Pet Pantry helps those in need

By Phil Doster, Cruelty Prevention Specialist |

Created by a group of dedicated volunteers five years ago, the GBHS Pet Pantry is a growing part of our mission to improve the lives of Birmingham area pets, while keeping them in their homes.

The room where Pet Pantry food is stored.

The room where Pet Pantry food is stored.

Surrendering pets is a difficult and traumatic experience for pets and owners alike. So, if providing pet food and spay/neuter assistance can reduce the occurrence of financially related pet surrenders, we are certainly fulfilling the mission our innovative volunteers began.

As the cruelty prevention officer at the GBHS, the Pet Pantry complements my mission as well. I encounter dozens of “underfed” pets each month. Sometimes that is a result of negligent or uneducated pet owners, but many times families just can’t afford to properly feed their pets.

Through the Pet Pantry, those families can receive temporary help to feed their pets. It also gives me an opportunity to build a rapport while educating them on some of the finer points of pet ownership (like lounging on couches, playing in the grass and proper head scratches).

If you have a passion for improving the lives of these pets through food, education and support, please consider donating financially or with unopened bags of dog and cat food.

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To contact Phil about possible cruelty or neglect, e-mail pdoster@gbhs.org, or call (205) 369-0392.

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Jan. 27-Feb. 10, you can easily donate to the Pet Pantry with a few simple clicks. Visit our YouGiveGoods drive, select the items you’d like to donate and check out. YouGiveGoods will then deliver the bags of food right to our door, and you never even have to leave your couch!

A day in the life of a shelter pig

Chances are, if you’ve visited the GBHS lately, you’ve met Sunny. Sunny is a 1 year-old potbelly pig who is available for adoption- and she has definitely stolen our hearts and the hearts of our shelter visitors!

Ever wondered what a day in the life of a potbelly pig is like? Well, you’re about to find out…

8:00 a.m. – The GBHS staff and volunteers arrive, and I get taken for my first walk of the day. HOORAY! I am completely house-trained, so regular walks are a MUST to keep me on schedule. I wear a pretty pink harness and walk just like a dog, or so I’m told.

8:30 a.m. – My walk is over, and now it’s time to EAT. It’s my favorite thing. Duh, I’m a pig. Get it?

9:00 a.m. – I’m stuffed, so a nap is in order. A girl’s gotta get her beauty rest, right?

10:15 a.m. – I wake up and decide it’s time for another walk. I’ve got everybody here wrapped around my little hoof, so they love to take me!

11:30 a.m. – Snack time! I’m allowed 2 snacks per day, in addition to my daily meals. Here I am eating one of my favorite snacks, POPCORN! I keep asking for more, but it’s not working so far. Note to self: must get dogs to teach me how to beg.

12:30 p.m. – Play time on the yard! I will run around the yard off my leash for a few seconds at turbo speed- but then I like to slow down and root around with my snout. On those extra hot days, I love to get in the baby pool! That cold water feels SO good.

1:30 p.m. – Visiting with my faithful fans. It’s hard being this cute sometimes. Even though I’m a staff, volunteer, and visitor favorite, I would LOVE to find my forever home soon!

3:30 p.m. – Rooting in one of my many blankets. It’s what we pigs do best.

4:00 p.m. – CHOW TIME! Dinner is served.

4:30 p.m. – My final walk of the day- I’ll take my time on this one. Gotta stop and smell… uh… eat… the clover!

Do you like what you see? I am a loving girl with lots of personality who would love to find a home just as wonderful as I am! Please call 205-942-1211 ext. 200 if you are interested in adopting me!

Do Dah Day Dos and Don’ts

It’s that time again: Do Dah Day, one of our favorite Birmingham events, is back in its 33rd year this Saturday! The GBHS is lucky to have been named one of the beneficiaries of Do Dah Day once again in 2012. Do Dah Day is a FREE, pet-friendly music festival that takes place in Caldwell and Rhodes parks along Highland Avenue in Birmingham’s Southside area. For complete event information, band schedules, and more, please visit the Do Dah Day website.

We hope to see you out in the parks with your pet(s) this Saturday! Here are a few tips on how to have the best Do Dah Day experience possible:

-Friendly, leashed animals are welcome at Do Dah Day, but aggressive or uncontrollable animals are not. If you have any reason to believe that your pet may be aggressive or difficult to control, please do not bring them to Do Dah Day. If your animal shows any potential for hostility toward people or other animals, you will be asked to remove the animal from the park.

-Please be responsible: clean up pet waste! It’s always a good idea to have poo bags on hand 🙂

-VERY IMPORTANT: Monitor your pet for signs of overheating! It is typically HOT on Do Dah weekend each year. Pets can overheat quickly, and in extreme situations, can die from heat stroke. Watch out for the following symptoms of overheating in pets:

  • excessive panting or difficulty breathing
  • drooling
  • mild weakness
  • stupor and even collapse

Simple precautions can help prevent your pet from overheating. If you suspect your pet is suffering from heat stroke, seek out the veterinary tent at Do Dah Day immediately. Make sure that your pet has a constant supply of cool water to drink. If you start to notice any of the symptoms above, find one of the baby pool stations in either Caldwell or Rhodes park, put your pet in a baby pool, and cover the pet’s body with cool, fresh water to slow down the overheating process.

Hope to see you out in the parks on Saturday and let’s have a fun, safe year of Do Dah Day with our pets!