Category Archives: Community

National Mutt Day

Looking for a New Dog? Adopt, Don't Shop!

According to the ASPCA, roughly 3.9 million dogs enter animal shelters each year. Of the 3.9 million, 1.2 million are unfortunately euthanized for various reasons; be it behavioral or shelter overcrowding. It is these kinds of statistics that help reinforce my belief of adopt, don’t shop! July 31st is National mixed breed day, otherwise known as National Mutt Day! This day is celebrated and embraced across the country to raise awareness for the millions of mixed breed canines waiting in shelters for their forever homes.

Mutts can make great pets. Generally they are healthier, lifespan is longer, and they tend to be better behaved. There are also advantages to adopting from shelters. Typically shelters make sure each dog that gets adopted leaves microchipped, is surgically altered, has been tested for heartworm and lyme disease, and is vaccinated. I have never had a purebred dog, nor will I ever strive to. There is something quirky about mixed breeds that makes them so uniquely them.

My husband and I adopted Shelby right before Christmas this past year. When I first brought her in to Dr. Weeks she said to me “she’s cute, but what is she?” My response at the time was I have no idea, maybe lab and basset, but no matter what, I love her all the same. Shelby looks like a lab, but has a long body, shorter legs and is very deep chested. She is the silliest, yet sweetest dog I’ve ever had.

With my veterinary background, I know certain breeds are pre-disposed to certain health conditions, plus I was very curious to know what she was mixed with. To become aware and better prepared of what to expect behaviorally and medically with Shelby, I had her DNA tested. Mars Veterinary is the company I used to get this information I was seeking. The test was extremely thorough and detailed the following:

  • Shelby’s unique genetic signature
  • Ancestry
  • Breed
  • Breed breakdown: Analysis of each breed
  • Health
    • Drug sensitivity
    • Exercise-Induced Collapse
    • Adult weight
    • Personality traits

Knowing all of this information has better informed me as the pet owner of my mixed breed so I can provide the best care possible during her life with my husband and I. I was so satisfied with the results, I had my other dog Hunter tested as well.

Whether a dog is purebred or mixed, adopting from shelters literally saves an animal’s life. And with DNA testing now as an option, there is a way to know what to expect behaviorally and medically to better prepare oneself later on down the road with their beloved mixed breed.

Celebrate Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat-Month!

Did you know that June is officially Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month? In honor of such a wonderful cause, we would like to highlight a few local shelters and their adoptable cats! If you’re like me and would love to participate in this cause but are currently unable to open up your home to a new addition, do not fret! We will also provide ways in which you can volunteer at these shelters and help these cats find their forever homes!

Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter

Located at 5051 Letterkenny Road West in Chambersburg, PA, the Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter (CVAS) is currently running a HEART Cat Adoption Campaign to help its members find their forever homes. Kittens that are six months of age or younger are adopt one and take a second kitten home for no additional adoption fee! Adoption fees for cats that are older than six months of age are by donation! Each adoption fee includes:

  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchip
  • Dewormer
  • Flea and ear mite treatment
  • Feline leukemia and AIDS testing
  • Core vaccinations
  • Collar and ID tag
  • Cat carrier
  • Complimentary wellness exam at participating veterinarian practices (We participate at all three locations!)

If you are interested in adopting a “fur baby” from the CVAS, you can view the shelter’s adoptable pets at Petfinder. Please keep in mind that an adoption application must be completed for serious inquiries and can be completed online here.

If you are interested in volunteering your time at the CVAS, you can view the shelter’s current opportunities here.

Antietam Humane Society

Located at 8513 Lyons Road in Waynesboro, PA, the Antietam Humane Society has plenty of adorable cats looking to find their forever homes! Adoption fees for kittens aged younger than seven months are $79.50 per kitten; adoption fees for cats seven months of age and older are by donation! Each adoption fee includes the following services:

  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchip
  • Dewormer
  • Flea and tick treatment
  • Core vaccinations
  • Complimentary wellness exam with participating local veterinarian

If you are interested in adopting a kitten or cat from the Antietam Humane Society, the shelter’s adoptable pets can be found online at Petfinder. Please keep in mind that an adoption application must be completed for serious inquiries. You can print off and complete this application by clicking here.

If you are interested in volunteering your time at the Antietam Humane Society, you can view the shelter’s current opportunities and needs here.

Adams County SPCA

Located at 11 Goldenville Road in Gettysburg, PA, the Adams County SPCA also houses a lot of kittens and cats looking to be adopted! Adoption fees for cats aged six months and older are $65 per cat. Adoption fees for kittens aged younger than six months are also $65 per kitten; however, a $40 spay/neuter refundable deposit is required as the kitten will be called back in for the spay/neuter procedure. The Adams County SPCA also offers a 10% discount on adoption fees for those individuals with a military or police ID! The shelter’s adoption fee includes the following services for each cat/kitten:

  • Spay/neuter
  • Microchip
  • Deworming
  • Flea and tick treatment
  • Core vaccinations
  • Feline leukemia and AIDS testing

If you are interested in adopting from the Adams County SPCA, you can view the shelter’s adoptable cats and kittens online here. Please keep in mind that an adoption application must be completed for serious inquires and can be found online here.

If you are interested in volunteering your time at the Adams County SPCA, you can view the shelter’s current opportunities by clicking here.

In summary, our local shelters are housing many cats of all ages, sizes, and colors looking for their forever homes! Whether you are able to open up your home to a new addition or are able to volunteer your time, make sure to celebrate Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month in any way you can before June is over!

Permanent Pet Identification

April 23rd is National Lost Dog Awareness Day. Despite our best attempts, sometimes our animals can get lost for one reason or another. Luckily there are many online sites and shelters to look for our lost companions, but sometimes that just may not be enough. Veterinary professionals can provide tattooing for identification, but in time tattoos fade. Fortunately, there is a product that provides permanent identification on a pet. This identification, called a microchip, greatly increases an animal’s chances of reuniting with their owners.

A microchip is a small piece of digital equipment that contains a unique number which traces to an owner’s full contact information. The actual chip, the size of a grain of rice, is commonly implanted under the pet’s skin in between the shoulder blades via a 20 gauge needle. Following implantation, the chip is registered with all of the owners contact information – including name, address, and telephone number. Microchipping is most commonly performed during routine spays and neuters under anesthetic, but with prior numbing agents, can be placed during regular office visits.

If a microchipped and registered pet has gone missing, most veterinary facilities, humane societies and shelters are equipped with a special scanning device that will detect if a pet is microchipped. In addition to aiding in the likelihood of reuniting pets with their owners, dogs that are microchipped are eligible for a lifetime license in the state of Pennsylvania, as long as documentation is provided when applying. This paperwork is available through your local county courthouse, various local businesses, as well as at our office.

To learn more about microchipping, and to set up an appointment, please contact our office today!

National Walk Your Dog Day


February 22nd is National Walk Your Dog Day. I’m not sure how this day came to be, but it’s so easy to participate, and it’s beneficial for both you and your pet! The act of walking helps us with weight control, aids in regulating stress levels, and has been known to decrease our blood pressure. Walking benefits animals in a similar manner, by helping to control weight, maintain activity levels, and support a healthy digestive system. In addition to helping with a healthy lifestyle for us and our dogs, there are several other great advantages as well.

Walking together with your pet can actually help to improve your bond with your dog, as well as increase social interaction. When walking, chances are you and your dog will meet new people, and maybe even new dogs. This helps with the dog’s socialization skills to make them (and you!) a better functioning member of society. In addition, walking can help to relieve destructive behaviors by combating boredom. With the many benefits walking has on us and our dogs, our strolls with our pets can actually assist local shelters as well.


Living in this technologically savvy era, there has been a mobile phone application developed to raise money for animal organizations while walking with your dog. Wooftrax is a free app that can be downloaded on the iPhone or Android phone that allows people to earn money for an animal organization of their choice. Set-up is very simple. In order to begin using the app, Wooftrax asks for a name and email address, and the organization the person wishes to walk for. The more “active” walkers, meaning, the more people who log in and walk on a weekly basis, the higher the donation for the organization.

To use Wooftrax, a person doesn’t necessarily need to have a dog to raise funds. There is an option to “walk for Cassie” upon registration. Whether it’s a quick stroll around the neighborhood, or a hike through the south central Pennsylvanian Appalachian Mountains, you could be benefitting the animal organization of your choice, while implementing a healthy lifestyle for you and your dog! To learn more about this cutting edge app, visit their website at, or search for Wooftrax in your app store.

Happy walking!

Mac and Me: An Adoption Story

By Kasey Karlin

When it happens, you feel it. You know when you are ready to open your heart to a new dog. And there is nothing more rewarding than rescuing from a shelter. Silly mutts, regal purebreds, bouncing puppies, and grey-haired senior dogs all fall victim to bad situations and need someone like us to help them.

IMG_5379I knew I was ready to adopt, I felt it. I had lost my American Staffordshire Terrier the previous year and I cried every time I thought about it (and still do). Nothing prepares you for that kind of loss, and nothing completely heals you, but I was ready to move forward. I volunteered at the local SPCA occasionally and got my dose of cuteness when I could. One day, I went to the shelter to play with a dog that I had seen on the website, a Chihuahua name Flossy, with the intention of bringing her home with me.  I took her outside, we ran around, she snuggled on my lap, she was a great dog! She had these giant ears and a tongue that went the whole way up your nose, but after 15 minutes of licking and bouncing around, I knew we weren’t meant to be, there just wasn’t a spark.

As I took her back inside, I looked around at the other dogs. A couple boxers had surgery and weren’t allowed to come out and play. A family with two younger boys had their eyes set on an elderly basset hound. I had seemingly no one else to play with! I was a little heartbroken about Flossy not being my soul mate.  As I went to leave, I saw a little black dog in the last kennel, the paper on the door said his name was Mac, a 6 year old French Bulldog/Boston Terrier mix who came in as a stray. His little smushed nose and bug eyes were… charming. I took him out to the play area, not expecting much more than a little exercise.

Mac was not very interested in me at first. Tennis ball? Nope. Pool full of water? No thanks. There were smells and sounds more exciting than what I had to offer.  After a couple minutes of peeing on every upright object, he seemed to notice I was there. I coerced him to sit on the bench with me, he laid back and accepted some chin scratches.  He had a very pronounced under bite that showed 5 little “toofies”, a distinguishing grey beard, and a belly to be rubbed. I felt that spark with this little old dog. After all the necessary paperwork and landlord approvals, that little old dog came home with me. He had his head out the window the whole way home, and has ever since.

IMG_5380I just celebrated Mac’s 1 year Adopt-iversary with a car ride through the country, a walk in the woods, a run in the dog park, and even had special doggy ice cream cake! (Peanut butter flavored, I may have tried it…) I reflected a lot on the past year of having him in my life that day. We have had ups and downs, no doubt, but he has taught me a lot of patience. He has been my hiking buddy, lap-warmer, biscuit eater, ball (and squirrel) chaser, and one of my best friends.

When it is time to open up your home to a new pet, dog or cat, please consider your local shelters. You never know what treasures are waiting behind the cage door!

Adams County SPCA Loyalty Walk

A few weeks ago Tasha, our reception supervisor, attended the Adams County SPCA Loyalty Walk as a part of her charitable giving day.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

GOPR0041The Adams County SPCA held its 26th annual Loyalty Walk on April 16th at the Oakside Community Park in Biglerville, PA.  The Loyalty Walk is a pledge walk for people and their canine friends, and was originally formed to honor the faithful devoted companions who fought alongside the soldiers in the Civil War.

The most infamous of service dogs was Sallie the war dog who belonged to the 11th Pennsylvania Infantry. The dedicated Staffordshire Bull Terrier was known to provide companionship to the Infantry, and unsurmountable loyalty to her fallen comrades, as she stood over the wounded and departed.

Today, the Loyalty Walk represents the undying devotion and camaraderie our four legged friends provide to us.  Participants of the walk collected donations prior to the event.  Those who collected over $50 were given a Loyalty Walk t-shirt to commemorate the event.  Following registration, there were doggy contests, and of course, the walk with our pooches.



Veterinary Discount for Military Personnel

Veterinary Discount for Military Personnel

We are now offering a 10% discount to all United States military members to thank you for your service to our country.

This includes active, inactive and retired members who provide a valid military ID. Qualifying military members and their spouses (spouses must bring a copy of their spouses military ID) will receive a 10% discount on services rendered (this excludes products). This discount will begin on Memorial Day but will be ongoing with no end date.


Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants For Pets

Toxic and Non-Toxic Plants For Pets

Now that the weather is getting nicer, you may be thinking about your garden. This list, complied by the ASPCA, contains plants that have been reported as having systemic effects on animals and/or intense effects on the gastrointestinal tract. Please note that the information contained in our plant lists is not meant to be all-inclusive, but rather a compilation of the most frequently encountered plants. If you think that your animal is ill or may have ingested a poisonous substance, contact us.

AVMA Tools for K-12 Educators

AVMA Tools for K-12 Educators

The AVMA recognizes the important role of teachers, counselors, parents, and advisors in guiding the future careers of today’s students. With a growing need for trained veterinarians to protect animal and human health, AVMA has created materials to help you cultivate your students’ interest in science and technology.

The AVMA educational products and activities are targeted to various grade levels and most can be easily downloaded for use in the classroom. For materials available upon request, Contact the AVMA, call 847-285-6655 or go to:

Schedule Pet Play Dates

Dog-friendly canines benefit from play dates. Consider arranging play dates with your dog’s favorite friends, which can be done right in your backyard or at pet-friendly parks. Even when the weather outside isn’t the most inviting, dog parks can give your dog both off-leash exercise and interaction with other canines. Doggy daycares are another way to give your dog interaction while you’re away from home or when you just need a break.