Shelter Wish Lists for the Holidays

Are you in the giving spirit for the holiday season? Consider donating to our shelter pets! Shelters  provide care to animals daily and with so many animals coming in to shelters, they are always in need of supplies. We created this Shelter Wish List of items so that you can be a part of FoMA’s mission of saving and improving the lives of homeless pets in Miami-Dade County by making their lives a little better while they wait for forever homes!


Keep reading to the end of the article for a link to our wishlist on Amazon where you can easily select any items on this list and directly benefit shelter pets.

Shelter Wish Lists for the Holidays - FoMA Pets

Enrichment Toys

Our County’s only open-intake shelter in Doral can be caring for as many as 400 pets at any one time so it can be hard for them to get extended time outside or to have human interaction through playtime. Enrichment items such as durable toys, feeding toys and comfort items can help with an animals’ mental stimulation and overall well-being. Dogs and cats can use the toys in their kennel while they wait for their forever families to adopt them!

Enrichment Items - FoMA Pets

Bedding and Blankets

Since the animals can be in their kennels for long periods of time, we want to make sure they have comfy bedding. These items can help pets be adopted faster – According to Operation Blankets of Love, shelter pets that appear in more home-like settings have higher rates of adoption!

Bedding and Blankets - FoMA Pets

Snacks and Treats

With the number of animals in their care, shelters are always in need for snacks and treats for both dogs and cats. These come in handy as volunteers use the treats in working with and training as well.

Snacks and Treats - FoMA Pets

Kitten Cuddlers Supplies

Kitten Cuddlers care for neonate kittens around the clock, ensuring their survival during their most vulnerable period. With donations of kitty formula and supplies you are truly helping save the lives of neonate kittens!

Kitten Cuddlers Supplies - FoMA Pets

Collars and Leashes

According to PetMD, dogs need to be walked from 30 minutes to 2 hours each day, depending on the breed and need for exercise! Volunteer walkers use donated leashes to walk dogs while fosters receive all the items necessary to take a shelter into their home.  So collars, leashes and harnesses are vital for our shelter pets.

Collars and Leashes - FoMA Pets

And Lots of Other Items!

Our Wish List has so many items to choose from and items in every price point.  For as little as a few dollars you can make a pet’s holiday by sending them a gift and helping make their lives better.  It’s so easy to do through our Amazon Wish List. Just click the link below and select the holiday gifts you want to send our shelter pets.


Plus, if you start your shopping via don’t forget to select “Friends of Miami Animals Foundation Inc.” as your charity of choice.  You’ll be helping shelter pets and will be giving back to FoMA with every purchase, too, at no extra cost to you.  

Get started HERE:

Other Items for Your Pet - FoMA Pets

We hope you can be a part of bringing happiness to a pet in need and help make their holidays brighter!

Guest Post: What to do if You Lose Your Pet

Much too often, pet owners contact us heartbroken because their pet is lost, often through no fault of their own. Our friend and canine investigator, Jamie Katz, provides some ideas you can use if your best friend is lost.

When Your Pet is Lost

My name is Jamie Katz; I am a licensed Private Investigator/ K9 handler in Florida, and I specialize in lost & stolen pets. I also have a team of scent-specific tracking dogs that can follow the scent of the missing pet. Losing a pet is one of the most frantic situations to go through, and having a solid plan and a professional to guide you through each step can sometimes make all the difference. 

What do I do first? Whom do I call? Was my pet stolen? Is he/she alive? These are all the questions that run through the mind of an owner when their pet suddenly disappears. I will take you through a step-by-step process of what to do the second you realize your pet is missing.

  1. If your pet is microchipped, call the microchip company immediately and make sure the chip is registered under your current address and phone number. If you don’t know your pet’s chip #, try calling all the vets you have taken your pet to and ask if they have ever scanned your pet’s microchip and wrote it down in your file.
  1. Create a flyer and post to all social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Craigslist,, etc.). The flyer should have the date your pet when missing, the city, your phone number, breed, colors, male or female, a clear photo of your pet standing on all fours, and the reward at the top. Do not post your pet’s microchip number, and make sure your post is made public so anyone can see and share the post.
  2. Print out 60 colored, laminated signs to start posting immediately to gain awareness within a couple of miles from where your pet went missing. The best way to do this is to look at a map of the address your pet went missing from, make a list of all the intersections where the flyers should be posted so that it is impossible for anyone to come in or out of the couple mile radius without having to see a sign.

  1. Check the shelters every other day (inquire about the animals in the clinic and quarantine room) and post flyers inside the shelters on the lost pet bulletin boards. Ask the shelter if they have a logbook so you can check if any deceased animals were picked with the locations, date, and time.

Watch out for Scams

Remember, some people look to make money off owners with lost pets by pretending they have the animal to get the reward and hack into your email accounts to get all your private information (bank, credit cards, etc.). If you get a text or phone call from someone saying they found your pet, ask them to send you a photo. If they do not send you a photo, then they do not have your pet. If you receive a message asking you to prove that you are the lost pet’s owner and asking you to send them a google code, do NOT respond, this is a scam. If you send back a google code, the person will be able to hack into your email and get all of your personal information.

What to do if You Lose Your Pet - That's not mine

Professional Help

If You have not found your missing pet within a day or two, you may want to call me and see what services I can offer to you. I will profile your case (the who, what, when, where, how questions), and I will recommend which service would be of most help to you based upon your individual situation. My number is 844-411-5289, and my website is

Jamie Katz

Private Investigator

License # C1500105                                                        

Agency # A1500178

844-411-KATZ (5289)

What to do if You Lose Your Pet - Pet Detective

Pet Obesity

Pet obesity is a prevalent threat to many animals’ good health. According to the Association for Pet Obesity, it is estimated that 60% of cats and 56% of dogs were overweight or obese in the United States in 2018. That’s more than one-in-two! While it may seem harmless or even “cute” if your pet has a few extra pounds, excess weight can pose serious threats to pets’ health in the short and long-term.

Below, we’ve mapped out how to tell if your pet is overweight, the dangers of pet obesity, and what to do if your pet is obese, in order to help you keep your pet healthy and happy.


How to Tell if Your Pet is Obese or Overweight

While we recommend taking your pet to the vet at least twice a year to get a professional’s opinion on their weight, here are some ways to check on your pet’s weight at home.

Pet Obesity - Body Mass Index

To see if your cat is overweight, there are 4 areas you should look out for: their ribs, stomach, spine, and waist. When checking your cat’s ribs, run your hands along your cat’s side. If you can easily feel their ribs along with a little covering of fat, your cat is most likely a healthy weight. If you can’t easily feel the ribs, it’s possible your cat is overweight. Checking the abdomen is a visual test. If you look at your cat from the side and notice a layer of low-hanging fat, that could be a sign that your cat is overweight. When checking the spine, run your hands across your cat’s back. If you can’t easily feel the bones, your cat may be overweight. Finally, look at your cat from above. If you can’t clearly see their waist, and they’re more oval than hourglass shaped, your cat may be overweight.

Pet Obesity - Physical Evaluation

When checking to see if your dog is overweight, you will be looking for many of the same things. If it’s difficult to feel your dog’s ribs because they are covered in a thick layer of fat, then it’s likely that your dog is overweight. When looking at your dog from the side, their stomach should appear to be tucked in right before the hind legs rather than hanging down. Some overweight dogs will also have fat deposits that hang between their front legs.

Pet Obesity

Why Your Pet’s Weight is Important to Their Health

Just like in humans, obesity in pets may shorten their lifespan, and can lead to other life threatening diseases or ailments. For instance, obesity commonly leads to many types of cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension in dogs. Obese cats are no exception. They are at a higher risk for many diseases such as diabetes, liver disease, arthritis, urinary problems, and skin problems. Like obese dogs, overweight cats also experience a decreased quality of life and an increased likelihood of cancer. Being overweight will shorten your pet’s life, likely by years, and dramatically decrease their quality of life. Clearly, for both you and your pet,  it’s not worth it if your pet is overweight to let them continue on that way.


How to Help Your Pet Lose Weight

Also like humans, there are two key factors to look at when helping your pet lose weight: exercise, and diet. Exercise or play can help your pet lose weight by burning extra calories. Take walks with your dog once or twice a day, play fetch, take them to the dog park, or go for a run in your neighborhood. For cats, a great way to help them stay active is with a simple laser pointer or other toy. You’ll have them running around the house to pounce in no time! However, it’s important to consult your veterinarian before starting any type of exercise regimen for your pet. If your pet is “out of shape” (literally!), then it is important to ease them back into an exercise routine so they don’t overexert themselves.

Secondly, your pet’s diet plays a huge role in their weight. Consider buying food and treats with a lower concentration of fat, as this will essentially act the same way as a diet does and should help your pet lose weight. Yes, you can find these foods at any major pet food store or at or! Remember that if you shop on Amazon, shop at Smile.Amazon.Com and make Friends of Miami Animals Foundation your charity of choice to support homeless pets in Miami-Dade County with every purchase. Also, no matter what type of food you are giving your pet, it’s better not to free feed. “Free feeding” is when you leave a bowl of food out all day for your pet, filling it at random times. Keep your pet’s feeding schedule to specific times of the day, twice a day.

Finally – you know what we’re about to say –do not give human food to pets, except for very rare and special occasions, even if your pet is already a healthy weight. Not only does feeding your pet human food greatly increase their chances of becoming obese, it can present serious health issues and also teaches them behaviors such as begging and stealing food, which of course you do not want to see in your pet.  If you absolutely cannot resist treating your pet, instead of fatty or carb-heavy food such as bread, cheese, or peanut butter, try feeding your dog one of these healthy fruits or veggies instead: apples, carrots, peas, green beans, bananas, sweet potatoes, or oranges.

Dogs and Kids: How to Take Action and Ensure Their Safety

Did you know that 77% of dog bites come from a family or friend’s dog? When most people think about dog bites, they imagine the bites are from a stray or a vicious dog, while this is not at all the reality. While proper training is highly important for dogs of all ages and sizes, and owners must be aware of their own dog’s vulnerabilities, triggers, and behavioral issues, good behavior goes both ways, especially when children are involved


Even the most docile of pets will bite if provoked in the wrong way by a child.


So, how can we ensure this is not an issue and keep our kids and pets safe? Here are a few ways you can help keep both your kids and your dog safe and make animal-child relationships and interactions more positive.


How Bites Occur

Most people believe that dog bites happen out of nowhere. However, this has been proven by scientists and researchers to be a rare exception. The way these pet interactions occur –in this case, with a child–can play a critical role in keeping everyone safe.  Even if your family does not have a dog, chances are your child will come into contact with a dog and having a basic understanding of why dog bites occur is crucial to preventing them from happening. 


What dog bites typically boil down to is simple:  Bites usually happen when there is a miscommunication between the child and the dog.

Ready to Attack - FoMA Pets

The Dog’s Mind

Dogs, like all pets, are animals. Although they may look cute and cuddly on the outside, they are still primal creatures when put in situations they are not comfortable in. Children often run up to a dog because of its inviting nature, but many are not yet able to read dog body language properly and there’s miscommunication. For example, dogs baring their teeth, lowering their growl, and showing a stiff posture can equal trouble for an unknowing, friendly and enthusiastic toddler. 


Active supervision is always required when pets and children are together, and we should never leave children alone and unsupervised with a dog or any other animal. 


Second, it is imperative to educate children about interacting with pets and making sure that they are respectful, gentle, and know the rules of engagement.


Preventing a Disaster by Teaching Children

If you are a new dog owner or parent and don’t know where to start when it comes to teaching your children about interacting with dogs, here are 10 rules that can lower the risk of bites when encountering a dog:


  1. Always ask the owner first if it is OK to approach and/or pet the dog
  2. Let the dog see and sniff your child before allowing your child to pet it, so that the dog can establish that the child is not a threat
  3. Never let your child run away from the dog–this invites the dog to chase after the child and may also ignite a dog’s prey drive
  4. If an unfamiliar dog approaches your child, teach them to stand still or back away slowly, without making eye contact
  5. Never let your child squeeze a dog, jump on a dog, or try to climb on top of them
  6. Never let your child pull a dog’s ears, tail, or scream or make loud noises at them
  7. Don’t let your child bother dogs when they’re eating or sleeping
  8. Don’t let your child take toys  or treats away from dogs, or play tug of war with them
  9. Don’t let your child feed dogs treats with their fingers; teach them to put the treat in the palm of your hand and offer the treat to the dog with an open palm
  10. Lastly, never let your child approach a dog so as to  back the pet into a corner or crowd it against a wall

When to Get a Trainer for Your Dog

If you are a dog owner, and realize that your dog is showing anxious or aggressive behaviors towards your child or other children, it’s time to get professional help.   A certified dog trainer can assess what behaviors your pet is exhibiting and how the child or children interact with the dog and help address these issues  to correct the behaviors before they escalate to a bite.


Don’t know where to start? If you’re unsure of where to take your dog for training, you can always ask your dog’s veterinarian and make sure the trainer has the professional qualifications  required to do their job.   You can also take the opportunity to have your pet checked by your vet for any underlying medical issues that might be causing your pet to behave with anxiety or aggression.  Even if training seems expensive, being a responsible dog owner will save you in the long run.  Some dog bite incidents can be serious, not to mention expensive if there is a lawsuit involved. It is so much better to be safe than sorry!

Trained Dog - FoMA Pets

Spread the Word

Overall, dog bites in children rarely occur out of the blue. Teaching your child how to properly approach a dog and how to communicate with the dog throughout the entire interaction is imperative for their safety and that of the animal. By following the 10 preventive rules correctly, you can eliminate or reduce the risk of having a bite incident.  The goal is to ensure your dog always feels safe around your kids, and that your kids are always safe around all dogs.


It’s so important to spread the word about keeping kids and pets safe and we can all do our part.   Too often dogs are put at risk for bites that were unnecessarily provoked and which can end up costing them their lives. Share the knowledge and educate others about how they can help protect their children and prevent dog bites. Everyone will be happier for it!

How animal shelters are adapting to life with COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has forever changed our lives and we’re already seeing effects of this everywhere.  We are all figuring out how to continue living our lives while maintaining safe social distancing and living some of our lives digitally. Animal shelters are no different in this regard. So, how are animal shelters adjusting to the coronavirus?


  1.     Taking their events online

The Miami-Dade Services (“MDAS”) and Friends of Miami Animals Foundation (“FoMA”) got creative in early April and took to weekly Facebook Live to host Virtual Adoption Thursday. These events allow people the opportunity to virtually meet the shelter’s pets while maintaining social distancing. So far, nearly 75% of the pets featured have been adopted and found their forever homes! 

Online Animal Zoom - FoMA Pets

  1.     Changing the processes involved in visiting shelters

In the past, shelters could be filled with people searching for their new furry family member. Today, MDAS and other shelters are enforcing limits on how many people can enter and be in a room together at any time, emphasizing the necessity of social distancing.  Additionally, hand sanitizer is a must and shelters now require visitors to wear masks at all times during their visit. At Miami-Dade Animal Services, our County’s only open-admission shelter, the process of fostering a pet is moving digitally, too. Instead of a training course in person to prepare, MDAS now conducts one-on-one training sessions with only one person in the household taking part in the training session, with sessions staggered to maintain safe social distancing.


  1.     Running out of pets

A small piece of happy news out of everything going on in the world is that we’re seeing the importance of pets in people’s lives. While people are self-isolating in their homes and most of the country has received stay-at-home orders, many are turning to animal shelters to find a companion for their alone time. A shelter in Chicago recently ran out of adoptable pets for the first time in its existence and shelters all over the country are seeing major rises in the number of both adoptions and fosters. Across the country, shelters are being emptied out or left with a far more manageable number of animals to take care of but we keep in mind that many pets are in foster care and may be returning to the shelter so we continue to promote adoption as the only option even while pets are in foster care.

  Sleepy Retriever - FoMA Pets

Despite all the steps that shelters and advocates are taking and the positives that come with them, things are challenging in the world of animal shelters in the age of COVID-19.  With so much need in the community and less traffic to the shelters day-to-day, they are receiving less attention and less in donations. Employees and others are working hard to ensure the health and safety of pets and people alike, but shelters are running out of resources to do this important job. While giving your time is always appreciated in normal times, we are in extraordinary and unprecedented times. Donating to a shelter’s wish list ensures that shelters and pets receive items that they need and can use in their life-saving work. Contact your local shelter to find out ways that you can help them during this time. Or, visit and make FoMA your charity of choice while shopping!


5 Ways to Help Miami’s Homeless Pets During COVID-19

We watched as China, then Italy, then the rest of Europe has grappled with the novel Coronavirus, aka COVID-19. Now a global pandemic, the virus has made its way into our home county and has affected each of us in one way or another. During this time, we need to draw together to protect the most vulnerable among us—and that includes the many of homeless pets who live in Miami-Dade.

Special Care for the Homeless - FoMA Pets

Our open-intake county shelter has been forced to change their hours of operation and operating procedures, like many other organizations; this means that adoption events have been cancelled, and there are fewer adopters and volunteers coming in to help with the socialization of pets. Yet animals are still arriving on their doorstep daily, either found as strays, confiscated in cruelty or neglect cases, or surrendered by owners. As a community, we must help these innocent souls who will suffer unnecessarily if we don’t step up.

Here’s what you can do:

Foster a Dog or Cat

Right now, the county is doing one-on-one foster trainings in a sanitized, conscious setting for individuals and families who want to foster a shelter pet. You can even apply to foster from the comfort of your couch, right here on our website! Use your extra time and energy during social distancing to care for an animal in need. Plus, a pet can provide companionship, physical touch, stress relief, and mental stimulation during this difficult time.

Online Research - FoMA Pets

Host a Social Media Fundraiser

With many people out of work and the economy slowing down, non-profits will no doubt take a hit in fundraising this year. Facebook has made it easy to create a fundraiser for your favorite animal non-profit and share it with all of your friends. You can select FoMA (Friends of Miami Animals Foundation, Inc.) or a rescue that you trust.  You can use the money you are saving on not eating out, deferred travel, and other activities to help save and improve the lives of our homeless pets! The funds will be used to provide supplies to our shelter’s pets during this time.

Social Media Fundraisers - FoMA Pets

Send Supplies to the Shelter

Miami Dade Animal Services pets have needs that don’t stop during the Covid-19 pandemic. We’ve created a wish list of the most urgent needs of the shelter on Amazon, so you can click the link and purchase any item you choose. Some are only a few dollars, and every item makes a difference! Once you purchase the item from this Amazon wish list, it will be sent directly to the shelter, so you can #StaySafe and #StayHome while providing for our homeless dogs and cats from afar. Even better—shop at and select FoMA as your charity of choice to give back to our foundation with every purchase. Here is the wish list:

Supplies Donation - FoMA Pets

Adopt a Dog or Cat Virtually

What’s better than online shopping while sheltering-in-place? Online adopting! Even if you can’t go to the shelter or to an adoption event to find your furever best friend, or the next four-legged addition to your family, you can browse dogs and cats at Miami-Dade Animal Services completely online here: Once you find the dog or cat of your dreams, you can fill out an adoption application on our website, and then we will connect you with an adoption counselor at Miami-Dade Animal Services to arrange your meet-and-greet and pickup in a health and safety compliant manner. Now is a great time to introduce a new member of your family to your crew: with added time at home, your new pet will have a better adjustment period and the “getting to know you” phase can be accelerated. You’ll also have more time at home to train your dog as well.

Online Research - FoMA Pets

Keep Yourself and Your Pets Safe

If you are already a pet owner, there are certain precautions you need to take in order to keep your pets safe and healthy during the social distancing time period. Make sure that you have reviewed the below checklist with the other members of your family and that you have plans in place should the worst happen:

  • Contact your vet and get an update on their schedule so you know when they are open if you need to call or take your pet in
  • Refrain from letting others touch your pets; there is not enough evidence to yet determine whether a pet can contract COVID-19, but we do know that pets can spread the disease when petted by an infected person through pet-to-human contact
  • Make sure you have several weeks of supplies on hand for your pets, including food, wee-wee pads, and especially medications
  • Try to keep your normal routine as similar as possible despite being home all day, so that your pet does not have anxiety about your schedule change when you return to work: Keep walk times, feeding times, etc. the same
  • Make sure you have an emergency contact who can take your pets or help you care for them in the event that you contract COVID-19 and need to be quarantined

It goes without saying that this is no time to surrender your pet to Miami Dade Animal Services or any other shelter.   Everyone in animal welfare is urging pet owners to make plans for any eventuality so they may keep their pets in their homes and families and in their care.

We know this is a scary time for all of us, but we also know the strength of our community and that if we come together, we will be stronger than ever. Let’s make sure our animals are not forgotten during this difficult time.

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.

Watch this video to learn more about FoMA’s work and donate to the cause at