It’s not spring yet, but the excitement around the Walk for Animals is starting to heat up. Whether you’re a dog person, a cat person or just an all around animal person, you’ll find it all on April 30. There is still a lot of work to be done and that’s why our friends at FOX 9, Cities 97 and Radio Disney are stepping up to partner with us for the Walk for Animals —and, we want you to be a part of the fun too! You can join a team, start fundraising and start training your pet for some exciting new contests at the Walk.
Does your dog have what it takes to enter the FOX 9 Stunt Dog contest? The winning pooch will be featured live on the FOX 9 Morning Show. Or perhaps your pet has a hidden talent such as singing or howling along with you on the harmonica. Enter them in the Cities 97 Talent Show where the best animal performances will be highlighted. To get the party started, the always entertaining Radio Disney Dancers will take the stage.
You’ll be hearing more about the Walk for Animals on FOX 9, Cities 97 and Radio Disney so check them out and get ready for a great event.
Just before the snow fell on Minneapolis-St. Paul, over 500 people and 200 dogs gathered at The Depot in Downtown Minneapolis to come together for a great cause near and dear to all of our hearts — the health and happiness of homeless and neglected animals in our communities. This year’s Whisker Whirl event dazzled hearts and paws alike helping us to raise money for animals in need. Take a look back at the evening and don’t forget to join us next year!
Looking out for Mia
How one man ensured his Siamese would be loved for life
Mia was everything to Norman Williams. He adopted the male Siamese cat shortly after losing both his wife and the cat they owned together (also named Mia). As Norman got older, he worried what would happen to his feline companion if he was no longer able to care for him.
A long time supporter of the Animal Humane Society, Norman included us in his estate plan. Before he passed away in 2005, Norman was reassured by a friend and Animal Humane Society volunteer that Mia was in good hands and would be placed in a new home.
As promised, we found Mia a loving home. He was adopted by volunteer Wendy Strachota who renamed him Norman. Wendy says Norman the cat has adjusted well to his new home and has even found a new best friend in Copper, her golden retriever. “They hit it off right from the start. Norman follows him around everywhere. They are never more than a foot apart.”
Thanks to our program called Loved for Life, people like Norman can have peace of mind that their pets will be placed in loving homes if they pass away or are otherwise unable to care for them. Loved for Life is a benefit offered to our Legacy Circle members — those who have included Animal Humane Society in their estate plans.
“This is a way to thank them for their generosity. They are making a financial commitment that helps us care for thousands of animals each year, and we in turn are making a commitment to provide the best care and a loving home for their pet,” says Animal Humane Society Major and Planned Gift Officer Melissa Peacock.
When enrolling in Loved for Life, members fill out a profile detailing important information about their pet. In the future, if they are unable to care for the pet, we will use that information to screen potential adopters and find the right home. “We know all the right questions to ask to ensure they are placed in the caring homes their owners would want for them,” says Melissa.
Megan Ellingson knew Sweet Pea was special from the moment she first held her while visiting Animal Humane Society. She hadn’t planned on adopting a cat that day, but Sweet Pea was so incredibly affectionate that she decided to bring her home.
Sweet Pea continued to reveal her exceptional personality once at home. She is a playmate for Megan’s young children and never grows tired of their boundless energy. She gets along with the family’s Great Dane and comes running to the door to greet visitors. She even insists on snuggling with everyone she meets!
With all of these characteristics Megan knew Sweet Pea would make a great therapy animal and she signed up for Animal Humane Society’s cat therapy class. “I knew I had an exceptional cat and I wanted to find a way to share her with other people,” said Megan.
The four-week class is designed to help pet owners determine if their cat is a good candidate for therapy work. Patti Anderson teaches the class and says there are certain characteristics a therapy cat needs to have. “They have to love people, be calm around new stimuli, and be comfortable in different environments,” she said.
The class teaches owners and their cats the skills needed to visit safely with people in nursing homes, classrooms, and other facilities. “The classes made me feel more comfortable about how Sweet Pea would act in different situations,” says Megan. “It made me confident that she is going to be a great therapy cat.”
Once owners and their cats complete the class, they must pass an evaluation exam to be registered as a therapy team with the Delta Society, a nationally recognized animal-assisted therapy organization. Megan and Sweet Pea passed the test and are now an official therapy team. They are currently doing additional training with HealthPartners to visit hospice patients, and also plan on getting involved in a program that helps kids learn to read.
If you think you and your cat have what it takes to be a therapy team, consider registering for our upcoming cat therapy class. The four-week class meets Monday nights, March 7, 14, 21, and 28 from 7–8:30pm. The cost is $50 per cat. For more information or to register, call our Training Department at (763) 489-2217.
And don’t forget, we also have rabbit and guinea pig therapy classes. Click here for more information.
Pet Dish Tips with Paula Zukoff
Is climbing mountains of snow not quite what your pet was looking for when you took him out to play? Help your pet stay active indoors with these tips from Animal Humane Society Behavior and Training Manager Paula Zukoff.
Don’t forget to send us your training questions
Let us know your training question by sending us an email, or better yet sending a video showing us the problems you're having with your dog or cat! Send videos and emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.