At-Home Training: Improving Your Relationship With Your Pet

One of the most challenging aspects of pet ownership is learning how to properly train and discipline your pet to best fit into your lifestyle. The extra time spent at home due to COVID-19 can be a great time to work on your training skills and help you bond with your pet. Whether you just rescued a dog or cat or have been a pet owner for years, you can always dedicate time to working on your pets’ behavior. Please read this article and discover some free online videos you can use from the comfort of your home to get you started!

Need more convincing? Here’s a few key reasons why you should start training at home today:

It’s safer for your dog or cat

Training your pet can stop them from hurting themselves unintentionally. If your pet jumps up on a counter or chews on furniture, it can actually be detrimental to their health—not just your home furnishings—so it’s a good idea to train them in order to avoid unwanted occurrences like these. Managing your pet correctly can also lead to safer interactions with new people and animals inside and outside of your home. If you have a pet who is reactive or aggressive to other people and animals, ensure you consult a professional before openly introducing them to others.

It builds a stronger relationship between you and your pet

Statistics have shown that owners with well-behaved pets have a stronger bond with their pet. So, having a dog or cat that is well trained, relaxed, and responsive, will lead to a closer relationship with your furry companion. Relationships are built on mutual trust and understanding and it is no different with animals. When training your pet, it is vital to make sure they understand what you are trying to communicate to them. Commands with too many words can be confusing and put a strain on the authority and bond you hold with your animal. With dogs, remember that they are pack animals, meaning they want a trusted and benevolent pack leader to follow. Dogs will thrive when they know what the rules are, and when you spend time positively enforcing these rules, you also are building up between you and your furry friend.

Akc.org

It’s fun!

Who said learning isn’t fun? The exercises you and your pet will learn are stimulating and engaging. It can keep your pet from being restless and misbehaving by giving them an outlet for their mental and physical energy. Trick training, i.e. “shake,” “roll over,” etc, can be especially challenging and engaging for your pet. After physical exercise and a mentally stimulating training session, dogs who often look for trouble or suffer from separation anxiety may be more likely to be happy getting on the couch and taking a nap. Not only is it fun for your pet, but it’s fun for the owner too! 

Hillspet.com

It helps your pet become more confident

Your pet understanding its role in your household and in society is important. If your pet is shy, fearful, or has anxiety from its past life experience, training can give them the structure they need to come out of their shells. Learning commands and how to follow your lead will help them behave and feel more confident when they’re in public and interacting with new people or animals. Even if your pet does not go in public often, this is still important. If people are coming into your home, your pet needs to be comfortable and sociable. Even if you simply take your dog on a daily walk or take your cat to the vet, you are likely come across other people and pets in the process. It is imperative that your pet does not feel threatened and that they trust your authority and guidance to give them confidence in these situations. 

 

Here are some great resources that are perfect to get started for training your pet at home during the pandemic:

 

FOR CATS:

CatSchool

Karen Pryor Academy

Purina

Cat Training

Animal Behavior College

 

FOR DOGS: 

Wagfield Academy

Zach George’s Training Revolution

American Kennel Club Training

Dunbar Academy

Blue Cross

Runners, Jumpers & Escape Artists: How To Keep Dogs and Cats Safe At Home, and What To Do If Your Pet Does Run Away

Keeping your pet safely contained at home is important for many reasons. To help keep you pet safe we found some simple and cost-effective ways to help you do that, and, in the case of an escape, we’ve listed some ways to help you bring them back home safely. Keeping pets at home, and out of shelters is a priority for us all. 

 

Tire Them Out

Taking your dog for a walk, run, or to the dog park can do two very important things in reducing the chances of them running away. A tired dog is less likely to want to get out and they’ll be more than happy to take a nap instead. When they get out to explore their neighborhood, they become more aware of their surroundings and will have less of an urge to escape and explore. Giving a bored dog something that is mentally or physically stimulating will reduce their chances of running away. Check out our other post on training your pet at home during quarantine and the benefits of giving them more mental stimulation throughout the day!

young beagle (17 weeks) looks over the garden fence

Akc.org

Make it More Difficult to Escape

If your property is not well-fenced or protected, make sure you are outside with your pet at all times, and have them on a harness and leash. If you do have the ability to fence in your outdoor space, there are specific types of fencing, like deer fencing, that can keep your pet in for lower costs. Walking around the premises and making sure there are no gaps in fencing on a regular basis is also important. You want to know where the weak spots are so you can act accordingly. Underground “invisible” fences can be effective, but they are not as successful in stopping a pet who really wants to go for a “stroll.” 

 

Keep them Occupied

More often than not, pets run away because they’re bored. By giving your pet an interactive toy or long-lasting treat you can curb their interest in running away. Mental and physical stimulation are important in stressful times, especially during quarantine when your pet may not have access to doggy daycare or the dog park, or other activities that typically keep them stimulated. Keeping them engaged is a key aspect in keeping them calm and content at home. Chewy and PetCo both have some great and inexpensive options on toys specifically designed for keeping your pets occupied. 

Petsami.com

Sometimes, even if you are being highly responsible in tending to your pet’s well-being, your pet can still run away from home. It’s important to know the steps to take after your pet goes missing so that you can spring into action.

 

What to do if your pet runs away 

If your pet runs away it’s vital that you get the word out, and as quickly as possible. Report you lost pet immediately to your local municipal shelter, in Miami, that is Miami Dade Animal Services. Post flyers in the general direction of where your pet ran away, around your neighborhood, and even in local businesses with a bulletin board. You can post in neighborhood or town Facebook groups with an attached picture and description of your pet’s appearance and demeanor. There are apps and websites specifically for locating lost pets. PetAmberAlert, Miami-Dade County Service for Lost & Found Pets, Pawboost, and CatNetwork are all great resources for finding your pet ASAP. Many of these sites offer a location filter so you can search through areas near and far to try and bring your pet home. 

 

Keep in mind that running away from home can be a very stressful experience for your animal so they may not be themselves and could run away from people trying to help them. And if this is the case it’s a good idea to remind people not to chase your pet, but to take a photo and send the location to you. You know your pet. Will they be lured by a treat or certain type of food? Make sure to mention that in your communications. 

 

Also, checking local veterinary clinics and shelters is a great idea. These are usually the first places people call or bring an animal when they find a lost pet. We also suggest looking into getting an ID Tag and microchipping your pet. In the event that they run away it gives them a much better chance of being reunited with your family. 

 

And most importantly, don’t give up! Be aggressive in your search. Pets have been known to come home after a few days and starting early in your neighborhood locations could make a big difference in the situation’s outcome. 

Finding Pet-Friendly Housing in Miami-Dade County

It can be tough to find an apartment or rental home in Miami-Dade County that is pet friendly. Follow these tips to make sure that when you move, you never have to leave your pet behind!

 

Do your research 

There are some great websites for finding dog and cat friendly homes for rent in Miami. Sites like Adobo, ApartmentList, and My New Place, all have pet-friendly filters so you can narrow down your search to find the perfect home. A great resource for finding more websites like this is the Animal Humane Society. They have an entire page dedicated to finding pet friendly homes so you can keep your pet during a move. 

 

Build a pet resume

For a landlord who is on the fence about allowing a pet in their complex, you can put a resume together for your dog or cat. By giving them an opportunity to learn more about your pet and their behavior, you can help them make a decision based on the facts about your pet rather than a previous experience which may have colored their opinion. This will also help begin open and honest communication with your landlord. You can gather references from friends and family who know your pet as well as include pictures to help seal the deal. Emphasize it if they are potty trained and if they have taken obedience classes, since these are main concerns landlords face when debating if they should allow pets in their rental property. Including proof that your dog is trained by attaching a certificate of graduation or proof of class enrollment to their “resume” can help as well. 

Apartmentguide.com

Consider different types of buildings

Newer buildings will often have rent specials and are pet-friendly. They want to appeal to a younger demographic and will likely be willing to negotiate to allow your four-legged family members to come with you. Don’t waste your time on buildings that are not pet-friendly. All that effort can be put to use in looking for pet friendly locations that fit yours and your pet’s needs.

Golden Retriever Dog Breed

Vetstreet.com

Pay a pet deposit

If you can, offer to pay a pet deposit in case of any damages caused by your pet. This may convince landlords to allow you to move in. Many property owners can be weary of damages whether it be from a previous bad experience or precaution. By ensuring you will cover any costs that may occur, they may be swayed your way. 

 

Build references

Show the landlord that you are a responsible tenant. A letter of reference from your current landlord stating your accountability and good behavior could go a long way. A letter from your vet vouching that you care for your pet and that they are updated on all of their vaccinations may also contribute to making your case.

cat sleeping positions

Coleandmarmalade.com

Introduce them to your landlord 

By introducing your rescue pet to the potential landlord, you’re being given the opportunity to show a well-groomed and well-behaved pet. They will also be able to see how well you can control and interact with your pet. You may even be able to invite them to your current home so they can see the level of cleanliness and conditions that you live in. 

 

Yes—it can be hard to find pet-friendly housing in Miami-Dade County, but with determination, and creativity, it can be done! Never leave your pet behind because you had to move.

Creating a Smooth Adoption for Your Rescue Pet

Prepare your supplies

Before bringing your rescue pet home, make sure you have all the supplies you need and place them accordingly. This will make their introduction to their new home smoother as they will know from the start where they will eat, sleep, and go to the bathroom. For a rescue cat, you may want to invest in a scratching post as well. Cats scratch to leave their scent and mark their territory, so best if you take the initiative and save your furniture with a post. For a rescue dog, potty training should be one of the first things you do when you bring your rescue dog home. Introduce them to a “potty spot” and regularly bring them to the location so they can become house trained, and be consistent with your potty routine.

 

Assign them a safe space

A cat tree can give your rescue cat a sense of security. They enjoy high spaces and many cat trees come with scratching spots as well. For a rescue dog, make sure they have access to parts of your home where there will be people. Don’t isolate them in a basement or garage. By keeping them in a place with foot traffic they will become more comfortable with your family and integration will go much quicker. If you’ve decided to crate train your rescue dog, make sure the crate is a comforting area for them. You can reward them with a treat or toy whenever they voluntarily enter the crate and there are great online resources to help you teach your pet to love their crate.

Cat on tower scaffold

Curbed.com

Introduce your pets slowly

If you have other pets, make sure they meet each other in a controlled environment. If you already have a dog, make sure your rescue dog meets them outside your home on neutral territory and somewhere without food or toys, and preferably outdoors where the original dog will not feel as territorial. If possible, it is best to have a trusted friend or a certified trainer help you facilitate this introduction in case one of the dogs reacts negatively to the other. Take it slow and pay attention to body language as your two pups meet.  If you have a cat and are bringing home a rescue dog, don’t introduce them right away. The scent will be enough for your rescue dog to know there is a feline there. When they are introduced, make sure your dog is on a leash to prevent any predatory instincts they may initially have towards the cat, and avoid chasing so that doesn’t become a set behavior between your cat and your dog.

iStock

MentalFloss.com

Give them space

Give your pet time to acclimate to their new surroundings before you introduce them to strangers. Moving is stressful for humans and pets; we all need time to adapt and decompress. They will need time to adjust to their new home and family before they will be ready to meet anyone new. Some one-on-one time will also give you time to bond with your pet and get to know their personality. The #333 rule says: 3 days to decompress, 3 weeks to learn your routine, and 3 months to feel at home and safe, so following these will ensure your pets have space and time to acclimate to their surroundings.

 

Build a routine

Try to stick to the feeding schedule the shelter, or foster family, had your pet on. This will prevent accidents and keep a sense of familiarity in their lives. Checking with your vet about food portions, types, and times is also a good idea. After a while, if you must, you can begin to slowly change feeding schedules. If you plan on changing the type of food, do so slowly. A sudden change in diet can be harsh on your pet’s stomach.

 

Interactive toys

Toys can be a great way for a rescue dog or cat to decompress and relieve stress during the transition to their new home. They will also be able to focus their anxiety on the toys rather than taking to a shoe or piece of furniture. This can also prevent them from developing separation anxiety since they will have something to “work on” while you’re out of the house. Food puzzles, toys you can fill with yummy treats and snuffle mats can keep your pets entertained and their mind stimulated.

Choosing the wrong size toy

PetCentral.com

Provide basic training

Training mostly pertains to dogs. Training can help your rescue dog feel a sense of structure and stability. Your relationship will also become stronger as trust is gained and your pet begins to understand how it is expected to behave. If you take classes with them, look for positive reinforcement classes as they are the most effective when training your pet. Dominance-based classes can put a strain on your relationship with your pet and will not be as successful.

 

Read body language

Initially, your rescue pet may be anxious and timid with all the new changes in its life. Learn to differentiate between when they would rather be alone and when they’re willing to interact with you. Forcing a relationship may stress them out during such a drastic change in their environment. Give them space. Building trust after the abandonment and neglect your pet has experienced will take repetition, consistency, time, and most of all: unconditional love and a little patience.

5 Things to Do Before Surrendering Your Pet to A Shelter

Did you foster or adopt a new pet during the stay-at-home mandates of COVID-19? Taking care of a pet requires an ongoing commitment of time and resources, especially as a new pet owner learns what it takes to look after your furry four-legged friend. However, if you’ve adopted a pet and begin to face some challenges, giving a pet back to the shelter or rescue organization should always be a last resort.

 

Here are 5 things to do before surrendering your pet back to a shelter:

 

  1. If finances are an issue, check out local food banks to get pet food.

 

Spending money on anything is tough during these unprecedented and uncertain times.  If you find yourself struggling with financing your pet’s needs, try out this alternative: find a food bank in your community to see if they also give away pet food. Miami-Dade Animal Services has been operating food distribution events providing free pet food for Miami-Dade residents, allowing Miami pet owners to reduce their financial stress. Additionally, you can contact www.thepetprojectfl.org, a nonprofit that provides pet food, vaccinations, and other services, and sometimes even veterinary care, to qualified individuals in need of temporary assistance.

  1. To reduce the cost of vet bills – negotiate a payment plan with your vet

 

Try speaking to your pet’s vet before urgent care is needed and explore ways to provide care if the time comes. Another way to spread out the expenses is to apply for pet insurance.  For a set monthly or yearly fee, you can get some veterinary services your pet may need or help cover extraordinary medical needs that may come up. Other options include CareCredit, which breaks your vet bills into lower monthly payments, and see if you qualify for loan assistance to help your pet get the urgent care needed.

 

 

  1. If your pet is having behavioral issues, hire a trainer for a couple of sessions to learn how to teach your pet, or leverage free online resources.

 

If your pet has been challenging you with some naughty behaviors, don’t give up. Sometimes all they need is a little practice and gentle discipline. Hiring a personal trainer for just a couple of sessions can really turn around your pet’s behavior and helps you learn what you need to help your pet be their best — patience is key! You may also look for online resources through leading national pet organizations to help you with basic behavior challenges. Practice makes better and you and your pet will be much happier and have a clear understanding of its place in your family with a little basic training and practice.

 

  1. Time – let your pets out!

 

If your schedule prevents you from letting your pet out during the day and you are feeling guilty, you can explore using a service like Wag or Rover so that someone can take them on a long walk while you are at work. These services make not just your life a little easier, but also your pet’s.  You can also work with your pet on crate training and potty training, so that while you are at work, your pet waits patiently for you to return. Whatever the circumstances, don’t give up on your pet and your pet won’t give up on you. Remember: even if you work long hours, the time at home you do have with your pet is better than no time—which is what your pet had when it was still at the shelter.

  1. As a last resort, you can try to re-home your pet with a friend or family member if you absolutely cannot take care of them

      

If you are moving overseas, have allergies, or another medical condition that makes it impossible to care for your pet, re-homing your pet with someone you know is a great option.   This also allows you to maintain a connection with your pet, as well as giving you peace of mind because someone you know and trust is taking care of your furry friend.  A great plus is that you may be able to visit them and give them some extra love. If this is not possible, search for a list of all no-kill rescues in your area. Sometimes smaller, closed-admission rescues or shelters can place pets with a foster family to give your pet the best chance for a good outcome. If surrendering your pet is your only option, consider a rescue rather than the shelter. Oftentimes shelters are overcrowded, and animals tend to do better when placed in the hands of a foster family from a rescue rather than at the shelter. If you must surrender your pet, please be sure to provide information on your pet’s personality, likes and dislikes and funny things your pet does or things your pet doesn’t like, as well as all veterinary records. This will help when finding the perfect match for your furry family member.

4 Ways to Save on Pet Care

For many of us, money is tight these days. The global pandemic has led to large-scale layoffs, unexpected medical bills, and other life stressors. While pets are getting more of our time and attention, the cost of taking care of them can be an added financial burden when we are already tightening our belts.  Here are some simple ways you can drive down the costs while still giving your pet the love and care they deserve:

  1. Buy your pet food online

Many online retailers offer discounts on pet food orders when you order on a subscription basis. These kinds of loyalty programs can significantly reduce money spent and increase time saved. Chewy.com offers hefty discounts, sometimes as much as a 30% savings on your first subscription order, and Petco.com often offers up to 35% off plus free shipping on your first subscription order. Some online retailers offer up to 10% off of top pet food brands, and shipping is quick and often free for orders over certain amounts. Other internet-based retailers such as Amazon.com also provide similar subscriptions and discounts, allowing you to make sure you get the brands you want while still saving money. There are also other ways to save money on your pet food orders, for instance, rebate websites such as freeshipping.com which offers 10% cash back rebates to customers of several major pet stores.

 

  1. Get pet insurance to offset medical bills, or find a low-cost vet

During times of crisis, it may be difficult to focus on your pet’s health when your health or the health of other family members is at the top of your mind. Fortunately, there are things you can do to ensure that your pet’s medical costs are more affordable. Pet insurance plans can cover everything from basic care to accidents, illnesses, cancer, and emergency care, among other things. With a pet insurance plan, your pet will be taken care of without major worries about unexpected high costs: you pay the same flat fee either monthly or yearly and know up front what coverage is available. If the unexpected happens and your pet is uninsured, services such as CareCredit and scratchpay.com are both resources that offer financing services to allow you to break up payments over time for your pet care. There are also low-cost veterinary services that provide quality medical care to pets without breaking the bank. Make sure to shop around for the best vet prices when money is an issue. You can also drive down the cost of pharmacy items using online retailers, such as heartlandvetsupply.com, Chewy.com, or others. These retailers are cheaper than the vet, and may save you money on your pet’s regular Heartworm medication and other pharmacy needs.

  1. Learn to do the parts of pet care you usually pay someone to do

Two parts of pet care that can be financially prohibitive are grooming and training. We sometimes bring our pets to groomers and trainers for the convenience and professional-level services, but these are jobs you can actually do yourself. On YouTube, there are countless resources to learn these skills, and many large pet welfare organizations offer resources and even online pet training classes. You will not only save money now, but also in the future when saving this money is less of a necessity, but still a great idea. Caring for your pet in this way will also strengthen the bond between you and your furry friend, and basic training and grooming skills are something every pet owner should have in their “toolkit.”

  1. Ask for help

Accessing support from the people around us is another way to save money on pet care. Contact your local humane society or shelter. They may offer low cost services or resources that you can take advantage of, such as free vaccinations or food drives that can help you save on essential things. You can also request financial assistance from an American Veterinary Medical Association member veterinarian enrolled in the Veterinary Care Charitable Fund program. They offer charitable veterinary services to pet owners facing personal hardships as well as support for animals that are injured or rescued from abuse and neglect. Those are not your only options. For example, if you have to go into work every day and cannot watch your pet, think about swapping favors with friends or family members instead of paying for expensive services like dog walking or boarding. You are not the only one who needs help right now, and coming to mutually beneficial agreements is the best way for a community to support one another. Even a good relationship with your landlord can be important. Many housing options require a “pet fee” be paid, but landlords can be lenient and waive this fee during this time to allow you to focus on your financial recovery while continuing to care for your pet.

 

While these strategies can be helpful to save money, they are not the only way to ensure that your pet is happy and healthy during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Remember that unconditional love, affection and attention are things that anybody can provide to their pets, and of course they are totally free.

Is your pet at risk for the COVID-19 virus?

These days, the COVID-19 outbreak is at the top of everyone’s mind, and for good reason. We are all adapting to our new realities and the changes that have come with them. There are many questions that people are still looking for answers to, and many pet owners are left asking, “Can my pet get Coronavirus?” FoMA is here to help you answer some important questions regarding your pet. 

  1. Can my pet get the coronavirus?

So far, there is no substantial evidence that dogs or cats can easily transmit the COVID-19 virus. There has been confirmed evidence of the virus in a Pomeranian and a German Shepard, though neither showed any symptoms. Several cats across the world have also tested positive for COVID-19, and recently, two pet cats in New York tested positive. While these pet felines didn’t show symptoms, a cat from Belgium came down with respiratory symptoms, vomiting, and diarrhea as a result of COVID-19. A widely circulated headline news story also confirmed that eight big cats at the Bronx Zoo have also tested positive for the virus. These animals are showing mild respiratory symptoms and coughs. It is assumed that these cases at the Bronx Zoo are from contact with asymptomatic humans, and were transmitted from human-to-animal. There is currently no evidence that pets can transmit the virus back to humans, but anyone infected with the virus should quarantine from their pets and their people, alike, to minimize the risk of transmission. That said, it is recommended that ferrets and exotic pets, for which there is even less data, are kept in a safe enclosure and away from sick individuals. 

  1. How can I protect my pet from COVID-19?

As with humans, there is no vaccine that can currently protect your pet from the Coronavirus. Additionally, testing for your pets is unnecessary at this time and likely not possible. However, there are steps you can take to ensure the health and safety of your pet during these uncertain times. By practicing social distancing, you can protect yourself, your family, and your pets from COVID-19. When walking your dog, avoid dog parks and stay six feet away from other humans, and animals at all times. Do not let your dog approach, sniff, or play with another animal while outside your home. To substitute these experiences, it is important to spend extra time playing with your pet indoors to keep them active and engaged while socially distancing with you in the house. 

  1. Can we learn anything from other Coronaviruses?

We know a lot more about other coronaviruses and how they affect pets, which can help us understand how COVID-19 may impact pets. FCoV is a previous coronavirus that impacted domestic cats, but tended to have mild gastrointestinal symptoms rather than respiratory ones. CCoV is a canine coronavirus that is highly infectious and can range from diarrhea to debilitating gastrointestinal issues. So if you are concerned about your pet, monitor your pet’s health and call your veterinarian with any questions or concerns. 

We are learning more about the COVID-19 virus every day and our understanding of what is true is evolving constantly. For now, while socially isolating in your home for the majority of each day, continue to engage with your pets and use your time with them as an escape from the daily news cycle and monotony. In addition, it is wise to devise a plan for your pet in case you become sick. Choose a trusted person to take care of your pet if you are hospitalized or quarantined after testing positive for COVID-19. Keep a crate and extra food at your house, and keep all of your pet’s identification and vaccine records, and other documents, on hand. Your pet can be a great friend for you during this time, and while it is important to ensure your pet’s health, as long as you are keeping yourself safe, you can be confident in the health of your pet.

 

 

So you’re fostering a pet. Now what?

Above all, your responsibility as a foster home is to provide a safe and loving home for your new foster pet. This can mean many things from providing proper care for your foster pet to helping your foster pet get adopted into a safe, loving, forever home. 

So what can you do to help your foster pet get adopted? 

  1.     Make sure your foster pet is ready for adoption 

Many foster pets are already spayed or neutered, as well as microchipped and vaccinated. However, if your pet is not, it is your responsibility to ensure they are fully vetted as soon as possible so they are ready to be adopted. If they are not fully vetted, you can hit speed bumps after finding a potential adopter for your foster pet. If you are fostering from Miami-Dade Animal Services, your pet will receive all necessary care and services directly from MDAS. If you are fostering a pet for another shelter or rescue, speak directly with them about the specific needs of your foster pet.

  1.    Create successful bios for your foster pet

Each pet has an individual personality and offers different relationships for different adopters. Create a bio for your foster pet that shows off its personality and individual quirks.  Things like how they interact with children and other pets, whether your pet likes walks, or toys or to play in water, and your pet’s “rescue story,” if you know it. Beyond a bio, take fun and compelling pictures and videos of your foster pet and be sure to use natural light when possible and avoid using flash photography to get the best pictures of your foster pet.  Show your pet in different environments and remember that getting closer to their level can help you get the perfect angle.  Record videos of your foster playing fetch or responding to basic obedience commands to show potential adopters how much training is necessary when they adopt and differentiate the pet from other pets up for adoption. Show potential adopters the GOOD things about the pet and leave the bad things for the meet & greet. Always be sure to be honest and thorough in the information you share to ensure the best possible outcome for your foster pet.

  1.     Use social media to promote the adoption of your foster pet

Since you are already going to be taking pictures and videos of your foster pet for use in adoption profiles, you should use them as well to promote your pet on social media. Post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Be sure to tag @fomapets when you do, and your pet could be featured in our campaigns and you may get some free publicity for your pet to find a forever home. If your foster is from Miami-Dade Animal Services, include the pet’s ID number as a hashtag in all posts. Remember to send the pet’s profile to your own contacts and see if anyone you know is looking to adopt. You may just make a perfect match for your pet and for your friend.

  1.     Get involved in (virtual) adoption events

While many of us are staying home during this time, shelters and adoption programs must get creative with how they have adoption events. Find digital adoption events that you can use to introduce your foster pet to potential adopters. These may be difficult for you to get involved in, so get creative with it. Go live on social media and show off what your daily experiences with your foster pet are. Or look for communities online that connect foster homes with potential adopters. Shelters and adoption services across the world are seeing an uptick in fostering and adoptions, so there are resources to help you find your foster pet its forever home.

  1.     Enjoy your time with your foster pet

Fostering a pet will require a commitment from you to properly care for your pet, but it can be a very rewarding experience. In these uncertain times in which people are self-isolating in their homes, days can seem long and monotonous. Spending time with a pet prevents the feeling of loneliness and both you and your foster pet benefit. Go for walks so you both can relax,  get some fresh air together and train your foster pet in basic obedience, so your pet can be ready for its forever home. What better way to spend some of your extra time at home!

  1.     It is okay to “foster fail”

Sometimes when fostering, you begin to fall in love with your foster pet. It is completely okay for you to decide that fostering is not right for you, but adoption is. All you have to do is put in an application with the shelter from which you’re fostering. If this sounds like you, make sure to do it quickly before someone else gets the chance! Fosters are encouraged to make their home a foster pet’s forever home and sometimes there’s nothing better than a “foster fail”!

Friends of Miami Animals – Be A Friend Fundraiser

On January  15, 2020,  Friends of Miami Animals (“FoMA”)  hosted its inaugural “Be A Friend” fundraiser raising nearly $200,000 in donations.   About 180 of the organization’s friends gathered to show support for FoMA and its mission to save and improve the lives of pets in Miami-Dade County. Guests spent the evening learning more about the issues faced by homeless pets and pets of low income qualified pet owners and the solutions FoMA provides.

 

Dignitaries in attendance included Mayor Carlos A. Giménez of Miami-Dade, Mayor Oliver Gilbert of Miami Gardens, State Senator René García, and Commissioners Danielle Levine Cava, Sally Heyman, and Jean Monestine of Miami-Dade County.

 

With the addition of a matching grant from Potamkin Philanthropies, the donations will total approximately $500,000 and will be used to fund a new mobile veterinarian clinic for a full year in partnership with Miami Dade Animal Services and Miami-Dade County for an initial three-year test project.   The clinic will bring basic veterinary services and vouchers for free spay/neuter services to pets of low-income qualified pet owners who are unable to provide adequate care in economically challenged areas of Miami-Dade County.

 

“This mobile veterinarian clinic will make an enormous impact on the health and wellness of pets in our county. It’s just one of our many programs to provide care to animals in need,” said Brigitt Rok-Potamkin, a founding member of FoMA and the hostess of the evening.

 

Yolanda Berkowitz, President of FoMA, said, “We’re a young foundation, but we’ve already made such important progress towards controlling pet overpopulation crisis in Miami-Dade County. This clinic augments our existing support of at-risk pets exponentially.”

 

About FoMA

 

Since 2016, Friends of Miami Animals Foundation (FoMA) has been a leader in animal welfare issues committed to helping homeless pets, community pets and the people who love them. The foundation helps build effective programs, establishing meaningful collaborations and engaging leaders and the community to save and improve the lives of homeless pets. Its work includes spay and neuter programs, shelter and rescue assistance, and support for animal rescue.

 

Watch this video to learn more about FoMA’s work and donate to the cause at fomapets.org below:


Welcome to Kitten Season

Spring is kitten season here in Miami-Dade County, when more feral cats have their babies than any other time of year. Do you know what to do if you find a litter of kittens? Should you touch them? Move them? Bring them to a rescue? Here are some basic tips to equip you to help homeless kittens in your neighborhood.

 

Step one: Determine if the mother is around

 

A feral cat is a cat that has not socialized with people, and therefore does not know how to interact with people properly. Additionally, the young kittens, like any baby animals, need their mother! They may still be nursing and severing the parent-infant relationship will starve them. 

 

You may not have time to stay for hours and check to make sure the mother is there, so be resourceful, or come back later, to see if she has returned to her kittens. Ideally, you should not leave the litter of cats on their own for over eight hours.

 

If eight hours have passed and you determine that the mother is gone and has abandoned her litter, or something has happened to the mother, it is time to act: See step two.

 

On the other hand, if the mother has returned, contact Miami-Dade Animal Services, the Cat Network, or other rescue groups and inquire about getting help trapping the mom and any other cats for its TNR, or “Trap, Neuter, Return” programs or assistance to ensure the adult cats in the community are humanely trapped and spayed or neutered to avoid continuing pet overpopulation. 

Step Two: Pick up the abandoned kittens and provide immediate care

 

Humans are scary to feral and under socialized cats, especially young ones, so dress appropriately to avoid scratches from the kittens. Once in your care, it is important to keep the kittens warm. Kittens are susceptible to the cold and without a mother looking after them, they cannot easily regulate their own body temperatures. Use a towel or blanket to wrap them up and keep them comfortable. 

 

The kittens will probably be hungry, so it is important to feed them. If they are older kittens, canned kitten food or canned kitten food mixed with kitten milk replacer is best, but if they are younger, they will need milk. A veterinarian can help you determine the age and dietary needs of the kittens. It is vital that you do not feed them cow’s milk as it will make a cat sick. Rather, get “Kitten Milk Replacer” (KMR) or “21st Century Milk Replacement” which can be purchased at pet stores.

Step Three: Make a plan for the litter of kittens

 

First, you must decide whether to keep these kittens and foster them for yourself or to bring them to rescue so they can be fostered by another household. 

 

If you have decided to foster them yourself, the real work begins now. There are many steps involved in beginning to take care of this new litter of kittens. Among your responsibilities, if you choose to keep these kittens, will be to have them seen by a vet and vaccinated, spayed, neutered, micro-chipped, etc., and to help them find new forever homes. Make sure that you partner with Miami-Dade Animal Services, The Humane Society of Greater Miami or another reputable local rescue to get the supplies and directions you will need to care for these kittens.

 

Remember: By donating to FoMA and by volunteering alongside us, we can support efforts to protect homeless kittens and all of Miami’s feral cats.