Things to Consider Before Adopting

Making the decision to give an animal a furr-ever home can be one of the most exciting choices in your life. There’s just so much to look forward to with your new companion! From toy shopping and long strolls in the park to simply relaxing at home with some Netflix, there’s no doubt there’ll be endless fun to have with your new BFF! However, in all of the elation that comes with adopting an animal, we can sometimes forget that it’s good to be thoughtful about picking out a pet!

Perhaps one of the most important things to consider when adopting a new member of your family is your lifestyle. Whether you’re an avid runner or more of a lounge-about homebody, there’s a furry friend for you! Just like people, animals have varying personalities and energy levels all of their own. Picking a pet with an activity level similar to your own is a good way to ensure that you and your new friend’s relationship is beneficial and rewarding to you both!

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Another thing to be aware of is the lifespan of your potential pet! Dogs are known to have a life expectancy anywhere from 10-15 years, while cats can live to be 20+years. Dogs and cats can become very attached to their owners, so you should be certain your living situations won’t change unexpectedly or other outside factors won’t cut your time with your pet short.

If you already have an animal at home, it’s important to ensure that both your old buddy and your new buddy get along – preferably before you even bring your new pet home! Most adoption centers will allow you to bring your current pet in for a “meet & greet”  with your potential pet before going through the full adoption process so that you can be sure that there’ll be no complications once they become fully-fledged family members.
Children also are an essential part of the adoption process.. While plenty of animals get along with – or even enjoy being around – children, this is not the case for all of them. Some animals are regular child-rearers, while others are content to be the only babies in your life! “With a dog or a child, you want to bring them to the center for a meet & greet,” HSNEGA Adoption Center Coordinator, Mindy Kanieski told me, “You don’t need to bring cats to centers for meet-n-greets, but always bring in kids. Sometimes kids are scared of pets, even if it’s a puppy.”

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Adoption fees are a natural feature of the adoption process. The fees from adopted animals not only help cover their vetting costs, but also ensure the owner is a committed individual. At the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, we have a special program called “Adoption Angels.” By becoming an  Adoption Angel, HSNEGA supporters can make donations towards a resident animal’s adoption fee. When donating, they can either specify which animal they’d like to donate for, or they can pick to donate to the animal that needs it the most (e.g. the animals whom have been with us the longest). The Adoption Angels program has proven to be a highly successful and has helped many of our friends find their permanent homes; some of their adoption fees have even been fully waived through the generous contributions of our donors.

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Last, but not least, there’s the important task of setting up your house itself for its new inhabitant. Mindy recommends that any potential pet adopter ensure that they’ve scoped the areas inside and outside of their house for poisonous plants or other such health hazards. She also suggested that baby gates are useful investments with puppies or animals yet to be house-trained. Dogs and cats respond differently to new environments. “With cats, I’d suggest starting them out with one room and then gradually opening up the rest of the house to them” Mindy said.

It’s also a good idea to do your research on local veterinarians before bringing your dog or cat home! HSNEGA does provide low-cost vaccinations and spaying/neutering, but we do not offer examinations. Look into nearby veterinarians so that you don’t find yourself scrambling once your animal is already ill.

Do you have all of your bases covered? Think you’re ready for a new and fulfilling relationship with a new friend by your side? Great! The next step would be to check out the list of adoptable animals at the organization you’re interested in. Our page of adoptables can be found at this page. Adoption hours for the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia are Tuesday-Saturday 10 am-5 pm and Sunday 12-5 pm. We hope to see you soon!

Information for this post was compiled from the following site(s):

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals – Adoption Tips

American Association of Poison Control Centers

More information on preparing to adopt an animal can be found on our website.

Learn more about our adoption fees here.

Want to become an Adoption Angel? Follow this link!

Written by Kelly Kucera, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

The Benefits of Teaching Dogs Tricks

Sit, stay, lay down, fetch, shake… What do all of these things have in common? They’re all tricks! If you’re a pet owner chances are that you have taught your furry friend a neat trick or two.
Dogs are often willing students with the right motivation. They enjoy the stimulation of human interaction and most certainly wouldn’t turn down a tasty treat as a reward for a trick well done! While we often teach our dogs to do silly or helpful things for our own amusement, the process of learning tricks actually has proven to provide many health benefits to our pawesome pals as well!

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Tricks offer a variety of positive perks for dogs. By learning tricks, dogs have shown improvements in their daily lives with things such as anxiety reduction and increased confidence, but the bonuses don’t have to stop there! If what you’re trying to teach your dog is active enough, learning tricks can also provide a healthy workout for your pooch. And who doesn’t love a good workout? Both younger dogs and older dogs benefit from exercise, but training a puppy or juvenile dog to learn tricks can improve concentration as well as provide a release for pent-up energy.

Do you have a friend who’s afraid of dogs? Maybe you can even ease their fears by getting your pup to perform a trick or two!

Our volunteers at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia work hard. They take our dogs out for well-deserved play time in our outdoor runs and sacrifice time that they could be spending on themselves to improve an animal’s day. And, you guessed it, some of our dogs even know tricks because of the patience and love of our HSNEGA helpers!

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If you’d like to learn how to become part of our HSNEGA WOOFgang or HSNEGA AdvoCATs, then check out the volunteer page on our Website! Our programs for volunteers include many different categories such as teen volunteering, group volunteering, general volunteering, and even Corporate Companions! We could always use a few more friendly faces in our family of animal lovers, so fill out a volunteer form and stop in!

Information for this post was compiled from the following sites:

Dogster – Dog Trick Training Benefits

Pet First – Five Health Benefits of Teaching Your Dog New Tricks

Written by Kelly Kucera, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

Mew-sic for Cats and Dogs

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Whether it be rock, rap, alternative, country, pop, or something else, we all have our favorite type of music. As humans, we enjoy a wide variety of music genres and different bands. But what about our pets? While we might think that Fido or Fluffy’s reluctance to bolt out of the room once we turn our radio on means that they also share our musical preferences, it’s actually probably just a sign that they’ve developed a tolerance for our weird human screeching.

In fact, studies show that our feline and canine companions do actually have a taste all of their own for auditory stimulation. These studies are the basis for both “Music for Cats” and “Through a Dog’s Ear.”

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Music for Cats, created by David Teie, was born from “efforts to bring real, scientifically credible music to as many members of the animal kingdom as possible.” While humans form an understanding of rhythm from their mother’s pulse while in the womb, cats and dogs develop their own from their surroundings after birth. Their experiences are defined by sounds that they would hear out in nature like birds chirping or their mother’s meows or barks. The arrangements of music that Music for Cats offers caters to those noises. But it’s not just one person that’s nailed the niche on music for our pets.

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Like Music for Cats, many other groups have hopped on the bandwagon to deliver tasteful tunes to all animals alike! Through a Dog’s Ear, and its counterpart Through a Cat’s Ear, are two more examples of the auditory outreach to our furry friends. The music is produced by several composers including concert pianist Lisa Spector, sound researcher Joshua Leeds, and the Apollo Chamber Ensemble. While it might sound like simple classical music to us, the music has proven time and time again to be effective and produces a multitude of health benefits to its animal audience.

But what’s the point? Are the benefits to my pets great enough to sit around playing easy listening all day? In short, the answer is ‘yes’!

According to Through a Dog’s Ear’s Website, the effectiveness of their music stands at a staggering 80% success rate. The usefulness doesn’t stop at just in-home use, either; many vets and trainers also utilize the music of both Through a Dog’s/Cat’s Ear and Music for Cats to reduce the stress of pets that suffer from anxiety, fear, and over-excitement issues.

Both of these wonderful aforementioned organizations also offer their product free of charge to shelters to give the dogs and cats that reside there an enrichment feature that makes their stays before finding their forever homes all the better!

At the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, enrichment is a very important concern of ours. In fact, we have just recently updated our cat room with cat portals to allow our felines to enjoy the comfort of being able to have separate bed and bathroom areas. As most cats don’t like using the bathroom  where they nap.

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So the next time that you turn that dial to your favorite radio station or flip on your iPod, maybe instead consider switching to a song selection that both you and your feline or canine companion can both enjoy!

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Information for this post was compiled from the following sites:

Music for Cats Website

Music for Cats informational video

Through A Dog’s Ear Website

Adoptable animals at HSNEGA

Written by Kelly Kucera, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

Keep Your Paws to Yourself!

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Sugar is sporting her best Yellow Dog bandanna!

We all do it. After all, it’s hard to see a dog being walked down the street and not want to stop for a quick pat or two! Most of us don’t even think twice about petting that cute canine companion; however, there are many things people fail to consider when meeting a pet out in public.

Firstly, it’s important to remember that every dog is different. Just like people have varying personalities, dogs do too! While some pooches might be thrilled to receive an ear scratch or chest rub, others might be skittish and see even the most innocent of actions as a threat or danger.

Secondly, it’s always proper etiquette to ask the owner’s permission to give their pet attention. Just because owner and dog are taking a walk in a public place, it doesn’t mean their walking buddy is public property, as well! The reality is the dog might be a recent rescue, might have just underwent surgery, or they might even be a service dog.

While many people with service dogs choose to fit their pup with a vest, Federal law does not require service animals to wear any indicating gear or require identification to be carried because some disabled individuals don’t want to be seen as “different” or labeled as “disabled.”

Of course, rescue pups aren’t all scared or aggressive either! Rescue dogs can be just as loving and adaptable as any other dog. Still, you never know if the pooch might be recovering from a recent surgery. At the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia, we spay/neuter each pet before sending them off to their forever home. It’s never good to get an animal overly excited right after surgery, nor is it always easy to tell that the pet is still recovering.

So what’s the easiest way to know if a pet is alright to be petted? Ask!

There are even some groups and movements that have devised special ways to let potential petters know if approaching an animal is okay! One such movement is the “Yellow Dog Project.”

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The Yellow Dog Project was founded in September, 2012 and already boasts a proud spread to over 45 countries. The movement was created “to bring awareness to the general public about dogs who need space while training, recovering from surgery, or being rehabilitated.”

How can you recognize a “Yellow Dog?” It’s as simple as taking a quick look! “DINOS” (or, “dogs in need of space”) are easily identifiable by the color of their walking gear! To participate in the Yellow Dog Project, a pooch simply needs to be wearing a bright yellow color somewhere that’s easily visible. A yellow leash, collar, or ribbon are all valid representations of a pup that shouldn’t be played with while out on the town!

Every year, more than 800,000 Americans receive medical attention for dog bites, and at least half of them are children. By observing the rules of the Yellow Dog Project, and educating your children to ask before petting, we can make the sidewalks a safer place for both people and pups at play!

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Information for this post was compiled from the following sites:

The Yellow Dog Project Facebook Page

Anything Pawsable – How can I tell if a Service Dog is legitimate?

AVMA – Dog Bite Prevention

Written by Kelly Kucera, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

“Be an Angel” Day – Help an Animal in Need

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           You’ve had a bad day. Your 9-5 office job was particularly insufferable and you had way too much on your plate to even think about what you’re going to eat for dinner. So, as a last resort, you pull through a fast food restaurant drive-thru. However, as you pull around to the window to pay, the cashier leans out with a bright smile and informs you that your meal has already been paid for in full by the person in front of you.

           You’re so ecstatic that the kind gesture nearly brings you to tears. How could that stranger have known what you really needed was a kind act to turn your terrible day into a good one? Feeling uplifted by your experience, you decide to return the favor by paying for the order of the person behind you. Before long, the drive-thru has become a regular chain of positivity. Sounds like a dream come true, right? Actually, you can just as easily make this dream a reality, but for the homeless animals awaiting their family at the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA)!

          August 22 is “Be an Angel” day, and random acts of kindness are what the uncommonly known holiday is all about. Founded in 1993 by Jayne Howard Feldman, Be an Angel day has always been a day about putting others first and yourself on the back-burner. Even if you’re not familiar with Be an Angel day, you might have heard the phrase ‘“Pay it Forward.” Not only is it a good motto to live by but it’s an adage HSNEGA relies upon. Because HSNEGA is a non-profit organization, the generosity of others in support of our mission brightens our day like nothing else!

         We even have a sponsorship program for the rescued animals in our care called Adoption Angel! By becoming an Adoption Angel, donors can reach out a helping hand to one of our adoptable dogs or cats by paying a portion of their listed adoption fee. Paying to lower adoption fees can prove to be the perfect motivator that someone needs to come and take a furry friend home today!

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         With the Adoption Angel Lock-In closing in upon us on this Friday, August 26, Be An Angel day provides the perfect opportunity for animal-lovers in the community“Pay it Forward” and help out an animal in need. So, if you were looking for a sign from above, then here it is! When you choose to make a contribution to either the Adoption Angel program or Lock-In, you can be assured you just made an animal’s life change for the better. Thank you for being an angel!

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-To donate to our Adoption Angel Lock-In click here.
-For more information about the Adoption Angel Program click here.

Written by Kelly Kucera, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

Importance of Animal Enrichment

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Imagine being locked inside your room 24/7 with only a bed, a bowl of food, and water. That’s right. No electronics, books, magazines or anything else to entertain you.  You would have so much pent up energy you would go crazy jumping and yelling for joy at the first chance you had to get out.

This scenario is what rescued animals in selective admission facilities face every single day. Some live in a kennel for months and months on end.  Thankfully, facilities like the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA) have found a way to help our four-legged friends pass the time with a method called animal enrichment.

Animal enrichment increases the behavioral wellness of animals living in kennels with mental and physical stimulation.  This stimulation comes in many different forms for canines and felines.  For canines, it can mean placing various toys in an animal’s kennel each week, especially toys that make them work for treats or food.  One favorite are peanut butter stuffed Kongs that can be put  in the freezer for a frozen treat that will be a fun source of entertainment.

You may have been to one of our recent events, Yappy Hour, which benefited the rescued animals in our Adoption Center by allowing HSNEGA to purchase new enrichment toys for our animals such as some wonderful toys from Jolly Pets.  Jolly Pets also donated extra toys to HSNEGA for even more fun!  As you can see in the picture above, one of our now HSNEGA alums, Aspen, had a blast playing with all the toys.

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Teaching dogs simple tricks such as “sit” and “stay” is another great way to give dogs mental enrichment while also helping make them more adoptable.  HSNEGA also keeps our canines happy by having volunteers take them every day to exercise in the outdoor runs.  Our volunteers are the best because they spend time socializing the dogs to better prepare them for life with their forever family.

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Animal enrichment for cats is very similar.  At HSNEGA, our cats go into a feline frenzy over any and every toy!  We also know they need their own space to get away from all of the craziness at the shelter which is why some of the proceeds from our Yappy Hour event also went towards the purchase of cat portals.  If you don’t know much about felines, they need separate spaces to go to the bathroom and rest.  The cat portals make it easier for HSNEGA to give our fabulous felines the space they need to thrive.  And just like our dogs they always get socialization time each day with our wonderful volunteers.

Now, go out into the world and give some fun animal enrichment to your own four-legged friend!

Written by Leah Hodges, HSNEGA Marketing Communications Intern

When Trey Met Chancey

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Less than a year ago, Trey Wilson came to the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia (HSNEGA) looking for a life-long companion after the passing of his mother. Growing up, Trey, who uses a wheelchair, had been around dogs, but never really considered having his own pet from fear that the dog might pull him around or cause too much stress.

But last year, Trey’s perspective changed after hanging around his friend’s dog, who was extremely sweet and calm. Trey decided to reconsider, and reached out to Julie Edwards, HSNEGA Executive Director, in hopes to find the paw-fect friend. That’s where the sweetest of friendships started… When Trey met Chancey.

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In September 2015, the lives of two individuals changed forever. Trey gave Chancey a second chance at a happy life while Chancey gave Trey the independence he needed. “I was afraid of leaving my street before I adopted Chancey. Now I am no longer afraid and am able to go more places than ever before,” said Trey when asked the biggest impact Chancey has made in his life. These two were truly destined to be together.

“I always tell people ‘the dog finds you’ and, in Trey’s case, that was so true,” says Julie. “When he visited the Humane Society, Chancey was not on our list of dogs for him to consider. She was very timid and we thought he needed a dog who was less reserved. But as Trey toured the adoption room, Chancey caught his eye and he insisted on meeting her. We were hesitant, but then astounded at how quickly Chancey responded to Trey, as well. They saw something in each other that we could not see. It was truly love at first sight!”

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Fast forward to today and Trey has trained Chancey to be his official service dog. The two take morning walks together around the Gainesville Square, eat together at local restaurants, shop together and do everything that best friends do. Trey has also taught Chancey a myriad of cool tricks to assist him with his day-to-day life including picking up his shoes, putting clothes into the washing machine, and has just started agility training with her.

“Most people would never consider a shelter dog as having the potential to be a trained service dog, but Chancey is a perfect example of how even a ‘mutt’ can possess the smarts and skill to provide assistance,” says Julie.

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This love story is surely a match made in heaven. A man who needed a friend. A little brown dog who needed a home. And a happily ever after ending.

Come stop by our Adoption Center, located at 845 West Ridge Road in Gainesville,  Tue-Sat 10-5 and Sun 12-5 to find your very own Chancey!

Written by Caroline White, Marketing Communications Intern