Grab your Compassion Bandana at Blueberry Pet & Support SPCA International

SPCA International is proud to announce our new partnership with Blueberry Pet; a brand created for pet lovers by pet lovers. Blueberry Pet offers pet accessories featuring charming designs that celebrate the partnership between animals and humans. Thanks to their love of furry friends across the globe, Blueberry Pet is dedicated to giving back a portion of their profits to the animal care community.

SPCAI and Blueberry Pet recently teamed up to create the Compassion set, featuring a specially designed pattern with a brightly colored sun, leaves, and the word “Compassion.” The set includes a bandana, a classic scrunchie and a bow scrunchie, letting you team up with your pet to spread compassion everywhere.

In an effort to bring the global community together, the set showcases the word compassion in 12 different languages including: English, French, Spanish, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tibetan, and Malay.

The design, partly inspired by the global pandemic, aims to spread the message that homeless animals around the world deserve love and a better life. In that spirit, Blueberry Pet is donating a portion of proceeds from every Compassion set sold to SPCA International.

Together we share the same vision; to improve the welfare of street animals, educate the public on the importance of adoption, and to ultimately end animal cruelty. Simply put we could not do the work we do —day in, day out to help animals across the world — without your support! We appreciate your compassion for animals.

Keeping Wild Animals Safe

The Tiger King phenomenon has brought the plight of big cats in captivity to the forefront of many people’s minds, but it is hard to know how to help. Even as the Big Cat Public Safety act makes its way through the legislative process, there are a few things that private citizens can do to contribute.

Don’t visit roadside zoos – Roadside zoos of any type have little oversight and though many are well-intentioned, they often don’t adhere to the highest standards in animal care. By spending our dollars elsewhere, animal welfare conscious consumers can help reduce the demand for these types of animal encounters.

Follow the rules at national and state parks – “Don’t feed the animals” and “stay in your vehicle” signs are there for a reason. Each year people and animals are hurt because people get too close to wild animals. If you are visiting animals in their natural habitat, follow the guidance of authorities to keep your animal encounters safe.

Be conscious of chance animal encounters – With many people staying home amidst COVID-19, more animals are venturing into parks and other public spaces. If you see a wild animal while you are out enjoying nature, give them plenty of space. The less we interact with them, the longer they are likely to stay!

Access wildlife cameras – There are some great free wildlife cameras offered by conservation and animal welfare groups. A quick google search will turn up cameras that can take you around the world from the comfort of your home! There is truly something for everyone with different cameras focusing on sea creatures, birds and mammals.

Operation Military Pets Program Keeps Military Families Whole

Last month, SPCA International celebrated the milestone of 2,000 Operation Military Pets grants awarded! This is so exciting because each of those grants represents a family that remained whole amidst a move to their next assignment.

We hear time and time again from military families about how important this program is. They tell us the high costs of pet shipping put them in a terribly difficult situation. Many families face a bill of thousands of dollars to bring their furry family members to their next duty station. They often consider running up credit cards, but others simply can’t and have to consider rehoming their pets.

One military family moving from Hawaii to the East Coast recently considered fostering their beloved yellow Labs until they could afford thousands of dollars in shipping costs. They were moving sooner than expected and were stretched financially from the high cost of living in Hawaii.

Their Labs, Thor and Loki, aren’t related by blood, but they act just like brothers. The family adopted Thor through a rescue group when he was a year old and later rescued Loki as a pup from a family who couldn’t keep him because their baby had severe allergies.

After five years with Thor and two years with Loki, they were determined to keep the Labs with their family. This is what they told us in their application, “They are our children’s companions, tagging along with them from room to room, sleeping with them at night. They are such loving boys and we would be devastated to ever separate from them. I won’t allow that to happen. I’ll find a way.”

COVID-19 flight reductions and summer heat embargoes increased shipping costs for these two boys who already had limited flight options because of their crate sizes. Thankfully, they have now made it to their new home with their loving family.

Through Operation Military Pets, SPCA International will continue to lessen the burden on military families who already sacrifice so much for our country.  Thank you to everyone who has donated to SPCA International’s programs in support of soldiers and their pets. You can learn more about Operation Military Pets here.

SPCA International Gives 2,000 Grants for Military Pet Transport

With the 2,000th grant awarded for military pet transport, SPCA International is honored to continue supporting troops through the Operation Military Pets program.

Operation Military Pets helps soldiers transport their pets to new duty stations in the U.S. and abroad. Unfortunately, the military doesn’t pay for pet relocation and families are burdened with the high cost of pet shipping. Overseas destinations can be extremely expensive, sometimes costing thousands of dollars per animal. SPCA International is proud to ease this financial burden for our soldiers. Here are some photos and messages from just a few of the soldiers we have supported recently.

SPCA International

Thank you very much for the assistance throughout this process. I have received the grant and it is very appreciated. Moving from overseas back home during COVID proved to be much harder and more expensive than anything we have dealt with before. This money is a huge help and we are very grateful for it, thank you again. The dogs made the trip with no issues and are loving their new home here in Rhode Island thanks to your assistance. – Captain Wertz U.S. Army


SPCA International

SPCA International helped me cover some of the cost of shipping my Beagle/Pug mix from Guam to Virginia. From the beginning of the application, to phase 2 and when I was finally approved of funds, the staff at SPCA were extremely polite, kind and understanding of my personal situation. They kept me informed of my status and made me feel important with regards to shipping my dog. […] Me and my dog are forever grateful for their help. – Lieutenant Junior Grade Ewings, U.S. Navy


SPCA International

I am an active duty servicemember, and hurting financially, since I have to transport my dog from overseas back to United States due to military orders. This organization reviewed my situation and helped me cover some of the cost associated with pet transport (not funded by military). They are a lifesaver! Helping military families ease financial burden, and in keeping their furbabies. Thank you SPCA! – Petty officer second class Go, U.S. Navy


SPCA International

We are forever grateful for your organization and we couldn’t have asked for a better experience! You all helped us from going into major debt getting our boys from the United States to the UK, especially after the flight prices doubled due to the pandemic. […] Thank you so much for all you do!! – Staff Sergeant Cole, U.S. Army

Shelter Struggles as COVID-19 Continues

Nepal has been locked down for over 105 days and the situation in the country is dire. Sneha’s Care is doing everything possible to keep feeding over 2,000 street animals and providing medical care and shelter for over 200 animals most in need, but there are more hungry and suffering animals than ever before. Their resources are dwindling as costs continue to rise.  

Shelter and rescue groups around the world are in similar situations. That’s why every donation to SPCA International continues to be vitally important. As an organization, we exist to bring the most pressing animal welfare needs to the attention of those who care about animals and distribute donations to the groups saving animals’ lives.

Sneha’s Care isn’t an exact representation of every rescue group, but their multi-faceted struggle due to COVID-19 represents the situation of so many other groups during this difficult time. Sneha’s Care is navigating the following factors:

  • Tourism has halted in Nepal, closing restaurants and hotels. This means no leftover food for street animals and no donations of food or money from local restaurants and hotels.
  • Tourists used to feed street animals and without people tossing them food, animals are beginning to starve.
  • Food prices have doubled over the last three months and price gouging is rampant. Every dollar now buys half of what it did before COVID-19.
  • Sneha’s Care has an organic vegetable farm that supplements the animals’ diets and generates revenue for shelter operations. Due to heavy monsoon rains, all the vegetables were lost, leaving them without that source of revenue.
  • International volunteers are unable to travel to Nepal. They used to make up a huge portion of the manpower needed, so local staff have been hired to fill the gap.

Right now, Sneha, the founder of Sneha’s Care is reaching into her own pocket to keep the organization running. She simply can’t turn away hungry and suffering animals, but every day the need grows. Thanks to many generous donors, SPCA International was able to provide a grant to help Sneha’s Care continue operating.

 

You can help support even more rescue and shelter groups by donating to the Shelter Support Fund.

Beirut Disaster Response–SPCA International Partners Spring Into Action

SPCA International is supporting disaster response efforts in Beirut following the devastating explosion there. Our long-standing partner, Beirut for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (BETA) sprung into immediate action and we are proud to provide the funding and partnership they need to ensure animals are as safe as possible.

BETA staff and volunteers are taking a multipronged approach to ensure animals are safe and cared for in the wake of the port area explosion that killed hundreds of people and animals, injured thousands and caused incalculable damage to the city’s infrastructure.

  • Blast Zone Animal Searches BETA personnel have entered the blast zone several times (which is currently closed to the public) to search for surviving animals and strays or escaped pets that may have run into the area. Unfortunately, any stray dogs and cats in the core blast zone were killed immediately and turned to dust. As BETA locates animals, they will be quickly given the veterinary attention they need.
  • Blast Zone Perimeter Animal Care There is a group of 80-100 community dogs living on the streets near the blast zone that are typically cared for by neighborhood residents. These animals survived the initial blast, but they have lost their source of food, as homes and businesses damaged by the blast have been vacated. BETA is bringing food into the area for these dogs, treating them for fleas and ticks, and will be implementing a TNVR (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release) with the animals to make sure the stray population stays under control. 
  • Pet and Family Reunions An unknown number of family pets escaped and ran from their homes through windows broken by the blast. This often happens when natural or other disasters occur, and it takes time and coordination for scared animals to return home or be found and reunited. BETA is a well-known community organization and families are reaching out with descriptions of their pets to ask for BETA’s help in locating them. As BETA contacts hundreds of street animals, their team will be on the lookout for pets and will be working to coordinate reunions with families.

SPCA International is proud to commit a grant of $20,000 to help BETA in the wake of this tragedy. We know the explosion is an incredible challenge on top of COVID-19 and economic instability. We hope our grant will ease their burden in the days, weeks and months to come.  

If you would like to join us in supporting shelters in the wake of disasters like this one, please consider a donation to our Disaster Relief Fund.

Tahlequah the Orca: Motherhood Possible Again

Orca J-35, also known as Tahlequah, seen in 2014 off the coast of B.C., Canada. Photo Credit: Center for Whale Research.

In 2018, Tahlequah captivated the world when she carried her dead calf for 17 days over 1,000 miles. Her story brought focus to the plight of the 72 Orcas that live in the waters off the coast of Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Known as the Southern Resident Orcas and made up of three distinct pods, their population is at a 30 year low and is considered endangered by United States and Canadian authorities. When Tahlequah’s calf was born in 2018, it was the first live birth in her pod in three years. Unfortunately, the calf only lived for about a half an hour. Experts believe Tahlequah bonded with her calf even during this short time because the calf swam by her side.

Today, drone photos show evidence that Tahlequah is now expecting another calf. It is too soon to know when the calf should be born, but Orca pregnancies last up to 18 months, so we’ll all have to be patient. Scientists have also identified other Southern Resident Orcas who are pregnant, but they urge cautious optimism. Studies show that over 60% of past pregnancies have been unsuccessful.

Drone images of Tahlequah in September 2019 and July 2020 provide hope for a future calf. Photo Credit: NOAA

Low pregnancy rates, few live births and low calf survival rates are attributed to a shortage of the Chinook Salmon that comprise 80% of Orcas’ diet, noise population that disrupts echolocation of prey and chemical pollution. Experts are unanimous in asking fishers and others in boats to give plenty of space to any Orcas they may encounter. With an office in Seattle, SPCA International will be keeping tabs on Tahlequah and the progress of her pregnancy, as well as the overall situation of the Southern Resident Orcas.

If you are intrigued and interested in learning more, here are a few sites of organizations focused on the conservation of the Orcas.

Slaughterhouse Rescues

These pups were rescued from a slaughterhouse in China by SPCA International’s partner organization Plush Bear. Their team spotted a truck full of dogs leaving the local market and followed it to the slaughterhouse. Fortunately, they were able to rescue all of the dogs on the truck, as well as other dogs that were being kept in filthy holding pens.

The dogs were given immediate veterinary care, healthy food, a clean place to sleep and loving care. Most of them are still waiting to be adopted, but a few have already made it to their forever homes where they will be safe and cared for.

Poppy an old English sheepdog, now living a wonderful life in the U.K. with her new owner Sue and new siblings Rosie and Harry. She’s a bouncing ball of energy and seems unaffected by her time in China before Plush Bears Shelter saved her from death. She enjoys long daily walks by the seaside and has a penchant for chewing shoes

Luna a female Bassett hound rescued from slaughter by Plush Bears Shelter was brought to the United States by a breed-specific rescue who funded her transport costs and found her an exceptional new home where she is loved and adored.

Grace a Samoyed mix was flown over to the United States after being rescued from slaughter by Plush Bears Shelter. She now has a great new home in Florida with an endless supply of love from her new owner.

Tween Generously Donates to SPCA International

Lev isn’t a typical 12 year old. He’s making good use of his downtime during COVID-19 by 3-D printing custom dog tags, and he is donating 10% of his proceeds to SPCA International!

While stuck at home, Lev started thinking about how he could give back in some way to others. He wasn’t sure how, but he finally had a great idea after his dog Mojo lost his dog tag and Lev couldn’t go out to buy him a new one. He was worried about Mojo getting lost, so Lev used his 3-D printer to make a new dog tag. Then he had the idea to make pet identification tags for others and he founded “Thingz Custom” to launch his business.

Note: The phone number has been intentionally blurred for privacy.

Lev took his time researching animal welfare organizations and settled on SPCA International after learning about our work. Now, every purchase of one of Lev’s pet tags will provide a donation. Lev’s pet tags are made of plastic, so they are very light weight. He offers nine color options and they are very affordable at only $10. The best part is they are fully customizable. Check out Lev’s website at thingzcustom.com to order your pet tag today.

SPCA International is so thrilled to be partnering with such a compassionate young entrepreneur and philanthropist. Lev shares that his inspiration for founding Thingz Custom is because he cares about animals and wants to give back to an organization that makes a big impact on animal welfare.

Updates from Bushfire Response Down Under

So much has happened in the last few months, it is easy for the Australia bushfires to fade from our minds, but the animal rescuers in Australia continue their important work.

Thanks to many generous SPCA International supporters, we were able to respond quickly to help animal rescue organizations affected by the bushfires.

We are excited to share the progress of just a few of the grant recipients:

Wildlife Care WA Inc.

This organization is maintaining food and water stations for animals returning to scorched forests. These stations are critically important for animals because most food sources have been destroyed. They are also important because they help measure how many animals are returning to the area. Wildlife Care WA Inc. is using motion sensing wildlife cameras to monitor the animals and are thrilled to report many birds and some larger animals returning to the area. There is even a group of adolescent kangaroos that have banded together for safety and frequently visit the food and water stations. The next important item on the list at Wildlife Care WA Inc. is a trailer that will carry a water tank and other supplies for restocking the food and water stations.

Friends of the Western Ground Parrot

This unique organization is dedicated to saving the critically endangered Western Ground Parrot. Just a few years ago there were fewer than 150 of these birds in their last known habitat on the remote South Coast of Western Australia. This area has now been decimated by bushfires and the group is working to find out how many of these nearly extinct species are still alive. With the generosity of SPCA International supporters, we were able to provide funds to purchase solar powered acoustic recording units to capture the whistling teakettle-like songs of the ground parrots and estimate how many have survived.

Bluebush Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation

This organization rescues and rehabilitates young kangaroos that can’t live on their own in the wild. During and after the bushfires they rescued many joeys that were much too young to be on their own. Many of the joeys had hopped through ashes and burned their feet and tails. The grant provided by SPCA International helped with veterinary care, water access and fencing. These joeys will live on a huge reserve in a natural environment until their habitat has recovered and they are ready to be released into the wild.

None of this work would be possible without the support of so many kind and caring people who gave what they could during Australia’s moment of need. Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing even more updates from down under so you can see all the exciting bushfire recovery activities we are supporting in Australia.