Harvey, Irma bring challenges to SPCA in Vineland

This summer has been an extremely fast-paced season here at the shelter. As it should be, pets have been flying out the door – through adoptions, transfers to our sister shelters, and help from our rescue partners. Sadly, though, animals continue to pour in the door, leaving the staff at the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in a constant whirlwind of trying to address the needs of thousands of cats and dogs.Our cages and kennels have been completely filled all summer long, and now, with the hurricanes in Texas and Florida, our options to move animals out to other organizations have dried up as those shelters and rescues are trying to absorb thousands of displaced animals from those disaster areas. What does this mean for the homeless pet here in our shelter? It means they need you more than ever.

You may have seen some local new stories about other shelters in New Jersey taking in shipments of animals from down South and out West; those shelters are the same shelters that typically take our overflow. This leaves us with no transfer options and completely dependent on adoptions. We normally send an average of 150 cats and dogs out to our partners every month, so you can imagine the pinch we’re in. More importantly, please try to imagine the pinch our homeless pets are in.We get new animals in every single day of the year, but we also have some who have been sitting here, passed over time and again while others are chosen and whisked off to their new lives. The cute ones, the young ones, the ones that come in with a sob story behind them, are always the first to be chosen. It’s hard to watch dogs and cats whom we know to have wonderful personalities be left behind because they are Plain Janes or a little long in the tooth or, heaven forbid, have some pit bull mixed in somewhere.

We have little miss Nessa Rose who has been with us for almost two months now. She’s just a little over a year old and has a fantastic personality. Although she has the slighter build and pushed-in face of a boxer, she also has the misfortune of having some pit in her mix. And she has one of those faces “only a mother could love.” She’s truly one of the nicest dogs you’ll ever meet, but no one even notices her.We have a wonderful classic tabby named Connie, who has been with us since July. Tired of being cooped up in her cage in the adoption room, she wheedled her way into the heart of one of our staff and has now taken up residence in her office. Connie is about 8 years old, so she’s a “mature adult.” Are you familiar with the pop song “All About That Bass”? Well, if she could sing, she’d be all about that song; she’s no “stick figure Barbie doll” and she rather likes to throw her weight around. Her age and her matronly figure have worked against her, making her another great pet who gets overlooked.

We also have kittens of every description, and dogs of every size and age, who need to be adopted. If we can just get through the next month or so, the number of incoming animals will slow down and our partners will be back to accepting our overflow. But for now, please consider making one of our homeless pets a success story by taking one home.

Source: Harvey, Irma bring challenges to SPCA in Vineland

Rescue of a lifetime for Wilbur

Most of us are familiar with the classic novel “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White, in which a young pig named Wilbur, who was destined for slaughter, is befriended by a young girl and a kindly and creative spider. The spider, Charlotte, spun webs with words in them to convince the farmer that Wilbur was an exceptional pig and his life should be spared. Messages like “Some pig” and “Radiant” appeared in her web, and Wilbur’s life was not only celebrated, but spared. The Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals had a Wilbur, with a story that draws several comparisons to the novel. Named Wilbur because of his adorable snout, our Wilbur was a 60-pound, chocolate-colored mix of pit bull and boxer. He arrived at the SPCA shelter on Jan. 23 after being picked up by animal control. Although our goal from the moment he arrived was to find him a great home, he faced many challenges on his long road that threatened his life, but was also given help from special friends.

Wilbur hung out at the shelter pretty uneventfully for his first few months. Although he was a handful, he won everyone over with his affectionate personality. We did grow alarmed as the weeks went by and Wilbur had no interest from adopters or rescues. By the time April arrived, Wilbur’s stress level was extremely high and kennel space became tight; we felt like our desperate pleas for Wilbur were unheard and, unfortunately, there was no word-weaving spider to be found in his kennel to draw attention to him. Wilbur was timestamped, a term that refers to a time limit placed on a dog or cat before they are euthanized.

It’s important to understand that euthanizing an animal the shelter is always a last resort. Every single staff member who works at the shelter is there for love of the animals; euthanasia is something we dread and do everything we can to avoid. But as an open-intake shelter, sometimes it is unavoidable. When space has to be made for incoming animals, there is no good choice. When an animal’s quality of life has declined and no help is to be found, there is no good choice. A timestamp is a final chance to find help that we already had been desperately seeking.Wilbur was lucky and received an adoption application, but only a few short weeks later, Wilbur was returned to the shelter. He was too much for the family, and Wilbur was again in limbo. He was timestamped again – dogs were pouring in and there was no space. At the end of the timestamp, there was no interest in Wilbur, but we had moved over 10 dogs into rescues, so we were able to give him more time. However by the next weekend we had received notice of 20-plus dogs on a property in Bridgeton that we would be taking in, and once again Wilbur found himself with a timestamp. The rollercoaster began again. Hours before his timestamp was up, someone put in an adoption application, but that night they withdrew it – they weren’t as prepared as they promised me they were. I felt despair. Despite all our efforts, I thought for sure Wilbur would be gone in the morning, and it was extremely painful. While he had many online followers who were quite passionate about him, the shelter staff and volunteers were his caregivers. We were hands-on with him, dealing with the bruises his bad manners left yet seeing his potential when he flopped over for belly rubs. No one could feel the high of thinking he was saved or the low of imagining holding his sweet face while he passed like the people who were with him every day.

Wilbur somehow managed to get incredibly lucky again: A local young woman, with the experience he needed, offered to help him and actually showed up prepared to do so. The pieces finally fell into place for Wilbur – a dog meet was successful, TLC Rescue agreed to take him into its care, and his new foster was all set to take him home. Wilbur is alive and thriving in rescue today. He will be ready for an adoptive home once he decompresses and completes his training. We are extremely grateful for Madeline, who took on the task that no one else would: bringing him into her home and taking on his training. Thank you to TLC Rescue in Millville for taking him into its rescue and providing support for his new foster mom. A special thanks to the volunteers and staff members at the shelter who spent months refusing to give up on Wilbur and making sure that he received the exercise and enrichment he needed to make it out.  Although Wilbur has moved on, we will never forget him. That Wilbur, he sure is “Some Dog.”

Source: Rescue of a lifetime for Wilbur

One call from Bridgeton means 25 more dogs

Our Fourth of July weekend started out with a real bang here at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter! I think I must have jinxed myself as I was sitting at my desk last Wednesday, thinking that I might take off on Friday and enjoy an elongated holiday – maybe go to the beach or enjoy the pool while the weather is right for it. No sooner had the thought crossed my mind when the animal control officer from Bridgeton called my cellphone with a frantic “I need help!”Apparently he was standing in the midst of 30 to 40 dogs on two adjacent properties, and the owners wanted to give up the majority of them because they were in violation of city ordinances and were simply overwhelmed in general. Some of the dogs were in kennels, some in crates, some tied up and others in a fenced-in area. It was near the end of the day and our kennels were nearly full to capacity, so my first question for the ACO was whether the dogs needed to be removed immediately. Although there were some violations, he felt as though the dogs were in no immediate danger and

 could wait until we could remove them in an organized manner that would allow us to prepare for the deluge.

Given the fullness of our kennels, I knew that we would need help from one of our shelter partners. Plans were then put into place for St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare

Center to come down and take up to 20 of the dogs back to their shelter up in Morris County. On Friday morning, our shelter staff rolled out with the ACO and removed 25 of the 35 dogs as well as two cats. Each house kept five dogs, which is the legal limit in the city. A date also was set to spay and neuter the dogs remaining on the properties.

As the ACO had described, the dogs were contained in

 various ways, none of which was quite up to standards. They were all of good weight but it was obvious that they were flea-infested and, as we later confirmed, intestinal parasites as well. Some had hair loss from flea allergies, and those that required grooming were seriously in need of a “spa day."

If there is a silver lining to this, it is that all the dogs are young and small. About half of them are Chihuahua or Chihuahua mixes, and the others are mostly Havanese mixes. Staff from St. Hubert’s arrived within minutes of our arrival back at the shelter and took 13 of dogs back to their beautiful shelter in Madison.The poor pups were pretty terrified the day we brought them in, but we were able to handle them on their respective properties so they should settle in just fine once we get them calmed down and feeling safe. They are truly adorable, and we hope to have them available for adoption later this week. You can see video of the rescued pets on our website at southjerseyregionalanimalshelter.org.

 

 

Source: One call from Bridgeton means 25 more dogs

Odds against him, Golden Boy finds best friend

Sometimes we get lucky enough in life to have a “heart dog” enter our lives. Heart dogs are the dogs that fill a place inside you – a hole that you may not have even known needed to be filled. It’s the dog who is your constant through life’s hills and valleys, and the dog who brought something special to life that no other animal, or person, could. This is very difficult to explain, but if you have had a heart dog, you will know exactly what I am attempting to describe. Recently, one of our staff members lost his heart dog, a dog that he rescued in every sense of the word. I have worked in animal shelters for 15 years, and the story of George and Golden Boy is one of the most beautiful, touching partnerships I have encountered. I can only hope that I do justice in telling their story.

Golden Boy, a 9-year-old pit bull, was rescued by Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals cruelty agents from an abusive and terribly neglectful situation. Although he was skeletally thin, he was found secured to by a heavy chain, huddled on the hard dirt ground. When he arrived at the shelter, he was emaciated, weak and sick.One particular staff member, George, felt a strong draw to Golden Boy from the day he arrived. As Golden Boy became stronger, he became reactive to almost everyone and would bark aggressively in his kennel. He was impossible to handle. He had so few good experiences with humans to draw from that he found it too difficult to trust most people. The exception to this mistrust was George.

George continued to spend lots of time with Golden Boy, and their bond grew. Golden Boy, unfortunately, had to stay in the shelter for months while his case progressed through the justice system. When the case concluded successfully, George knew that Golden Boy needed a place to go. His behavior made him unadoptable and he couldn’t stay at the shelter. The bond was already so strong that George committed to doing whatever needed to be done so that he and Golden Boy could stay together. He built a gorgeous, heated and cooled kennel for Golden Boy and took him home. Remarkably, Golden Boy quickly adjusted to his kennel and was doing so well that he was brought into the house and became part of the family. He made a flawless transition to being a beloved house dog, even enjoying his Chihuahua brothers.

About a year ago, Golden Boy was diagnosed with prostate cancer. We utilized funds from a Grey Muzzle Organization grant for senior dogs to extend his time and keep him comfortable. The extra months that Golden Boy and George had together were a blessing. Knowing that Golden Boy’s time on earth was coming to a close, George filled their everyday together with love and fun.In March, Golden Boy passed away, with George at his side. I know how incredibly difficult his loss was and how he has been missed every day since. George is a man of few words, but sometimes a few words are all that’s needed to convey a big message.

I asked him how he and Golden Boy connected.“Why did Golden Boy and I click? We both needed one another at the time we met. He saved my life and I saved his!”

Source: Odds against him, Golden Boy finds best friend

Cumberland County SPCA new arrivals with trouble

A couple of weeks ago, the animal control officer from Salem County brought in two old dogs the likes of which I had never seen. They appear to be some sort of Samoyed/Malamute mixes; they would make good candidates for DNA testing. Both are seniors, probably at least 8 to 10 years – old for the size dog that they are. They were in horrible shape when they arrived: extremely matted, flea-infested, filthy, very skinny and stinking to high heaven. Our staff members were so upset by their condition that they immediately began shaving and bathing them. Clipping their fur was more like sheering a sheep; it came off in dense, heavy sections and the skin beneath it was wet and infected. Inoki, the younger dog, was suffering from a urinary tract infection. Koa, the older of the two, is blind and Inoki may also be a bit vision-impaired.It is obvious from both their physical condition and their level of socialization that they have spent their lives in a disgustingly filthy pen of some sort with little or no protection from the weather or the sun. They were both completely calm and compliant when being groomed; neither however, seeks affection or attention, as I am sure they never received any. They look very different now; their fur is short and pure white. Their skin is pink and healthy-looking. They have both started to pick up a little weight.

Their mandatory stray hold is over now, and we are seeking rescue for both of them. They will most probably not be the kind of dog that is going to adapt to a cozy life spent lounging on the sofa while their new owners pamper them with hugs and cuddles. They will need a long period of adjustment as they learn new social skills and new behavior patterns that they were never exposed to in the past. With his blindness, Koa will need help managing in a new environment, and would probably be best either staying with Inoki or having another dog to serve as his guide.Just as in humans, there are different causes of blindness in dogs. Cataracts in dogs are quite common with aging, especially for dogs that have spent their lives outdoors with constant exposure to the sun.  Retinal disease can affect dogs at any age, causing a progressive loss of vision from the time they reach one year of age. I have had two dogs that have suffered from retinal disease; both were about 9 years old or so before it really became an issue. The first time I experienced it, I literally had no idea that there was anything wrong with my little guy until I took him out of his home environment to go on vacation. He was walking off leash right next to me when we ventured out onto a small dock – which he promptly fell off of and into the water. Within a few days of being away, I knew he had a problem, which was confirmed by a veterinary ophthalmologist when we got home.

Many of you may be dealing with animals who are suffering a loss of vision as well; don’t despair. Get them to the vet for a good diagnosis if you can. In many cases, there are surgical repairs that can be done. Not everyone is in a position to afford such procedures, but again, don’t despair. Animals use their other senses to adapt to their circumstances, and with your help as their “guide human,” they still can live a very normal, fulfilling life.On that note, keep your fingers crossed that Koa and Inoki can “look” forward to a better life.

Source: Cumberland County SPCA new arrivals with trouble

A salute to the SPCA’s foster moms

I hope you had a happy Mother’s Day! The stores were a flurry with families buying cards, flowers, treats – whatever it takes to let Mom know how appreciated she is. I would also like to recognize the many mothers of pets. While they are often overlooked, their love for their pets is a thing to be celebrated. There is a particular type of “pet mom” who deserves recognition, and it is the “foster mom.” The foster mom takes in the neediest of pets – the sick, the broken, the young, the elderly. Typically, she will nurse them to health, love them, teach them, and then let them go to bring joy to another family. Sometimes, when healing is just not possible, she will love them until they pass from this world to the next. Foster moms are responsible for saving hundreds and hundreds of lives in our community alone. 

This poem so accurately describes what goes into foster, so in honor of all foster moms, here it is… 

There I sat, alone and afraid,
You got a call and came right to my aid.
You bundled me up with blankets and love,
And, when I needed it most, you gave me a hug. 

I learned that the world was not all that scary and cold,
That sometimes there is someone to have and to hold.
You taught me what love is, you helped me to mend,
You loved me and healed me and became my first friend.

And just when I thought you'd done all you do,
There came along not one new lesson, but two.
First you said, "Sweetheart, you're ready to go,
I've done all I can, and you've learned all I know." 

Then you bundled me up with a blanket and kiss,
Along came a new family, they even have kids!
They took me to their home, forever to stay,
At first I thought you sent me away. 

Then that second lesson became perfectly clear,
No matter how far, you will always be near.
And so, Foster Mom, you know I've moved on,
I have a new home, with toys and a lawn. 

But I'll never forget what I learned that first day,
You never really give your fosters away.
You gave me these thoughts to remember you by,
We may never meet again, and now I know why.
You'll remember I lived with you for a time,
I may not be yours, but you'll always be mine.

— Author Unknown 

To the Cumberland County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Foster Moms – thank you.  Thank you for all that you do to save our animals. 

Source: A salute to the SPCA’s foster moms

Adopting a dog: What to do first

There is nothing better than the feeling of bringing home your newly adopted dog. It is such an exciting time for both your family and the dog. This time is also a very important transition, and there is a lot that you can do to set up your new family member for success.Our first instinct may be to spoil the pup … after all, he’s been through so much. He’s been in the shelter, and who knows where before that! We often feel that the best way to show how much we love our new pet is to spoil them – let them sleep on the couch, in the bed, give them all the toys, and just make a huge fuss over how wonderful they are. This may go over well in the beginning, but in the long term you are actually setting up your dog for potential failure with this approach.

We strongly recommend introducing your new dog using the “Two-Week Shutdown.” This method has proved successful over and over again. The two-week shutdown gives the dog an opportunity to grow comfortable in his new environment while learning that you are his “safe” person, his leader. Canines seek a leader, and if one is not provided for them, they often will attempt to take on this role on their own (not good!). For the first two weeks, you will limit the new dog’s exposures and mostly keep him in his crate, with limited activity in the yard outside. For these first two weeks, you will want to avoid over-exciting situations, such as dog meets, human visits, long overstimulating walks and intense obedience training. You will put your dog in the crate, take him out for brief play time (in a familiar room or yard), praise him gently when he does well, ignore bad behavior and then return him to his crate. 

And yes, not meeting other dogs includes any other pets in your household. “Impossible!” you say, but nothing is impossible with a good crate. A crate is the best way to keep a new dog safe. We always recommend that adopters and fosters practice crate training. When introduced properly, your dog’s crate is more than a way to keep them out of trouble when you cannot watch them – it’s their den and their comfort zone. And it’s the most foolproof way to keep dogs safe in a multi-dog home. Think about it: Instead of immediately having to figure out how to interact with this new canine companion (What’s their play style? Can we share this? Where do I sleep? …) you have given your new dog a safe place where he can comfortably observe and get a feel for your current dog. And your resident dog doesn’t suddenly have to share everything he previously thought was his with a strange new dog. When you move on to the next step of leash walking the dogs together, they already will be comfortable with each other and the walk will help build their relationship. And it will feel completely natural and safe when you are finally ready to drop the leashes and let interactions occur.

I already can see some people shaking their head and thinking how cruel or overcautious this sounds. I could explain why it works (this is how a mother introduces puppies to the world; you don’t know what type of transition you are asking of the dog; how dogs perceive leaders; etc.) but I will leave that to you to research and simply assure you that it works. Outside of my own experiences (introducing dozens of foster dogs to my small home), I have seen the success of so many of our shelter dogs, many of whom have had challenging behaviors or backgrounds, who have gone to foster or rescue homes that utilize this method.And if you are still skeptical, ask yourself what there is to lose. You may be fine without doing the shutdown (this is more likely to be true of senior dogs or very young puppies), but why risk it? If the dog is the type who does need a shutdown and you don’t provide it, you jeopardize the entire future of your relationship with that dog and you may not even know it until months down the road when problems emerge. These types of problems will now be significantly more difficult to correct.

For a complete read on the Two-Week Shutdown, please visit our rescue partner Bella-Reed Pit Bull Rescue’s website: www.bellareedpbr.com/bringing-dog-home.php

Source: Adopting a dog: What to do first

Dog lovers fill South Jersey park

Several hundred people came out Sunday, April 30, 2017, to Parvin State Park for the CCSPCA’s annual fundraiser. (Photo: Staff photo/Daniel J. Kov)

PITTSGROVE – Dogs and their owners mixed beautifully Sunday afternoon at the Cumberland County SPCA’s annual Step For A Pet fundraiser.Now in its 23rd year, the yearly event at Parvin State Park drew hundreds of local animal lovers with the lure of pet-friendly attractions, food for all creatures and live entertainment.“It’s great; it brings a lot of awareness,” Fairton resident Darlene Morris said. “Everyone here is a dog lover, so they share that love.” Morris attended the event with her friend Dawn Stauffer, who brought along two of her seven dogs, Rumor and Gypsy — both white boxers.

A fellow volunteer at the SPCA and a local dog groomer, Stauffer was glad to see the community come out and show its support.“They’re a great bunch of people; they save a lot of lives,” the Shiloh resident said.

Several hundred people came out Sunday, April 30, 2017, to Parvin State Park for the CCSPCA’s annual fundraiser. (Photo: Staff photo/Daniel J. Kov)

No dogs were discriminated against, with Chihuahuas mixing with Labradors and dachshunds alike.Many of the dogs who attended the walkathon were themselves adopted from the CCSPCA.

“My heart gets overjoyed and touched to see so many people together with their animals,” said Arlene Baruffi, who was the MC of the event.Adoption is the main goal of the animal shelter, which takes in animals and turns them into pets ready for a home.“A lot of the dogs come in in bad shape,” Baruffi said, noting the SPCA takes in about 5,000 animals a year.The bulk of the proceeds collected will go towards covering the healthcare costs of the shelter’s animals, Baruffi said.“We want to make sure they are adoptable for homes — that’s our purpose,” she said.

Also featured at the event was the beloved ‘Dog of the Year’ contest, which features dogs competing for votes and donations.The pooch with the most is crowned ‘Dog of the Year’ in the fall.Baruffi said the competition has brought in more than $130,000 over the eight years it has been established.

For Pierre Langlois, of Millville, the day was a blessing to see such happy, slobbering faces.“All dogs need a place to stay,” Langlois said. “It’s good to get people out and get these dogs adopted.”

Daniel J. Kov; (856) 563-5262; dkov@gannettnj.com

Source: Dog lovers fill South Jersey park

You won’t believe how this dog saved a life

Last week, one of our adopters reached out to us to relay the story of her “little hero,” Mugsy. Those of us who dearly love our animals know that our pets are keenly aware of our habits, our body language and our emotions. Mugsy’s talent, though, transcends the normal acuity of our furry companions and speaks volumes about everything we as humans can never understand about animals.In 2005, Mugsy was found abandoned on a back road with a bag of food sitting next to him. He was only about a year old and was lucky enough to be adopted by a loving family shortly after he was brought into the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter. Back in December 2015, Mugsy, an old man by then, was diagnosed diabetes and had since gone blind. It’s very difficult to watch our pets age and often it seems that as they lose their sight or their hearing, they become a little detached; apparently not so with Mugsy. Mugsy’s story of heroism happened on a recent January night when he woke his owners from their sleep. Around 2:30 in the morning, the old dog that normally slept peacefully through the night began pacing on the bed. He then jumped down off the bed – something he would not normally do without assistance because of his blindness. His pacing continued on the floor once he got down.

If you’re a dog owner, you know that normally means that they have to be let out – not something you want to get out of your warm bed to do on a cold January night! Mugsy’s mom, SueAnn, who had gone to bed feeling lousy with an upper respiratory infection, nudged her husband, Nick, into getting up and taking the dog out. While they were gone, SueAnn realized that the tightness in her chest was much more than just the effects of her illness; she was suffering from severe pain in her chest and her jaws. Nick’s job quickly went from walking the dog to driving his wife to the hospital.Once at the hospital, SueAnn’s chest pain got her an express pass into the emergency room and, sure enough, she had had a heart attack. A catheterization and stent were required due to a 100 percent blockage. Mugsy had become a lifesaver.How on earth did that old dog know that something was desperately wrong with his mom before she was even aware of it? What special sense do some animals possess that would alert them to something like a heart attack happening in a human body? And then, what goes on in their minds that tells them that this is something to be upset about, something to raise the alarm about?It never ceases to amaze me what animals are capable of. I try never to underestimate their ability to think and to feel emotion, but sometimes, they just blow your mind!

Source: You won’t believe how this dog saved a life

Saved by SPCA, Henry the cat now brings ‘miracles’

Saved by SPCA, Henry the cat now brings ‘miracles’

Oh Henry … this poor, sweet, handsome cat. We estimate his age to be about 8 years old, and he’s a gorgeous white cat with gray patches and a tabby tail. Henry seems to have had little comfort in his recent years – his teeth are broken (he only has 1½, 2 incisors and a few molars). He also has a terrible wound or abscess on his cheeks and a crumpled ear. But we are providing him with comfort care and falling in love with him! He has a very tolerant and friendly personality, even if he’s a bit nervous about his new situation. We would love to see Henry have a chance for a comfortable and loved life.

Reading that biography, would you believe that this is a cat that has gone on to change lives? Miracles often happen where we least expect them – and looking at Henry for the first time, the only miracle I was hoping for was that he would make it out of the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter. Senior pets, like Henry, often have a more difficult time finding a home. However, they often are the most in need of a home and a chance to be loved and pampered.

Henry’s story shows that the rewards of adopting a senior pet go far beyond giving an old pet a good home.Our shelter partner the Providence Animal Center saw his pictures, and his potential, and offered to take him in and provide him with the medical care he needs. Henry tested positive for FIV, but we all knew this shouldn’t affect his life once he recovered and was cared for properly. His wounds were tended to and he was given dental treatment. After that, Henry was left with only two teeth! There was nothing that could be done for his crushed ear, but that remains part of what makes him so cute.His shining personality continued to amaze the Providence staff. We have no idea what his previous eight years of life held, but we know that the past few months had been rough and that his condition had deteriorated. Henry certainly didn’t hold a grudge against the world, though; he just carried on reveling in the joys that each new day brought him.

So when Rich, a staff member with Xenia Hospice and Palliative Care in Pennsylvania, reached out to Providence looking for a therapy cat, Henry was a clear choice thanks to his friendly and outgoing personality and tolerant nature. But would his history affect his ability to make a difference as a therapy cat?Henry was evaluated by a veterinarian, a behaviorist, hospice team members, hospice families and their insurance carrier, and ultimately was adopted by Rich. He provided additional medical care at the recommendation of a holistic vet, and Henry became more and more healthy each day. Henry was ready to get to work.

Henry quickly became the most popular member of the hospice team. He did so well that this month he is featured in the Journal of Holistic Nursing Practice, in an article titled “The Miracle of Henry the Hospice Cat” by Richard J. Fache. Fache writes: “Henry was first assigned to a patient with end-stage dementia. Upon release from his pet porter, Henry dazzled all of us! He was friendly, inquisitive, social and vocal. He jumped up and made first contact with the hospice patient in a very affectionate way. He also won the hearts of the family members who were present. Other visits were scheduled and before we knew it, Henry was the most popular member of our hospice team!

Patients and family members reported feeling optimistic, positive and elated after spending quality time with Henry. One family member remarked that Henry provided comfort to his mother and that he actually felt some hope from it. Henry seemed to decrease a lot of their stress and take their mind off of their troubles — a furry, friendly diversion from despair. Henry has been a little miracle to the families that he visits.”

Henry has become quite a celebrity. He’s also Mr. November in Providence Animal Center’s calendar.  It warms my heart to know that the injured, homely old cat who arrived at our shelter now has made a full recovery and not only has a loving home of his own, but pays it forward every day by providing comfort and companionship to senior people and their families.November is National Hospice Month and National Adopt A Senior Pet Month. The timing couldn’t be better to stop in at the South Jersey Regional Animal Shelter in Vineland and visit the many pets available for adoption. Adding a pet, or a senior pet, to your household may hold benefits you never imagined.

Source: Saved by SPCA, Henry the cat now brings ‘miracles’