Thursday, February 14, 2013

Senior Solution to Waggin' Wheel Woes

St. Tammany Humane Society’s transport program, Waggin’ Wheels, began about 3 years ago in response to an expressed desire by rescue groups in the Northeast to help ease the burden of overcrowded Southern shelters and rescues by taking in dogs that were in high demand and not near as common and overpopulated as here in Louisiana.  And so began a partnership with what is now 5 rescue groups (as well as a few additional breed specific rescues) that the St. Tammany Humane Society regularly transported dogs, most of which would otherwise have been euthanized at the kill shelters from which they were pulled. 

In 2012, Waggin’ Wheels transport program allowed for 140 more dogs to be saved through STHS.  The rescue groups do pay for the vetting of these dogs, but the cost of transporting 25 dogs in a cargo van to New Jersey is nothing to bark at.  As a non-profit, every penny that is earned goes back into the shelter and programs such as Waggin’ Wheels.  So when the money is there….well, then the money is there.  Right now, the money that is there for transport is very little and this has greatly affected the number of dogs we have been able to transport to our rescues up north. 

Abby Scorsone, a senior at Mandeville High School, is doing her senior project on pet overpopulation and when she became aware of the attenuation of the Waggin’ Wheels program to the detriment of the animals, she decided to do what she could to raise transport money for the dogs who need those ‘waggin’ wheels’ to roll them to safety. 

Here is Abby with little Pierre, a little Papillion who has been accepted by the rescue group ARF (Animal Rescue Front) in Groton, MA.  He is now awaiting transport.
The average cost of a transport to New Jersey is $1000.  Abby has raised $500 so far, and still needs another $500 to meet her goal and to see those dollar signs transform into 25 more dogs SAVED. 

Abby was at STHS recently to see off 4 transport dogs leaving for their new forever homes in Pennsylvania.  The transport of these dogs was made possible by their few number and generous volunteers who drove them on one leg of their journey.  And though Abby was happy to see them saved, she needs your help in transforming 4 dogs into 24 dogs.  Can you help?  $50 pays for the transport of one dog, but no donation is too small; every dollar helps! 

 If you would like to donate to STHS’s Waggin’ Wheels Program for Abby Scorsone, you can

·         Donate via our website ( and please put “Waggin’ Wheels for Abby” in the Donation Designation box

·         Mail donation to:
              St. Tammany Humane Society
             Waggin’ Wheels for Abby
             20384 Harrison Ave
             Covington, LA   70433

Thank you in advance for your generosity. 


Abby Scorsone, St. Tammany Humane Society, and the dogs who need you


Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Mr. Richards Second Chance

Mr. Richards, a 5 month old Basset mix, came to the Humane Society recently in hopes of entering our adoption program.  He seemed to be the picture of puppy health, until the shyly curious pup tried to stand up as tall as he could on a back leg that just didn’t look quite right.  Upon close examination, the vet suspected a once badly broken leg that never healed properly.  Hindering Mr. Richards’ walking and movement in many ways, as well as the probability of associated pain with the old injury, it was determined that the leg must be amputated. 
As many St. Tammany Humane Society supporters are aware, there are unfortunate times when the financial burden of taking in many animals with serious injuries force  us to go to the community for help.  This is why the St. Tammany Humane Society’s “Second Chance Fund” was created.  It enables us to take in those animals whose treatment or surgery we otherwise could not afford.  And so it is with young Mr. Richards, whose sad puppy eyes are simply irresistible.  
But this is not just a plea for help.  It is also the beginning of a story that promises to change not only Mr. Richards and those who generously give to make that much needed surgery possible, but also a young girl, high school senior Lana Monsour, who made a commitment to help Mr. Richard reach that goal.  Lana goes to Mandeville High School and is doing her Senior Project on Animal Abuse and Neglect.  She made several visits to the St. Tammany Humane Society and when she heard Mr. Richard’s story, vowed to do everything she could to help raise the $600 needed for his surgery. 

We here at the Humane Society want nothing more than to give everyone a glowing update very soon about Mr. Richards and perhaps even one of you is interested in giving this boy a wonderful forever home. 
If you would like to donate to Mr. Richard’s Second Chance Fund and recognize Lana Monsour for her efforts in raising money and awareness for this special pup, you can mail donation to:

St. Tammany Humane Society
Second Chance Fund/ Lana Monsour
20384 Harrison Ave
Covington, LA  70433

Or you can donate via our website ( and please note in the details box:  Second Chance Fund/Lana Monsour

By the simple act of helping a single puppy in need, Lana is doing much more than she realizes to stop animal abuse and neglect.  It starts with the power of one (you).  And we hope will end with a happy puppy and a young girl who reached her goal of helping one small puppy who cannot help himself.  Please give any amount you are able to help us reach our $600 goal.  Every dollar is appreciated.
Anyone interested in giving Mr. Richards a forever home can contact or call 985-892-7387. 

Friday, December 28, 2012

Heal a Heart - The Program Saving Lives in 2013

Heartworms…. the number one killer of dogs in Louisiana.  Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitos, hence the pervasive spread of this fatal disease in the South.  Is heartworm disease treatable?  Yes, but treatment is expensive and takes a heavy toll on the dogs being treated. Treatment must be followed by a lengthy period of rest and restriction of activity, adding another difficult dimension to the process of rehabilitating dogs with this dreaded disease.   

Because of the cost of treatment and the lack of space at the shelter following treatment, the St. Tammany Humane Society is very limited in our capacity to treat the many heartworm positive dogs that come to us as potential candidates for our adoption program.  We are forced to turn them away.  Many of the dogs in our transport program, Waggin’ Wheels, also suffer as a consequence of lack of funding to treat their condition. 
As Chris McLaughlin, with ARF (Animal Rescue Front) puts it, “These dogs are abandoned twice.  First, they are abandoned by their owners, and secondly turned away because of a disease they have no control over.” 
Chris became aware of the widespread heartworm problem in the South seven years ago when she came face to face with the victims of the insidious disease in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  She went back to Groton, Massachusetts with a sense of obligation to help these Southern outcasts if and when it was possible in the future.  And the future is now today. 
ARF received a grant entitled the “Heal a Heart Program” through Best Friends Animal Society which was designed to treat heartworm positive dogs in need.  ARF regularly rescues dogs from the South via transports on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, so their tie to the South and their efforts to help the homeless dogs here were already strongly in place.  But what Chris and ARF offered the dogs of the St. Tammany Humane Society and those of our transport program, Waggin’ Wheels, was more than we could have hoped for. 
ARF became aware through a local Hammond rescuer and transport coordinator Terrie Varnado (who works closely with STHS in rescuing and transport coordinating for Waggin’ Wheels) of the Southern rescues’ and the St. Tammany Humane Society’s lack of funding required to treat heartworm positive rescue dogs, resulting in the dogs either being turned away because of heartworm status, or going to rescues without being treated. This domino effect ends in rescues having to raise the money for expensive treatment; money which could easily be used to rescue a dozen more dogs if heartworm treatment were not an issue. 
So Chris asks, “How many transport dogs do you have at the Humane Society that need to be treated for heartworms?” 
“They’re paid for now.  Treat them.”
And so we were elated, grateful, laughing through tears.  What a blessing!  But this little happy tail wags even harder.
Chris then inquires, “How many dogs do you have in STHS’s adoption program that need to be treated?”
“Three.  That is all we can afford.”
“They’re paid for.  And ARF will pledge to treat 20 heartworm positive dogs in the first QUARTER of 2013 through the Heal a Heart Program.”

 ****** Take a moment******

To put things in proper perspective and to recognize the significance of this gift, this number is 7 TIMES the number of dogs that we can normally afford to treat for heartworms in this time span. 
ARF will also be working toward helping our Southern dogs in many more ways in the upcoming year.  They express the desire to see the day when no dog is turned away because of heartworm status……to end the days when these dogs are abandoned twice.  Stay tuned in to your local no-kill shelter, the St. Tammany Humane Society, for the exciting ways that you can help us and ARF achieve our goal of treating all heartworm positive dogs that otherwise would have the chance of finding their forever home. 
If you need a reminder of why this is such an important cause in the world of animal welfare, especially in our home state of Louisiana, then take a moment to meet Rebel.  Rebel spent three years tied to a tree by a heavy chain.  He was exposed to the elements of heat, cold, rain, fleas, ticks, and obviously….mosquitos.  Rebel was rescued by Terrie Varnado and brought to the St. Tammany Humane Society for care.  Labs4Rescue agreed to take him in and find an adopter.  The problem?  Rebel was heartworm positive and neither STHS nor Labs4Rescue had the funds to treat him.  Thanks to Chris McLaughlin (ARF) and the Heal a Heart Program through the Best Friends Animal Society, Rebel has been treated and is up for adoption. 
From Rebel and all of the staff at STHS:  “THANK YOU ARF AND HAPPY NEW YEAR!!”


Monday, December 3, 2012

Have Yourself a Maddie Little Christmas

In the past, when a certain piece of news found its way to the front headlines or a puppy’s tale  tugged at the heartstrings, we expected to read an in depth story regarding this special case.  But now in the world of short attention spans and a barrage of abbreviated information coming at us from all sides (Facebook, Twitter, etc), we must at times sacrifice substance for simplicity.  

And so we introduce you to a simple girl herself:  Madeline.  Madeline now holds the title of Longest Resident at the St. Tammany Humane Society.  She has been in the adoption program since she was a mere pup, though she has spent much of her life in the wonderful foster home of Kerrie and Jeff Bloom. 
Maddie was a mess when she first went home with Kerrie.  Frightened of her own shadow, but overly protective of the people close to her… took some time for her to acquire a comfortable level of confidence and equilibrium.  That was over a year ago, and Madeline has achieved….well….greatness.  She is smart, loyal, loving, and protective.  She still has insecure hiccups, and occasionally has a moment when her fear gets the better of her.  Unfortunately, the result is one not conducive to having very young and unpredictable children around. 
Madeline is not able to stay at her foster home for much longer.  And we fear that returning to a kennel setting will unravel the progress that she has made, and her fear and anxiety may resurface, to her detriment in more ways than one. 

Madeline would do great in a home with no young children or other large dogs.  She’d make a great loyal sidekick for a single person or older couple.  If you are a rescue dog lover….you will love Madeline.  She is the epitome of a rescue dog:  loving and grateful, with a side dish of hidden fears. 

As always, I ask whoever reads these words to try to ‘be’ Madeline.  We, as humans, have the same traits, strengths, weaknesses, and insecurities as the rescue dogs we (sometimes too righteously) assume we are saving.  In most cases, they save us from ourselves. 

Please help us to find our Madeline a Forever Home for Christmas.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

To The Rescue

Being in the puppy mill state of mind, having just taken in the 10 sweet but very frightened Chinese Cresteds from a mill in Texas........I received an email from Terrie Varnado (the person who alerted us to the situation and brought them to us) that was poignantly enlightening regarding the subject.  I've heard stories of puppy mills, but have only been to one in my imagination.
This report by Toni Webb, Cavalier King Charles rescuer, who went undercover to a puppy mill auction opened my eyes in a way I'd rather not have them opened (if you know what I mean). A perfect example of 'ignorance is bliss.'  But alas, self imposed ignorance is for cowards, and so I implore you to read the following with an open heart and mind, and if you are as moved as I am.....a vow to take action (no matter how small) to make a difference in this abhorrent business that persists among us.

The Newsletter
By and For Rescue/Shelter Workers
Volume I, Issue XL

"I do not believe I will ever look at the world in the same way
again. This weekend was worse than I had imagined, worse than I
had even been told to expect. I attended my first puppy mill
auction in Missouri Sunday, determined to bring home every last
Cavalier on the auction block. Lucky Star was successful. We
got all six Cavaliers being sold. Hoorah!

But that was only 6 dogs out of 200+. I wanted them all. I
wanted to run, ranting like a mad woman through the dirt isles
of stacked cages, a screaming pied piper, opening and releasing
every last one of those imprisoned souls. What I saw behind
those latched doors broke my heart, and made it almost
impossible to maintain my equilibrium or my sanity, much less
the undercover role I was expected to play. Every 15-20
minutes my husband was at my side, asking if I was okay,
telling me I could do this, HAD to do this, for the dogs. For
the dogs....

Periodically, I had to escape the nasty atmosphere of the barn
for a gulp of the cold Missouri air, hoping the frigid gusts
would calm and fortify me.

Some cages held one-eyed dogs, others held dogs with recent
cuts, and old, ugly scars, dogs with toenails an inch long,
dogs whose hair was one large mat, pregnant bitches close to
delivery, dogs missing ears, legs, teeth.

There were no wagging tails, no yelps of delight; no bright,
trusting eyes or barks of playful banter. Most cowered in the
farthest corners of their cages, two or more huddled close
together, as if their closeness would bring them some measure
of comfort in dealing with their shared misery.

Dog after dog was auctioned to the highest bidder, often with
such sales pitches as: "Missing an eye, but sees well enough to
hit his mark": "This girl is only a year old, but she has
earned her keep by already producing one litter - now she's got
another on the way - a bonus for you"; "This bitch has had 19
pups in a year and a half - just the kind you want"; "If you
just sell one of this pregnant bitch's puppies, you will make
more than you've paid for her"; "Bitch only has three legs -
big deal, she won't be passing that on." And on one male dog,
who refused to stand on the table because of an injured foot,
the auctioneer remarked, "Don't let that bother you, he can
still get it on."

Dogs were often held high in the air for all to see, tails
lifted to gauge whether they were in heat, mouths probed
roughly to check their bites, and abdomens poked and prodded to
check for pregnancy because "this one's been running with Jax -
could give you a surprise."

The Cavaliers were one of the last breed on the block. My
heart stopped, and my eyes welled when I saw the first, and
only two females brought to the table. Their eyes remained
downcast, their tails tucked, their bodies postured with fear.
"Look at the coats on these beauties," the creepy auctioneer
said. "These ladies have produced some gorgeous pups." That
sealed it -- I wasn't leaving that place until I had every
single cavalier in my possession.

Our babies brought the highest and liveliest bidding, with
bidding often reaching feverish levels, the bids coming so fast
and furious, I was afraid I could not keep up. I hated
bidding; I hated NOT bidding.

When I got the highest bid, the auctioneer said, "Which one do
you want?" "I want them both," I replied. "Great," he said,
"You're saving me time, little lady." When we got the final bid
on the puppies, the last to be auctioned, I breathed a sigh of
relief, and said a quiet thank-you to the man upstairs.

While waiting in line to get the dogs, one man approached us,
and asked how many of "those Charlies" we had. I said I only
had three. "Well," was his response, "you are certainly in
business now." Yes, I told him, you better believe it.

Rescuing just a few is worth the effort, worth the heartache,
and worth the dirt, stench and barren, desolate miles my
husband and I endured. Six are safe, but so many more are not.
Rescuing from these sleazy breeders is a necessary evil. It
is only a drop in the bucket, I know, but it is SOMETHING. It
certainly is not enough, and we must work diligently to try and
save them all.

A number of people I talked to before leaving on this trip knew
nothing about puppy mills. They know about them NOW. Educate.
Please educate. Tell everyone you know, and people you don't
know, what puppy mills are all about. Relate my horror story,
and the stories of other rescuers. We CANNOT shut down the
puppy millers without the education of the public.

Before I sign off, let me tell you about MY bonus. I came home
with seven puppy mill dogs, my seventh being a male, 2 year old
Lhasa Apso. He was placed on the table and the auctioneer
opened the bids at $150. No bids came. Down to $50, still no
bids. At $25, the auctioneer said, "Come on, folks, he's
worked his tail off in his short life - been one busy little
guy. Worth a heck of a lot more than $25. If you don't want
him, I'll put him back to work for me." At $15, my husband saw
the sadness in my eyes. "Toni," he said...too late.

The auctioneer said, "Well, do I hear $10?" My hand shot up
before I could stop it. "Sold, to the little lady for $10."
"Got yourself quite a bargain," was the auctioneer's parting

The Cavs hadn't even come up yet, and I knew we had a long way
to go. "Sorry," I told Chris. "I couldn't help it." "It's
okay," he said. "By my calculations, using the luggage rack on
top, we could probably haul back another 20 or so." He was
joking, of course, he simply understood that this business was
deplorable, and resigning these dogs to a pitiful existence was
heart wrenching.

Find it in your heart to get involved with rescue, in whatever
way you can. Attend an auction, donate your money, foster a
rescue, or just encourage and advise those of us who are just
getting our feet wet. You won't be sorry. Your heart may
break, your eyes may be red-rimmed for days, but I promise you,
you will be forever changed."          

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Goodbye is Never Easy

Although we are a no-kill shelter here at the St. Tammany Humane Society, it does not mean that we are ‘sheltered’ from the loss of beloved pets and on the rare occasions, elderly shelter animals or those with a  terminal illness.  

Just recently Dr. Johnston experienced the loss of her Pinni, a 12 year old Greyhound rescue with a penny colored coat and heart of gold.  Beautiful souls like Pinni enter our lives, reveal themselves in many ways that are easier to understand and welcome than members of our own species, and become a part of our family in a uniquely special way.  Dog, cats, horses, mules (what amazing creatures!), bunnies, and so many other pets are able to give humans what we are constantly seeking in life:  unconditional love.  Why is this so special?  Perhaps because so many of us are unable to give it ourselves.  But whatever the mystical or philosophical reasons behind the special bond we share with our pets, one thing is clear:  That bond exists, and the love shared between pet and owner should never be dismissed as anything other than what it ultimately allows for – a partnership built on love, trust, and companionship (often times the strongest relationship that people have nurtured in their lifetime).  

This is why……Goodbye Is Never Easy.  According to Pastor Bonnie Poirier, “Grieving the loss of a pet is a normal response and a very individual one.  One important difference between pet loss and human loss is that pet loss is often not appreciated. Friends and family may ask ‘What’s the big deal? It’s just a pet!’ There is also the assumption by many that pet loss shouldn’t hurt as much as human loss, because humans are supposedly more important than pets.”

The truth is that all losses, animal or human, can plunge you into despair and may signal the beginning of a profound spiritual-emotional journey. Like grief for humans, grief for animal companions can be dealt with over time and in stages.  At the St. Tammany Humane Society, we will provide for you a safe and natural environment to share and heal as you receive comfort and support.  Please join us the first Saturday of each month at 9am at the shelter for “Goodbye is Never Easy,” a pet loss grief gathering held by Carol Bonnie Poirier of Peaceful Planet Pets ( 

Carol Bonnie Poirier, I go by Bonnie - my grandmother's nickname. I was born in 1960 and raised in New Orleans. I graduated from the University of New Orleans with Bachelor of Arts and St. John's University with Master of Science. I was ordained as a minister with the Congregational Church in June 1994. I am a member of the Association for Pet Loss and Bereavement and the Association for Professional Humane Educators. With my pet ministry, I focus on pet loss support as well as pet memorials, pet blessings, labyrinth walks and nature walks. I have also written a working pet loss journal called "Goodbye Is Never Easy."

If you (or someone who know) has experienced the loss of a pet, and could benefit from sharing your loss and experience with others who are like minded in both their love of a lost pet and the grief which follows, please consider joining us and Bonnie for “Goodbye is Never Easy” (again, it is on the first Saturday of each month at 9 a.m. at STHS).  This time is free - all that is asked is that you call or email  to hold your seat.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

St. Tammany Humane Society joins Pets for Patriots Pet Adoption Program for Veterans Partners with nationwide charity to give shelter dogs and cats a second chance at life with veterans and service members
St. Tammany Humane Society in Covington, Louisiana has partnered with Pets for Patriots, Inc., a not-for-profit that connects last-chance shelter pets with our country's loyal service men and women, to increase the adoption of adult and other at-risk homeless pets by veteran and service members of the United States military.

In spite of the demonstrated emotional and physical benefits of companion pets, more dogs and cats are killed each year than the populations of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota and Vermont combined. Working with Pets for Patriots, St. Tammany Humane Society gives local veterans, service members and their families the gift of unconditional friendship and love while providing millions of dogs and cats a second chance at life.

“Working with Pets for Patriots, we hope to motivate our local veterans and service members to give these animals a loving home. This will help us place more hard-to-adopt pets with good people who need or want a companion pet, and save these innocent animals from becoming permanent shelter residents,” says Executive Director Vicky Kreeger.
Individuals are welcome from all United States armed forces and at any stage of their careers. Eligible pets must meet one of three criteria: dog or cat two years or older, dog over 40 pounds regardless of age, or a special needs dog or cat.

Joining Pets for Patriots is entirely free to veterans, though they are responsible for St. Tammany Humane Society’s adoption fee. To reduce the chance that these pets are surrendered, the charity sends a $150 gift card upon proof of eligible adoption to help with food and other essentials, and provides access to local veterinary partners who agree to offer ongoing discounted care.

 “Our goal is to help our adoption partners re-home harder-to-place pets that still have years of love and life to give,” says Beth Zimmerman, founder and executive director of Pets for Patriots, "while at the same time making it more affordable for military personnel to bring a pet into their lives. We’re delighted to work with the St. Tammany Humane Society to give these last-chance pets a second chance at life and, in so doing, to enhance the lives of veterans in the community. Everybody wins.”

 St. Tammany Humane Society quickly saw the potential to find hard-to-adopt dogs and cats permanent homes with service members. “We are able to place about 900 pets each year,” says Executive Director Vicky Kreeger. “Through our partnership with Pets for Patriots, we hope to provide forever homes to even more loving animals with the many service members and veterans in our area.”

Individuals must first apply through Pets for Patriots and provide proof of their military service or honorable discharge. Approval typically takes one to two business days, after which they can visit St. Tammany Humane Society for assistance in choosing their new best friend.

Adopters through the Pets for Patriots program also receive 15% off of vet services through the St. Tammany Humane Society vet clinic for their adopted pet, and one free night of boarding with Willow’s Oak Pet Lodge in Madisonville (minimum 2 night stay).

About Pets for Patriots
Pets for Patriots, Inc., is a registered 501(c)(3) charity that helps military members honorably adopt adult and at-risk shelter pets. Its mission is to consistently give the gifts of fidelity, joy and companionship to both pet and person.  Pets for Patriots is one of the only organizations in the country dedicated to both adult pets and military members. The charity is a proud member of the Army AW2 Wounded Warrior Program national community support network, a national partner of the Real Warriors Campaign and is listed by the National Resource Directory for ill and wounded veterans. Visit for more information.