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!

Dixie’s Group: A support system for pet loss

Dixie’s Group will meet Tuesday, July 15 at 5:30 p.m. at Homewood Library. Please e-mail Mary-Grace to register at mawilson@gbhs.org.*

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If you’ve struggled with losing a pet in the past year, we invite you to join Dixie’s Group. This is a weekly meeting program dedicated to helping people through the process of losing a beloved pet.

The group will be lead by Dr. Larry Michael, an experienced grief coach who understands the impact of loss. He served as a pastor for over thirty years, and more recently served as director of a local grief agency. In addition to helping individuals who have lost loved ones, he is a pet lover and has a desire to help those who are grieving the loss of a pet.

Dixie’s group will be a six-week program that meets on Tuesday nights from 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m., at the Homewood Library. The group is open to those who have lost a pet in the past year. While there is no charge for being a part of Dixie’s Group, donations will be accepted for Dr. Michael’s time and commitment.

To register, e-mail Mary-Grace at mawilson@gbhs.org. In order to properly serve attendees, space is limited to 20 participants at this time.

Why “Dixie’s Group?”

I received a phone call from Randy a few weeks ago. He said his sweet yellow lab, Dixie, had recently passed away. He searched the area for a grief support group, and when he couldn’t find anything in Greater Birmingham, he contacted us and volunteered to help get the ball rolling. In loving memory of the pet who inspired this program, we have named it Dixie’s Group.

Quick Facts

  • What: Dixie’s Group, a pet loss support group
  • When: Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m.-7:00 p.m.
  • Where: Homewood Library
  • Who: Up to 20 participants and Dr. Larry Michael
  • How: E-mail Mary-Grace at mawilson@gbhs.org

Operation Silent Night: Not a creature was stirring

Operation Silent Night aimed to find an adoptive or foster home for every adoptable pet at the GBHS by Christmas Eve.

Operation Silent Night aimed to find an adoptive or foster home for every adoptable pet at the GBHS by Christmas Eve.

By Mary-Grace Wilson, Volunteer Coordinator |

There are lots of sounds around the holidays that warm your heart during these cold months, but at Greater Birmingham Humane Society, the greatest sound of all was, in fact, the lack there of.  An inspired mission that began in November came to a fruition on Christmas Eve, with each and every one of our adoptable pets finding temporary refuge in a loving home for the night – something that many of them hadn’t been able to do for months, if ever.

Potential adopters wait outside for the GBHS to open on Christmas Eve.

Potential adopters wait outside for the GBHS to open on Christmas Eve.

Over 50 volunteer foster families offered to open their hearts and homes to the GBHS cats and dogs and after an incredible day of adoptions that started with a line of families waiting at the door before we opened,  the remaining 21 available dogs and cats who hadn’t found a forever home were picked up from the center and taken home for a mini-vacation.

The stories came pouring in, as these incredible foster parents doted and loved on our sweet dogs and cats – with several ending in very happy adoptions! Our biggest thanks to the families who were willing to drive all the way here from Birmingham and beyond, interrupting their holiday, so that a pet could have some Christmas cheer. Their open hearts and open homes were inspiring — an incredible way to bring in a new year!

If you have a story you’d like to share from Operation Silent Night, please feel free to leave a comment here or on our Facebook Page.

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Rose needs a home where she can blossom

This special cat needs a home for the holidays, and so do her furry friends! Help us reach our Operation Silent Night goal by adopting a pet before Dec. 24.

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Rose03Rose wasn’t a big fan of living the shelter life, so one of our great fosters has given her a temporary home while she waits for a permanent one!

Her fur is very soft and she loves to snuggle and be petted. When it comes to her personality, Rose’s foster mom said, “She often rubs her head against my cheek and will even lay on top of me in that position. From the ground she will reach up and extend her body full length to reach up on my legs for attention.” It sounds like this cat will be your snuggle buddy forever! She also loves her perch by the window where she can look out into the yard. She is curious and likes to explore, too!

Rose02Rose would be probably be best suited in a peaceful home where she can have your lap all to herself, but you can always bring your other pets to meet Rose prior to adoption to get an idea of how they’d get along in your home.

If Rose sounds like the perfect pet for you, please send us an e-mail so we can set up a meet and greet for you and sweet Rose.

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Operation Silent Night kicked off with #GivingTuesday

Just in case you haven’t heard yet, we wanted to give you an in-depth look at Operation Silent Night. This project is very near and dear to our hearts, and we hope it will be to yours, too. It all started Dec. 2, with #GivingTuesday, and lasts through Dec. 25.

Imagine Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the adoption center. Can you hear the barking? Can you envision the cats peeking out from their favorite hiding spots? The cute puppies napping on their brothers and sisters?

Now imagine that the dogs are barking along while you sing Christmas carols. See the cats poking their heads out from around your sofa, then strutting over for you to pet them. Think about that snuggly puppy toddling over to you and falling asleep on your lap.

That is what Operation Silent Night is all about–ensuring that each adoptable pet has a safe, warm home to love them for at least one special night. The goal is have every pet in an adoptive or foster home by Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, making a night of silence at the GBHS.

Please consider adopting a pet this month, one that you will love and cherish for the rest of his or her years.

If you can’t commit to a lifetime of love, we’d love for you to foster a pet on December 24.
Send an e-mail to contactus@gbhs.org and be sure to include your name, address and phone number. We will get into contact with you and arrange your foster experience! Don’t worry, we provide everything you’ll need, including pet food, collars, leashes and more.

Not only will you be giving a pet a wonderful night’s (or life’s) stay, you’ll also be helping our dedicated staff. The pets in our care must be looked after 365 days a year, including holidays. By adopting or fostering during Operation Silent Night, you’ll be giving a little break to our staff who clean the kennels and care for the adoptable pets.

GT Donation Form ArtThe annual GBHS Giving Tree also started Dec. 2! If you can’t help as part of Operation Silent Night, we are always accepting monetary donations to support our other programs. You can give online, at the GBHS, or at one of our Giving Tree locations around town (Brookwood Village, Full Circle Boutique and more).

You can also donate supplies throughout December through YouGiveGoods. Visit our YouGiveGoods.com page, select the items you’d like to donate, pay for them and they’ll ship them straight to us. The best part is, you never even have to leave your couch!

Abbott is all smiles after being adopted

Here’s another great story about a GBHS adoption! Anna and Janette came in over the weekend and adopted Abbott. If you’re thinking about following their example to add a furry family member over the holidays, you know where to find us! We’d love your help with Operation Silent Night, our big holiday project. Read more about it here. You can also tell us how you plan to help further our mission this month for chance to win 2 Jazz Cat Ball tickets, a $150 value! Enter here.

Now, without further adieu, here is Abbott’s story.

Yesterday we came in to view dogs and at the front desk in the seat was the most calm dog sitting well poised and all scruffily looking! It was Abbott!!! We adopted this little fellow, got him groomed and bought him some warm winter clothes and he was so happy on the drive to his new home! He is already so well trained from his previous owner. He is a perfect addition to our little family! Here is his before and after picture! Thank you for taking care of this little guy, the staff was wonderful!!!

Thank you!!
Anna and Janette

Thanks, Anna for sending us your story. Take a look at Abbott’s before and after pictures below!

 

Harper settles in

You can just tell that Harper is happy as a little clam in her new home! The picture of her napping in the yard is especially cute. Thanks to her new mom, Sandy, for sending in her success story!

We are in love with Harper! She is such a loving and sweet girl. It’s only been two days and she only had one pee accident. She goes outside with her Chocolate Lab sister and she’s learning the ropes and lay of the land around here. She wants to jump in the lake with her sister, but of course we need to wait until her incision is completely healed.

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GBHSA presents 2nd Howl’oween Spooktacular

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The GBHS Auxiliary is hosting a 2nd annual Howl’oween Spooktacular at Avondale Brewery on Oct. 29, from 6-10 p.m.

Tickets are $12 in advance and $15 at the door and include one beer. They are available online!

There will be a costume contest for people and pets, so put on your thinking cap and try to beat some of the hilarious costumes from last year.

Todd and Greg will be playing live music, CahaBones will have a “treat bar” for the pooches, Jazzy J Designs is bringing some of the cutest collars for sale and Shindigs food truck will be sure to make your tummy very happy. A portion of beer, Jazzy J and food sales will also benefit the homeless pets at the Greater Birmingham Humane Society.

Don’t forget to RSVP on Facebook. We’ll see you there!

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!