The Pet360 Team Gives Back at the PSPCA

October 30, 2013 | By Mellie Test

[caption id="attachment_700" align="alignright" width="150"] The PSPCA seal[/caption]

On Friday, May 26, a large group of volunteers converged on the Pennsylvania PSPCA. This unique group works with pet news, pet communities, and pet products on a daily basis; most of the team members also parent pets, themselves.

Team members from Pet360 arrived in the bright, natural lighting of the PSPCA at 9am for an introduction to the shelter by Lara Estomin. After setting expectations (such as requesting no photos be taken of the pets awaiting court dates, who are technically someone else's "property"), she led the team through the facility, explaining the use and benefits of each area in the shelter.

The team met the resident cats, ferrets, and dogs of the clean and cheerful facility. Lara walked them through the medical areas and various buildings where animals awaited an owner's cruelty/neglect trial (for years, in cases). The PSPCA mobile units parked outside the building awaited their next mobile adoption assignments: the PSPCA sends the RVs to adoption events , knowing that Northwest Philadelphia may be an intimidating location for some potential adopters.

[caption id="attachment_703" align="alignleft" width="150"] The mobile PSPCA[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_707" align="alignleft" width="150"] Making dog treats[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_706" align="alignleft" width="150"] Giving the dogs attention[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_709" align="alignleft" width="150"] The team listens[/caption]

Pet360 team members split into groups, rotating through an entire sequence of activities. Station one stuffed toilet paper rolls with catnip and treats to make cat toys. Station two formed an assembly line, stuffing large Kongs with a mixture of wet and dry dog food, treats and peanut butter. Station three braided and knotted strips of old pillowcases, threading them through tennis balls to make dog toys. The most difficult station involved disassembling and reassembling dog beds; the tightly secured bolts and screws required persistence!

[caption id="attachment_699" align="alignright" width="150"] Dog walking by Pet360[/caption]

Team members paired up to choose dogs who needed exercise. The dogs either walked around the wide yard or played in one of various fenced runs. After play, the dogs were taken to bathe. Later in the afternoon, each team member passed a handmade peanut butter treat to each resident dog.

Immediately after lunch, the PSPCA staff talked Pet360 team members through a PowerPoint presentation which explained the history, mission and inner workings of the shelter.

Are you curious?

The PSPCA works to keep its doors open 365 days a year. They follow what they call a "no kill philosophy," meaning they only euthanize if there are severe behavioral or medical issues. Their live exit rate of 90% means that 90% of the animals coming through intake are able to be placed.

[caption id="attachment_701" align="alignright" width="150"] PSPCA washes the pups[/caption]

When empty cages are available, the PSPCA also pulls animals from ACCT Philly, a shelter in the same neighborhood which euthanizes animals at a certain point due to a lack of space. To comprehend the space issue, realize that NYC's five city shelters take in a total of 50,000 animals per year. ACCT on the other hand, just one of the Philly shelters, takes in 30,000-40,000 animals every year, with fewer resources and a smaller facility than the PSPCA. The HSUS reports that 10,000 animals a year are euthanized in Philly due to lack of space, so when the PSPCA is able to help out by giving dogs more time, they do.

The PSPCA team also elaborated on the large number of cruelty and neglect cases, reminding the Pet360 team that many such cases exist because people honestly don't know how care for their animals. Cruelty/neglect and intention to cause harm aren't always linked.

For example, the PSPCA told the story of an older gentleman whose relationship with his dog was the deepest connection he had. When he broke his leg, he was unable to care for the dog, so the dog remained outside until someone finally reported the dog, citing cruelty/neglect. At a later date, neighbors noticed a horrible odor coming from the man's dwelling and upon investigation, the dog's corpse was found. The animal had been dead in the bedroom for two weeks, but the man loved his dog so much he couldn't bear to part with it. He even over-loved the dog into unintentional mistreatment. For that reason, the PSPCA strongly emphasizes education.

[caption id="attachment_702" align="alignright" width="150"] Making cat toys![/caption]

When the scheduled volunteer activities ended around 3pm, most of the Pet360 team members drove away; however, two team members remained, walking dogs to whom they had bonded. Nick, Pet360's Senior Manager of Display Media, tried to adopt the dog he'd chosen, but another family had just placed their application for the same dog. Kelli, Pet360's Director of Customer Acquisition, also nearly adopted a small dog she pegged as a sweet companion for her current pup, Roo.

Mellie, another team member, decided to return to the PSPCA on Saturday to introduce her son and two dogs to some potential adoptees; however, a text message that morning spurred her to make a detour. She stopped by ACCT on her way to the PSPCA and ended up adopting the longest term resident dog from the Pen Pals program!

The Pet360 team's feedback on the Corporate Volunteer day was wildly positive, and Pet360 will once again lend its team to the PSPCA for a volunteer day in June.

For photos from Pet360's "Pet360 Gives Back" day, visit the Pet360 Instagram feed.

Pet360 gives back!

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