are all available with free ground shipping. Order through our link and 15% of your sale will be donated. Shop Lynch Creek Farm 

Shop on Amazon

We know you do it already. The boxes are probably at your front door right now, we won’t judge! Just make sure your Amazon Smile is enabled within your app and a portion of your sales will be donated to Planned PEThood of GA.

Easily Link Your Account 

Fun Pasta

Starting at only $8, these themed pasta gifts make a unique gift for friends, family, and co-workers. Show you care by purchasing fun pasta in one of their interests. Pasta options include bicycles, dog lovers, cat lovers, UGA, pirate, princess, macaroni and cheese, soup gift sets, and more!

Shop Fun Pasta

PEThood LIVE on Facebook – Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. 

In early 2020, PEThood Live was started to help bring in needed funds from the safety of your home. This live show featuring brand new items at fantastic prices benefits our life-saving programs. Think of it like a QVC show with your friends to help animals. WIN-WIN! All of the items shown will be available on the show on Thursday, Nov. 18 at 6 p.m. 

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Grocery Shop

You can donate to Planned PEThood every time you buy groceries at Kroger! Just designate Planned PEThood as your Kroger Community Rewards Charity, and each time you swipe your card Planned PEThood will receive a donation.

Link My Card Now

Shop at the PEThood Thrift Store

You would be shocked at the amount of brand new items that are donated to our thrift store. (Probably holiday gifts from last year!) Swing by our store and see what new and unique gems you can find. Our pet section is FILLED with brand new pet items, so check with us before heading to the pet store to stuff fido or fluffy’s stocking. Plus, we have an Ebay page with a few special items you can purchase and have shipped.

Learn More

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Tiny Kitten Rescued from Storm Drain

Become a Superhero to animals like Pika right now. Make a gift to ensure cats and dogs are saved from danger and homelessness in 2022.

Become a Rescue Superhero Today!

 

 

 

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61 Cats Trapped for Feral Cat Day 2021

Today is National Feral Cat Day. In celebration, Planned PEThood of GA held a mega trapping event in Gwinnett County last week. In one morning, 12 volunteers trapped 61 cats and kittens thanks to a grant from Petco Love. These cats were at five locations in Norcross and Lilburn overrun with feral cats, imagine how many more are out there! 

Feral cat day is a day to celebrate cats of all stripes, no matter where they call home. Feral cats have been stigmatized the world over, but thanks to this holiday, we can change how we see these lovable nomads. While these cats may not want to be pets, they still deserve food, shelter, and basic medical care. 

This mega trapping event was able to ensure the 61 cats and kittens were vaccinated for rabies, ensuring the safety of the community, and spayed/neutered, preventing hundreds of births. After recovery from surgery, the cats were returned to their ‘homes’ to live out their lives with caregivers. 

Planned PEThood of GA offers a variety of ways to help community cats such as humane trap loans and low-cost spay/neuter options

We hope you will join us in celebrating community cats in your neighborhood today! 

You can make a difference in the lives of cats like these right now.

Make a gift to help feral cats in your area right now!

$5 = Rabies Shot

$10 – Flea medication

$15 = Pain medication

$50 = covers surgery and care for one feral cat

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Empty the Shelters Event 2021

40 cats and kittens are in their forever homes this week thanks to Cathy Bissell and the Bissell Pet Foundation. Their quarterly “Empty the Shelters” effort helped sponsor reduced adoption fees for $25 or less at 180 shelters and rescues in 35 states, included Planned PEThood of GA. 

The “Empty the Shelters” event began in 2016 as an effort to encourage more families to adopt a pet into their home. Since its inception, BISSELL Pet Foundation has expanded its “Empty the Shelters” reach to organizations in 45 states and Canada, partnering with a total of 414 shelters. The goal for the fall 2021 event for Planned PEthood of GA was to find forever homes for 35 cats/kittens and we surpassed that number with 40 adoptions!  

“Shelters are in dire need of support in the wake of natural disasters and overcrowding due to obstacles such as increased length of stay and slowed adoptions for mid-to-large sized dogs,” said Cathy Bissell, Founder of BISSELL Pet Foundation. “Our fall ‘Empty the Shelters’ will support the adoption of thousands of pets across the country, helping shelters in this time of crisis. Opening your home to a shelter pet will save a life and create space to give another pet a chance.”

Below is a list of the adopted cats/kittens and pictures of many of the adopted animals! We still have dozens of cats and kittens in need of homes. View adoptable cats here. 

Congratulations to Arika, Baby Biscuit, Chris, Dwight, Elliot, Elon, Figit, Galin, Giovani, Grace, Heist, Jackson, Janet, Krishna, Kyle, Larry, Lateef, Laurel, Leia, Lissa, Malin, Miranda, Mr. Gibbs, Niall, Pumpkin, Roger, Salem, Sarah, Sebastian, Snickers, Spot 2, Spenser, Sumire, Tau, Tobi, Troubles, Tsubakli, Ulysess, Velvet, and Winnie
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Surgery in the Dark

 

What would you do if the power was out and 40 animals were relying on your help? Some of the animals need urgent medical care, and they all had traveled from rural county shelters for surgery through our Go Fix Georgia program.   

Earlier this month our team had to answer that question FAST. They arrived to our clinic at 7 a.m. to find no power in our entire building. A utility pole was knocked down by a car accident, and we were told that power to our entire block would likely not be restored before end of day!

First all of all, our perishable vaccinations had to be rushed to a fridge or thousands of dollars in supplies would perish. One of our team members carried them down the bock to her car (the streets were all shut down, so our parking lot was inaccessible) and drove them to her house for storage. CRISIS #1 AVERTED!

Second, the cats we keep at our clinic, including barn cats and house cats, needed attention. They were all in the dark and without air conditioning. Our receptionists helped clean and care for cats by flashlight since the phones and computers were not working. The cooler weather worked in our favor that day, but we had an evacuation plan in place within the hour. CRISIS #2 AVERTED! 

Third, we had to decide what to do about our planned surgeries. 13 cats and dogs had arrived the night before from Newton County Animal Shelter, and there were an additional 27 on board the Habersham County Animal Shelter bus that was waiting in our parking lot! They had arrived before the road was closed.

With 40 animals counting on us, some with medical emergencies, we had to make a choice. Cancel surgeries for the day, or figure out how to do surgery in the dark? It wasn’t a difficult decision to make. We had to figure out a way to help the 40 animals relying on us for the day. 

Our staff rallied! They contacted volunteers who could loan us a generator, battery operated lanterns and fans. It was all hands on deck. Several reliable fosters and volunteers came immediately (by foot), items in hand, and we were able to start surgery only an hour later than expected. Fortunately, our anesthesia and monitoring equipment do not require electricity to operate.

We worked with what we had, and had people standing by ready to help us evacuate if it came to it. A van was kept running in the parking lot to provide a safe and cool holding space for surgery patients and the cooler weather worked in our favor. Even though it was less than ideal, things went smoothly! We were able to do almost all the animals, including two emergency eye removals! CRISIS #3 AVERTED! 

Our team shines the brightest under pressure. We are lucky to have such a wonderful group of volunteers, staff, and supporters standing beside us to light our way. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to help. 

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Featured Volunteers: The Haynes Family

What is better than one volunteer?

The answer is… an entire family of volunteers! 

The Haynes family learned about Planned PEThood of Georgia a few years ago through their daughter’s high school. There was a colony of community cats living on the campus that needed to be trapped, neutered, and returned (TNR). At Planned PEThood of GA we offer humane trap rentals for a refundable deposit, so it was cheap and easy for the PTA to get their cat situation under control. 

Soon after the high school project, Crystal, her husband, and two daughters Alannah, 16, and Aisling , 13, adopted a kitten named Nala at one of our Petsmart adoption centers. Nala is doing great these days and loving life on her cat trees. That could have been the end of the story, but the Haynes decided they wanted to become a foster family for other homeless animals. About six months into the pandemic, they signed up to foster animals. They have become a valued part of our volunteer and foster team.

The pandemic has been difficult for teenagers used to after school activities and outings with friends. Fostering homeless animals has given Alannah and Aisling something fun to do after school work and chores. The animals also provide lots of companionship which has helped tremendously.

Not only have the Haynes assisted other animals find forever homes, they have adopted 3 animals of their own this year including tuxedo siblings and a new puppy, nicknamed Ghost Dog.

We asked Crystal a few questions about her experience fostering with Planned PEThood of GA. Below are her answers:

Why do you continue to foster with Planned PEThood? For that amazing feeling I get when my foster kitties find their purrfect forever home

What do you get out of volunteering with Planned PEThood?  I love that I am helping to save precious lives, but mostly I love all the purrs, snuggles, and playtime.
 
If someone was interested in volunteering or fostering what advice would you give them?  Do not hesitate to contact your foster mentor whenever you have a question. (New foster homes are paired with senior foster home mentors.)  They are an amazing resource, and my mentor, Amy, has been tremendously helpful and reassuring every time I have had a concern about my fosters.

 

Volunteers and foster parents are vital to our success. The animals depend on our efforts to place them on solid ground. If you have even a tiny bit of time to spare, a unique talent or trade to offer, or a spare bathroom/basement to occupy consider contacting Planned PEThood today.

Apply to become a volunteer.

Apply to become a foster home.

E-mail questions. 

Your life will be filled with more hair, but your heart will be happy. 

 

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Training Your Newly Adopted Puppy

New puppies are an exciting addition to families and add an instant spark to homes. Although these outstanding young pups bring cuteness and fun to their owners’ lives, they require special care and attention to feel safe, develop into healthy adults, and create strong bonds with all housemates. Depending on how old your puppy is when you pick them up, owners should be prepared to feed them right away, start potty training, keep them warm, and help them develop social skills. 

What You Should Know Before Bringing Your Puppy Home

Building a relationship with your puppy is the first and most critical step in petcare once your new companion makes it home. Having the time, space, and energy to make a loving home for your pup is vital. Make sure to have an area prepared where they’ll be comfortable, with a floor or floor coverings that are easy to clean. Keep in mind that transporting your puppy home can be extremely stressful for your pooch. Holding visitors at bay for a few days while they acclimate to your home and establish a routine is best for your puppy’s emotional health. 

Even amid the excitement of bringing home a new puppy, it’s important to remember to ask the caretaker about your dog’s health and make sure that you have what you need to feed and care for your puppy as soon as they get home.

Creating a Successful In-Home Puppy Training Academy

Plotting out a training plan for your puppy can begin before they even arrive. Once they’re home, starting a potty training regimen will help them develop a structured routine and get comfortable using the bathroom where they should (either a pad or outside). While your puppy is acclimating to their environment in the first week, be sure to introduce training concepts slowly and focus on feeding, fun, and some potty training. After you’ve established a schedule, tackling manners training should be the very next step. It’s essential to make training time fun and be consistent at the same time. Be patient with your pup and remember that practice, determination, and support will help your puppy progress. Remember to work on one area at a time until your puppy masters it before moving on to another concept. 

Key Training Areas

Housebreaking: Immediately after your puppy arrives at their new home, take them to their designated bathroom area where they should ideally do their business and make this a regular part of their day. Adult dogs have more blatter control than puppies do, and if you’re wondering how many hours your puppy can wait to use the bathroom, add one to their number of months. Example: 1 month + 1 = a maximum 2 hour wait time. Encourage your puppy once you get to their potty area and have them move around. A healthy diet will help to prevent accidents and promote bowel regularity. If your puppy has an accident, be patient with them, and use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior. 

Crate Training: Some people may consider crate training to be harsh or inhumane, but there are times when dogs need to be in crates for their own safety, and making sure that your puppy is calm and prepared for those instances will help prevent anxiety and injury. Crating also helps puppies to exercise blatter control and limits teething to their own toys. Before starting crate training, make sure that your puppy’s crate is the right size. Puppies can sleep in crates for up to six hours overnight and a crate can be used until your puppy grows out of adolescence. 

Socialization: Puppies’ brains develop at a rapid pace from 6 – 16 weeks of age, and introducing your pup to as many sights, sounds, smells, and experiences that you can during this time will help them to become far more adaptable as adults. Diverse environments and introducing them to a variety of different people (including children) and other dogs are a few areas that will help your puppy form a well-rounded perspective of the world. 

Chewing: Puppies that have a chewing issue may need more exercise, supervision, training, or chew toys. Be sure to take your puppy on a walk at least twice a day. Games, tricks, and training will also help them to stay entertained and develop good habits. Puppies do love to chew, and they discover the world around them through their sense of smell and taste. Getting a complete set of chew specific toys will keep their focus on their own items versus yours 

Conclusion: 

Puppies and humans have quite a bit in common, and keeping that in mind as you care for your puppy will help you to meet the needs of your pup fully. Your puppy’s behavior may not always be due to immaturity or age. It’s critical to watch for signs of separation anxiety and help your dog feel safe. Excessive barking, destructive actions, frequent potty accidents, and pacing, whining, or trembling could all potentially be signs of more profound distress. 

Don’t hesitate to give your puppy lots of love but also discourage clingy behavior at the same time. Start by teaching your puppy to entertain themselves on their own in a room in a non-destructive way. Plenty of exercise is always a plus, and using treats to reward your puppy when they act responsibly when alone will help them to look forward to behaving while you’re away. 

— Written by Abigail Baker is a writer for K9 Sport Sack, the top retailer for dog backpack carriers.

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