American Humane Society Guidelines for Animal Adoption

The American Humane Society (AHS) estimates that approximately three to four million cats and dogs are adopted from shelters annually. To ensure that these pets get the best homes possible, the AHS has established adoption guidelines for animal shelters. These recommendations provide guidance on making the pet adoption process attractive for individuals and families and on establishing a positive relationship with the local community.

During the Intake Process

The AHS recommends obtaining as much information as possible on any pets surrendered to the animal shelter. Age, breed, veterinary history, behavioral issues and exposure to children and other animals can all be helpful in finding a new home for the dog or cat. The history and background of stray animals may not be available; in these cases, shelter personnel should make their best educated guess regarding the age, breed and medical condition of the pet during the intake process.

Veterinary Care

After the initial intake process has been completed, dogs and cats should be given a thorough physical examination to determine their state of health. If the dog or cat has not been spayed or neutered, that procedure may be performed at this time or at a later point during the pet’s stay at the shelter. Weight, temperature and general physical appearance should be noted. Tests for feline leukemia, heartworms, tapeworms and other common illnesses should also be performed before introducing the pet into the larger animal shelter environment.

Determining Adoptability

While many animals have a good chance of finding a home with a loving family, some dogs and cats are unlikely to be attractive candidates for adoption:

  • Older animals are notoriously hard to place and may be traumatized by the stress and noise of the shelter.
  • Aggressive or biting dogs and cats are not considered suitable candidates for adoption.
  • Pets that are overly shy may reduce their chances of appealing to an adoptive family.
  • Behavioral issues can significantly reduce the chance of adoption for dogs and cats.
  • Bully breeds are banned in many municipal areas and are often targeted for euthanasia due to the lack of homes available for these large and powerful dogs.

Depending on the shelter, animals that cannot be placed in a home may be euthanized or passed on to local groups who specialize in foster care and rehabilitation for these animals.

Increasing the Appeal of Adoption

The AHS suggests enhancing shelter décor with individual pet beds and toys to increase the comfort level of dogs and cats and to boost their chances of being selected for adoption. Assigning names to each of the adoptable pets can also improve their chances of finding an adoptive home. Ensuring that pet areas are clean, odor-free and inviting is one of the most effective ways to attract potential adoptive families and boost the reputation of the shelter in the local community.

Increasing the number of pets adopted by loving families can potentially reduce the number of euthanizations that occur each year. Encouraging responsible pet ownership and promoting spaying and neutering programs can help to reduce the overpopulation problem and can help shelters work more effectively on behalf of the animals in their care.

Seven Tips for Adoptive Pet Parents

Choosing to adopt a pet from a shelter is a solid investment in future love and happiness. A few simple techniques can help you to ensure the right start on the path to successful pet ownership and can help your new companion feel more at home during the first weeks after adoption.

Take It Easy

Your new pet will need a few weeks of peace and quiet to adjust to the new surroundings. Keep in mind that most shelters are loud and uncomfortable places, especially for shy or less confident animals. Providing your pet with a calm and stress-free environment can help set the stage for a lifetime of happiness.

Make Allowances

Even the best-behaved pets can have accidents, act out or generally exhibit behavioral problems when introduced to a new environment. Making some allowances for these behaviors can help your pet to feel more secure and less likely to behave badly in the future.

Set Some Ground Rules

Pets are more likely to adjust to their new homes if clear rules are established soon after their arrival. Letting dogs and cats know what is expected of them can enhance their sense of confidence and can ensure a smoother transition from the shelter to the home environment.

Be the Leader of the Pack

Dogs require strong leadership from their owners to ensure positive behaviors. Establishing a position as the leader of the pack can ensure that owners can maintain control over their dogs even in stressful situations or in public arenas. By remaining calm and providing steady, assertive energy when dealing with your pets, you can ensure a less stressful environment for your entire family.

Walk It Off

One of the best ways to assert pack leadership and to build a solid rapport with canine companions is through the daily walk. You should take the lead on these walks to establish your alpha position within the pack. The alpha member leads the pack in the dog’s natural order, and owners should do the same to ensure the respect and attention of their new animal companion.

Set Your Pet Up for Success

When bringing a pet home from the shelter, it’s usually best to avoid making any assumptions. Even if the shelter personnel indicated that the pet was housebroken, taking the dog outside at regular intervals or showing the cat the litter box can provide added support for the desired behaviors. Providing chew toys for dogs and interactive toys for cats can help them express their instinctual needs without creating wear and tear on your furniture or your nerves.

Trust, But Supervise

Developing trust can be a lengthy process. Monitoring your pet in new situations and around new people and animals can help you to avoid accidents and altercations during the first few weeks after the adoption. Keeping your dog on a leash can also prevent problems at the dog park or on your daily walk.

By keeping these seven tips in mind during the period following the adoption process, you can successfully integrate your new dog or cat into your family and your life.

Introducing the Second Dog

Adopting a second dog can provide added companionship for your current canine and can provide you with another family member to love. Making the right introductions can reduce friction and conflict when adding an additional pet and can ensure a greater degree of peace and harmony within your home. Here are some tips for integrating a new dog into your family successfully.

Do a Little Matchmaking

Before adopting a new dog, consider the habits, age and behavior of your current pet. If your dog is a couch potato and enjoys long, lazy naps on the sofa, a high-energy puppy may be a source of stress for your current pet. Confident and dominant pets usually do better with less dominant additions to the family; two dominant dogs can quickly become embroiled in a power struggle with your home as the battlefield. Shy, less confident dogs typically do better with pets only slightly more dominant than themselves. By choosing a pet with complementary traits to your current dog, you can increase your chances of success in making a winning match.

Make Sure Your Dog Is Ready

Most pet behaviorists recommend that you wait at least one full year after adopting your first dog before looking for a playmate. Dogs require an extended period of adjustment to new surroundings and need time to bond with their owners before bringing in an added pet to compete for time and affection. Additionally, if your pet has significant behavioral issues, you will want to get these resolved before adding another dog into the mix.

Ease Into Things

If possible, introduce your dog to the prospective addition in a neutral setting. A local dog park can allow you to let the two animals meet and get to know each other without creating territorial issues. It is usually best to assign one handler for each dog; this ensures that both animals are under control during their first and subsequent meetings. If all goes well at these initial introductions, you can bring your new family member home to continue the process there.

Separate Areas

During the first week or two, most trainers recommend separating the two dogs with baby gates or see-through barricades and feeding them twice a day within sight of each other. This will help them become accustomed to each other and will provide them with positive reinforcement during their brief interactions. By linking the presence of the other dog with food, you can reduce the potential for food aggression and can help the two dogs become friendly more gradually. Over time, you can remove the baby gates and monitor the interactions between your two dogs. In most cases, dogs introduced gradually and thoughtfully can become the best of friends.

Once your two pets have adjusted to each other, allowing them to share the daily walk can provide them with added bonding time and can allow you to participate in their continued socialization. Walks are a critical part of the training process and can bring you and your pets closer together as an integrated family unit.

Choosing the Perfect Pet

If you are considering adopting an animal companion, you may already have definite ideas about what type of pet you and your family want. Assessing your current living situation and the amount of time and effort you can afford to spend on your new pet, however, can help you to avoid making an impractical choice for your family and your lifestyle. Here are some points to consider before making that trip to the pet store or animal shelter.

Dogs

Depending on your preferences, you may be thinking of adopting a puppy or an adult dog from a local shelter or buying one from a responsible breeder. Dogs at any age require a great deal of attention, training and exercise to stay healthy and happy. However, certain advantages and drawbacks may make an older dog or a puppy more attractive and appropriate for your particular situation:

  • Puppies require constant attention and training to ensure proper socialization. They also must be housebroken to reduce the chance of accidents inside the home. Consistent and repeated effort is required to ensure the success of the house-training process.
  • Some older dogs may have been in an abusive environment in the past. Because aggressive and unfriendly dogs are usually weeded out of the shelter system, however, most pets in these facilities are well suited to family life. In most cases, older dogs are house trained and many co-exist well with cats and other animals, making them a safer and more compassionate choice for many families.

Before adopting a dog, take a hard look at your current schedule. If you cannot fit regular walks and training sessions into your daily routine, you are probably not ready for the long-term commitment of dog ownership.

Cats

Cats are an ideal pet for apartment dwellers and others who may not have a great deal of time to spend with a pet during the day. Cats still require a good deal of love and exercise, however. A vigorous play session each morning and evening can usually help even the most active cats expend their energy in a healthy way. Most cats learn to use the litter box and to socialize appropriately from their mothers and siblings. It is important not to remove kittens from their mothers until after eight weeks of age. Kittens that are rehomed at too young an age may exhibit inappropriate behavior and may require added training and socialization throughout their lives.

Fish

Fish can provide hours of enjoyment for their owners with a minimal but correct amount of care for their environments. Salt-water tanks may require added attention on the part of owners to ensure the proper pH levels and temperature for tropical fish.
Considering your current lifestyle and your available free time can help you select a suitable pet for yourself and your family. A little due diligence before you adopt can ensure the right fit for a lifetime of happy pet ownership.

Giving Back to Better the Lives of People and Animals

Before becoming a successful entrepreneur, Mark Pieloch knew that whatever he did had to make the world a better place. He loved animals and decided to tackle the problem of giving dogs, cats and horses medicine. Forcing medications down a pet’s throat was not a positive way to reinforce the strength of the human-animal bond. Now, Pieloch is the head of a firm that develops and manufactures appealing flavors that are added to animal medications. Companion animals readily take the medications without force, making it easier on both pets and their humans. He doesn’t stop there, however. He also supports several nonprofit organizations that help animals and build strong communities.

The Capital Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska, has been serving the community since 1902. Director Robert Downey faced a challenge as more animals came to the shelter but few found forever homes. The facility was too small to accommodate the numbers of animals coming in and it was too far away from high-traffic areas where people congregated. Building a modern facility in a high-traffic area seemed like the answer, but funding such a project didn’t seem possible. That is, until Pieloch heard of the project. In 2011, Mark donated $1.5 million to the Capital Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska. As Robert Downey exclaimed, “This means everything.” On July 2, 2013, the Pieloch Pet Adoption Center opened its doors. Located in an area that has high-volume traffic, Downey anticipates an increase of adoptions of 10 percent. Because of Pieloch’s generous donation, more animals have a chance at finding loving homes.

Pieloch continued helping animals after moving his business to Florida. In the spring of 2013, destructive winds hit the Central Florida Animal Reserve (CFAR). At this big cat sanctuary, the refrigeration system and other necessary units used to care for and house the animals were badly damaged. With repair projections far exceeding their budget, CFAR President Thomas Blue and the staff of volunteers were at a loss. As soon as Pieloch heard about the damage, he contacted Blue. Pieloch was impressed with Blue and the importance of the work he and the volunteers were doing. He gave the CFAR a $12,000 check. The CFAR repaired the damage and is now in the process of moving to a larger facility where the animals will have more room.

People are important to him as well. In 2009, he gave $25,000 to the Syracuse Foundation toward the construction of the Syracuse Sports Complex in Nebraska. Pieloch sponsors the Western and Hunt Seat Horsemanship Equitation Team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with financial support and his company’s supplement products. He also actively donates to local and national organizations such as Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, Girl Scouts, American Diabetes Association and Community Safety Net.

The generous donations from Mark Pieloch have made life better for countless animals and humans. Both the CFAR and Capital Humane Society have survived and thrived because he exhibited a willingness to help when they most needed it. Giving back to the community and making life better for animals has always been his passion. Because of Pieloch, vital animal welfare work goes on.

Giving Homeless Pets a Fighting Chance

The Capital Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska, desperately needed a new and larger adoption center in a high-traffic area to give Lincoln’s homeless and abandoned pets the best chance of finding their forever homes. Donations came in, but it wasn’t until Mark Pieloch gave a $1.5 million donation that the new adoption center became a reality.

The Capital Humane Society first opened its doors in 1902 as the Lancaster County Humane Society. Located in a shed, its initial mission was to prevent cruelty against children and horses. In 1907, services expanded to serve a variety of other animals.

In 1924, the Sawyer-Snell Estate gave the humane society a three-acre tract of land. The shelter is still located at Park Boulevard and Hatch Street. The latest incarnation was built in 1966 and renovated in 1997. In 2004, the Spay/Neuter Vet clinic was renovated, which ensured that all animals in the adoption program were spayed or neutered on site.

Because of the generous donation of Mark Pieloch, the Pieloch Pet Adoption Center opened its doors on July 2, 2013. Located in a highly traveled area at 6500 S. 70th Street, shelter director Robert Downey hopes more visitors will stop in and projects a 10 percent increase in the adoption rate.

The homeless pet population in the United States is a staggering problem. Anywhere from 3 to 4 million dogs and cats are euthanized each year because shelters are overrun, have limited funds and are too small to house and care for large numbers of companion animals they receive. The numbers of stray dogs in the United States is impossible to determine, but estimates for cats are as high as 70 million. Many pet owners do not spay or neuter their pets. Indiscriminate breeding brings even more unwanted cats and dogs into the world. The goal of the Capital Humane Society is to educate people about proper care for their animals, encourage spaying and neutering, ensure pets are provided with identification and find loving forever homes for the animals in its care.

A great way to help the Capital Humane Society is by volunteering. The Foster Care program is one volunteer option. Some animals that come in need a little extra attention before they are ready for adoption. Some may require socialization; others may need a quiet place to nurse young or recover. A dog or cat may require medication for a time before its ready to go to a new home. The Capital Humane Society’s volunteer Foster Program was designed to meet the needs of pets that need a little more help. Volunteering at the shelter is another option. Walking the dogs and helping in the office are just two of the ways volunteers can help the shelter run more effectively.

Monetary donations help to pay for programs that give more animals a chance to find homes. Donations don’t have to be money, however. Donated supplies from the Capital Humane Society wish list are always welcome. Needed items include non-clumping cat litter, exam gloves, Purina dog and cat food and bleach.

When Mark Pieloch donated money so that the Capital Humane Society could build the Pieloch Pet Adoption Center, he helped give Lincoln’s homeless pets a fighting chance to find a forever home.

Helping Big Cats at the Central Florida Animal Reserve

When devastating winds badly damaged facilities at the Central Florida Animal Reserve (CFAR) in the spring of 2013, President Thomas Blue and the volunteer staff at the big cat sanctuary found themselves dealing with a financial crisis. Home to over 40 big cats and several smaller wild animals, the sanctuary suffered extensive damage to the refrigeration system as well as to buildings and other essential framework facilities. Repair costs far exceeded their budget. That’s when Mark Pieloch stepped in.

Pieloch had recently moved his business, PSPC Inc., to Florida from Nebraska. His love of animals is reflected in his business, which makes palatable medications and supplements for companion animals. When Pieloch heard of the devastation at the Central Florida Animal Reserve and the critical needs of the sanctuary, he met with Blue and presented him with a $12,000 check to cover their immediate needs.

The Central Florida Animal Reserve is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that began operations in 2007. Many of the sanctuary residents were once kept as pets. Some were rescued from a variety of unhealthy situations and still others came from government agencies. None of the cats was born in the wild. It is estimated that the large cat population, animals kept as pets or in other situations, rivals that of big cats in the wild. Cute tiger cubs grow into unmanageable carnivores and even exotic-pet owners with the best intentions are unable to handle them. Without the option of a sanctuary life, many are euthanized. CFAR provides these unfortunate animals a place to live their lives in a healthy environment. The sanctuary also provides quality food, water and enrichment activities to keep the animals engaged and happy.

CFAR is currently moving from Brevard to Osceola. The move will expand the facilities to better meet the needs of the animals. Larger facilities will give Blue and the volunteer staff improved resources to develop educational programs and increase public awareness about the needs of these great cats. The eventual plan is to build a $1 million dollar compound for the tigers, lions, cougars and leopards, offer guided tours and add an educational visitor center.

Educating the public is a huge part of CFAR’s mission. One of the resident cats at CFAR is Kukla. A female Western cougar, Kukla brings attention to one of Florida’s own endangered species, the Florida panther. According to biologists at the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, only 100 to 160 yearlings and adults remain in Florida. If this trend continues, the Florida panther will soon no longer exist in the wild. Other large cats are endangered as well. Tigers, in particular, exist in very low numbers in the wild. The risk of extinction is great. The more people learn about the grace, beauty and wonder of these exotic creatures, the more motivated they are to help them.

When Mark Pieloch stepped in to help CFAR, he made it possible for the sanctuary to repair the damage and quickly get back to its important work of saving big cats and educating the public.

Investing in Animal Welfare and Health With Mark Pieloch

Mark Pieloch is a noted entrepreneur who has created several specialty pharmaceutical firms dedicated to improving the health of cats, dogs and horses. The charitable contributions Pieloch makes to animal-welfare organizations, however, constitute some of his most important investments. Groups like the Capital Humane Society, the Beach Park Animal Hospital, the Central Florida Animal Reserve and other nonprofits offer hope and shelter to homeless animals and practice responsible rehoming to provide brighter futures for pet owners and their cherished four-legged companions. By supporting the work of these organizations, Mark Pieloch hopes to create a better world for both people and pets.

Mark Pieloch: The Value of Community-Based Animal Shelters

Mark Pieloch is integrally involved in supporting the work of animal-care organizations in the neighborhoods, communities and cities in which he lives and works. As the owner and founder of several pharmaceutical firms specializing in creating nutrition supplements and other health products for companion animals, Pieloch is committed to improving the lives of homeless pets. He has demonstrated this commitment with large donations to the Capital Humane Society in Lincoln, Nebraska, to the Central Florida Animal Reserve and to the Waukegan Park District K9 Trace and Pace fundraiser.

Mark Pieloch Sponsors UNL Western Horsemanship Equestrian Team

As a sponsor of the Western and Hunt Seat Horsemanship Equitation Team at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Mark Pieloch has provided Phycox products and financial support for the team’s activities and competitions. Prospective members are required to try out to earn their place on the team and must comply with IHSA rules throughout their participation. Team members must attend weekly practices, pay dues and participate in fundraisers. These fundraisers help pay for ongoing expenses that include buses to and from competitions, team jerseys and entry fees. Exhibitions and performances can also provide added funds to support team activities.

At UNL, riders can compete in six divisions that correspond to their level of achievement in the equestrian arts. Beginners can compete against others at their own level, and advanced riders can take on more difficult challenges as their skill improves. Hunt Seat competitors are classified into eight divisions; they also compete against others with similar skill levels and abilities.

Members of the UNL Western and Hunt Seat Horsemanship teams ride university-owned horses during all practices and competitions. Riders are ranked and earn points according to their performance at shows and competitive events throughout the year. Team members who obtain 36 points during the course of competitions move up to the next division and are qualified to compete in Regionals. The top two performers in the Regionals compete in Zones. Finally, the top two riders in the Zones move up to compete at the Nationals. The UNL team depends on the help of sponsors like Mark Pieloch to support their activities throughout the year.