Help for Pet People
A few tips and useful links for everyday pet issues. Click the link in the purple bar to go directly to the area you want to access.
Adopting a Pet
Virtually all Rescue Groups are independent non-profits. While it is a large network of like-minded people, each group has its own leaders, rules, by-laws and volunteer structure. They foster pets in their homes so are uniquely qualified to match a dog or cat with a new family. They know all of their idiosyncrasies and will have had the pet long enough for it to calm down and behave how it would at home, not in a shelter.
Pets come from many sources but a great many are turned into Animal Services or other shelters. People who turn in or abandon their pets do so for a variety of reasons. There are many people who don't have the financial, friend or family resources to assist with their pets when major life events happen. And then, there are just some irresponsible people, of course. Pets sometimes need medical procedures or other rehabilitation and rescue groups take care of this at their own expense.
When communicating with a rescue group for the first time you may find them to be very stringent with their rules so please remember two things: First, anyone who has volunteered in rescue for any length of time has seen some terrible things and has been lied to any number of times so they tend to be cautious when evaluating an adopter and, second, if a dog or cat doesn't end up being a good match and the rescue has already taken another pet in for adoption, they will take the pet back but don't have any place to put them like a shelter does. They are concerned about not having adequate resources to help that animal so they are very dedicated to making sure to match the right animal with the right person.
For example, young couples are often planning to have children and many times can get rid of their pets when they have a baby. An elderly person may want a very young or active dog but have no one willing to take responsibility for that dog if it turns out to be too much for them. Many dog rescues require a fenced yard, however, if you're active and can show them that you will be out exercising your dog, you don't have to have a fence. Don't think they're being too intrusive. Work with your rescue group to get the best match for your lifestyle.
Adoption fees vary. Your adopted pet will have had a medical exam, been given any appropriate vaccinations, medical treatment, be spayed or neutered and micro-chipped. This typically costs a few hundred dollars at your Veterinarian's office. Add to that that the volunteer has often paid for food, treats and toys out of their own pocket and you can see what a great deal you are getting! In Florida, small dogs are very popular as are puppies and popular breeds so they will have a higher adoption fee. There are also dozens of breed specific groups. Check out the Rescue Group page for resources to find your perfect match.
If you have lost or found a pet, the following resources are locations to check and online resources to search. Many of these sites also provide step by step assistance to canvas the neighborhood.
Hillsborough County Animal Services phone: (813)744-5660
440 N Falkenburg Rd, Tampa, FL 33619
Lost and Found Pets of Hillsborough County on Facebook
Humane Society of Tampa Bay phone: (813) 876-7138
3607 N. Armenia Avenue, Tampa, FL 33607
SPCA Tampa Bay 727-586-3591
9099 130th Ave N, Largo, FL 33773
Pet Pal Animal Shelter 727-328-7738
405 22nd Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33712
Pinellas County Animal Services 727-582-2600
12450 Ulmerton Road, Largo or call
Bishop Animal Shelter - SPCA of Manatee County
Bradenton, FL 941-792-2863
Hernando County Animal Shelter 352-796-5062
19450 Oliver St, Brooksville FL
Humane Society of the Nature Coast 352-796-2711
7224 Mobley Rd, Brooksville FL
SPCA, 9075 Grant St, Brooksville, 352-596-7000 ]Facebook link only]
Pasco County Animal Services 813-929-1212
19640 Dogpatch Ln, Land O Lakes, FL
Citrus County Animal Control 352-746-8400
4030 S Airport Rd, Inverness, FL
City of Tampa Police Department (non-emergency 24-hour dispatch):
Be sure to search for 24-hour Veterinary Emergency Clinics in your area
Newspapers to place free "found" ads:
Tampa Bay Times 1-877-321-7355
The Flyer (813) 626-9430
Lost Dogs of Florida - run by volunteers
Pet FBI -Free National Service - run by volunteers
Lost & Found Pets -Free National Service - run by volunteers
The Center for Lost Pets -Free - Hosted by The Humane Society of the United States
Tabby Tracker -Free Service for Cats
Fido Finder -Free Service for Dogs
Check Petfinders adoption pages in case your dog has been taken in by a rescue that hasn't found you
PawBoost offers a free and paid service
Lost My Doggie offers a free and paid service
Keeping your pets safe: A basic disaster kit includes:
Food and water for at least five days for each pet, bowls and a manual can opener if you are packing canned pet food. People need at least one gallon of water per person per day. While your pet may not need that much, keep an extra gallon on hand to use if your pet has been exposed to chemicals or flood waters and needs to be rinsed.
Medications and medical records stored in a waterproof container and a first-aid kit. A pet first-aid book is also a good idea.
Cat litter box, litter, litter scoop and garbage bags to collect all your pets' waste.
Sturdy leashes, harnesses and carriers to transport pets safely and to ensure that your pets can't escape. Make sure that your cat or dog is wearing a collar and identification that is up to date and visible at all times. Carriers should be large enough to allow your pet to stand comfortably, turn around and lie down. (Your pet may have to stay in the carrier for hours at a time.) Be sure to have a secure cage with no loose objects inside it to accommodate smaller pets—who may also need blankets or towels for bedding and warmth as well as special items, depending on their species.
Current photos of you with your pets and descriptions of your pets to help others identify them in case you and your pets become separated—and to prove that they are yours once you're reunited.
Written information about your pets' feeding schedules, medical conditions and behavior issues along with the name and number of your veterinarian in case you have to board your pets or place them in foster care.
Other useful items include:
Plastic trash bags
Visit DISASTER PREP from The Humane Society of The United States for more resources on staying safe during times of disaster. And remember, if it's not safe for you, it's not safe for your pets.
Dog & Cat Training
One of the sad truths in rescue is the amount of animals that end up in shelters because of behavioral issues. Whether it's because of destructiveness or a new baby, don't give up on your pet. As most trainers are fond of saying, we are really training the people. There are so many resources for resolving issues so we're listing some valuable free links below. If you need to find a trainer for group or in-home services, please contact us and be sure to leave your zip code.
More - your cat and the new baby
The very first thing any Vet's office or shelter will do is check for a microchip when a lost pet is brought in. There are two forms of thought on microchipping, for and against. They are spelled out in the following two links.
There are literally dozens of choices for ID collars, high and low tech so whether you are pro or con, please keep an ID on your dogs and cats.
We've all been there... the heart stopping announcement of what your Vet bill is going to be when a big health event occurs. There are pros and cons to any insurance plan and they never cover everything so do your research. Many Vets are also offering monthly payment plans, particularly for wellness, and either offer payment plans or will work with regular clients, so be sure to ask.
Many Vets accept Care Credit, which provides interest free credit. Care Credit has some competition now but is more widely available than other choices. The length of time you have to repay fluctuates. Similar to other interest free credit options, if it is not paid by the due date the full interest will be charged to the card and continue to be charged thereafter until repaid. The interest rate is very high so there are other credit card options that provide the same interest free period with a lower rate kicking in later if not paid in full. These cards change all the time so be sure to google.
The myth that all pit bulls are dangerous or 'bred to be violent' is simply not true, but myths like these continue to instill fear in the general public and cause devastating misunderstandings.
My Pit Bull Is Family is a great resource if you're looking for pit friendly housing or dealing with breed restricted neighborhoods. You can also Contact Us for more help.
To read the rest of trainer, Victoria Stillwell's, very accurate assessment of this and other breeds considered to be aggressive click here.