Displaced Ukrainian Family Finds a Friend in URvet Care

URvet Care Founders Aimee and Evan Stoopler, Mariia Yazhinska, and Dr. Andrew Karmin.

When Mariia and her family fled war-torn Ukraine in October 2022, they left behind loved ones, friends, and nearly everything they cherished to seek safety for their family. After settling in Queens, the family began to rebuild their lives and struggle to regain a sense of normalcy.

So when Lary, their beloved 12-year-old Cocker Spaniel, developed a papilloma on his head that was growing larger, Mariia and her family were devastated. Without the funds to pay for the surgery to remove the growth, they feared they might lose him.

“Lary is our member of the family,” said Mariia. “We love him very much. My children can’t imagine their lives without him.”

So they reached out to the Mayor’s Alliance for help.

The Alliance does not provide medical grants. But we routinely refer pet owners to low-cost veterinary clinics and hospitals in the NYC area. So we referred Mariia to a low-cost provider for Lary’s medical care. But the estimate for his surgery was still out of reach for her family’s budget.

As luck would have it, the Alliance’s director of communications, Steve Gruber, had a fortuitous introduction that week to Evan Stoopler, who, with his wife Aimee, founded URvet Care in New York City. URvet Care is a veterinary franchise that provides urgent, specialty, and primary care for pets. With locations on the Upper East Side and Tribeca, and soon-to-come locations in Midtown and on the Upper West Side, URvet Care is a welcome addition to the ecosystem of veterinary care in New York City.

Evan had contacted Steve to discuss the hospital’s goal of working with NYC’s rescue community to provide affordable veterinary services for the animals in their care. Introducing Evan to shelters and rescue groups in NYC fit squarely into the Alliance’s role as a connector, and we were delighted to begin to make introductions to our rescue contacts.

Recognizing Evan’s deep commitment to collaboration to help animals, Steve told him about Mariia’s plight with her dog Lary. Without hesitating, Evan offered URvet Care’s services to help this family in need.

“My family and I have always been supporters of the Ukrainian people as well as in our business, as all of our interior signage is from Ukrainian artisans,” says Evan. “The opportunity to help Mariia’s family was one that resonated with us deeply. We are grateful to our Chief of Staff, Dr. Andrew Karmin, for immediately stepping in and offering to perform the necessary surgery, ensuring that Lary received the necessary and appropriate post-care.”

Mariia is beyond grateful to Evan and URvet Care. “I want to express my great gratitude for the invaluable help Evan has provided,” she says. “Thank you, URvet Care team, for your time and attention to my pet Lary. Thanks from my children – you saved their friend and now they are happy to play again with him. May your kind hearts be happy and loved, and may peace be upon you and your families.” 

Mariia and Lary

Evan and the URvet Care team demonstrated the very best of the veterinary profession in providing lifesaving care for Lary. Over the past two decades, the Alliance has worked with numerous veterinary practices and hospitals. We have witnessed firsthand acts of generosity and goodwill on behalf of members of the veterinary community. They are heroes, and URvet Care has clearly joined their ranks.

We are delighted to welcome URvet Care into NYC’s veterinary community and we encourage NYC’s shelters and rescue groups to reach out to Evan to explore partnership opportunities. To learn more about URvet Care and the services it provides, visit URvetCare.com or email Evan@URvetCare.com.

And we welcome Mariia, Lary, and their family to their new home in NYC where they will find New Yorkers to be some of the most welcoming and pet-loving people in the world!

Slava Ukraini!

Posted in Dogs, Helping Pets and People in Crisis, Uncategorized | Tagged , ,

All That February Is…for You and Your Pets

All That February Is…for You and Your Pets

February is the shortest month, but it’s certainly not short on animal related observances. That makes sense, given that it’s the month we celebrate LOVE. And what is more loving than our companion animals?

How each of us repays the love we get from our pets is as unique as we are. But it’s important to recognize how truly remarkable that bond is between humans and our animal companions. It’s a bond always to be cherished and never taken for granted. 

With that thought in mind…

February is Responsible Pet Owners Month. 

So how can you celebrate? You might start by taking a close look at how you care for your companion animals. Is their food appropriate to their age and overall health? Are your pets overweight? (According to a study cited in USA Today, more than half of cats and dogs in the United States are overweight or obese.) 

Do your pets get enough exercise, socialization, and mental stimulation for their individual needs? Have they been spayed or neutered and vaccinated? Are they getting routine vet care, especially as they get older? Are they microchipped to expedite their return to you if they become lost?

These are some key components of responsible pet ownership. It’s a good idea to evaluate your success in giving your pets their best life possible. If you need help caring for your pet, please visit our website’s Need Help? section for ideas and resources to help you better meet their needs.

February is I Love NYC Pets Month.

From 2007 to 2012, the Mayor’s Alliance presented I Love NYC Pets Month. This citywide celebration supported our goals of increasing pet adoptions and spay/neuter surgeries in order to increase the live release rates at our city’s shelters. Throughout February, we and our many rescue partners featured dozens of pet adoption events and other festivities to shine a spotlight on NYC’s homeless pets.

Today, the landscape of NYC’s rescue community is different than it was more than a decade ago, and Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC) has maintained live release rates above 90% for the past six years. But promoting pet adoption remains at the heart of the Alliance’s mission. And so, if your lifestyle and finances align with adding a new furry family member, we encourage you to celebrate I Love NYC Pets Month and adopt from ACC or any of the other wonderful shelters and rescue groups in the area.

February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month.

If you’re thinking about adopting, consider adopting a pair of rabbits. (Rabbits prefer the company of other rabbits.) And since February is Adopt a Rescued Rabbit Month, what better way to show you care than to open your home to rabbits in need of love? 

Just remember, rabbits aren’t an appropriate choice for every household. They are not good “starter” pets, because they have certain care requirements that make them high maintenance pets for some families. And it’s important to have your rabbits spayed and neutered because…well, they reproduce like rabbits, and before you know it, two become 10! For rabbit spay/neuter information, please visit our Rabbits as Pets page.

New York State law prohibits the sale of rabbits in pet stores, so if you’re interested in bringing a rabbit into your family, you’ll need to adopt from a shelter or rescue group. The adoption experts at ACCBunnies and Beyond, or any of the other rescue organizations that offer rabbits for adoption can help you determine if a rabbit adoption is in your future. When you adopt a rabbit from ACC or a reputable rescue group, the rabbit will be spayed or neutered before you bring them home. Please visit our Rabbits as Pets page for information about rabbit adoption and veterinary care. 

February is Black Dog Syndrome Awareness Month.

Black Dog Syndrome is a phenomenon that has shown that black dogs (and cats) often are overlooked by adopters. This results in black dogs and cats often experiencing longer shelter stays and lower adoption rates.

But perceptions can be changed. As anyone who shares their home with a black dog or cat will tell you, they are just as loving and wonderful as any other dog or cat. So if you happen to be looking for a new best friend or family member, don’t overlook those beautiful black dogs and cats just waiting to brighten up your life! 

February is Spay/Neuter Awareness Month, and World Spay Day is February 28.

Of course you understand why you should have your dogs and cats spayed or neutered, right? Today the tougher question is, how can I get an appointment for the surgery, particularly if I need to locate free or low-cost spay/neuter services? 

Unfortunately, a nationwide shortage of veterinary personnel and lingering COVID-related delays continue to make the quest for affordable veterinary services just that – a quest. Every day we respond to numerous requests from pet owners looking for spay/neuter services for their pets. If you are among those pet owners, we encourage you to visit our spay/neuter page or email us at info@animalalliancenyc.org, and we’ll provide you with a list of low-cost spay/neuter resources in and around New York City. 

AmazonSmile winds down by February 20.

For the past decade, Amazon has made it easier for customers to support their favorite charities through AmazonSmile. The Mayor’s Alliance has been a proud partner with AmazonSmile, and we are grateful to our many supporters who have used the program to channel funds to the Alliance through their Amazon purchases.

As you might have heard, Amazon has decided to focus its philanthropic giving to programs with greater impact. Effective February 20, the Amazon Smile program will no longer be available. 

However, for those shoppers who are looking for ways to shop more ethically, please take a look at this article

In case you missed it:  Punxsutawney Phil, the nation’s official groundhog who resides in Pennsylvania, spotted his shadow on February 2, thereby predicting six more weeks of winter.

Stay safe, stay warm, and stay healthy. We wish you and all your family members a February filled with love!

Posted in Animal Care & Control of NYC, Bunnies and Beyond, Cats, Dogs, Fundraising, Pet Adoption, Rabbits, Spay/Neuter | Tagged , , , , , ,

A New Year for You and the Animals

New year’s resolutions to make the world a better place for animals.

As we head toward the end of January, how many of your new year’s resolutions have you stuck with? Or did you even bother to make them at all?

If your best intentions fell by the wayside, or if you avoided the disappointment of not living up to your goals by not setting any, we’ve got a few suggestions that will not only improve your world, but also will make the world a better place for animals.

Treat your best friend to a new adventure.

We all enjoy a satisfying new activity, and that goes for our animal companions as well. While routine is important for keeping our pets content, shaking up that routine can add enrichment to their days. Give your dog an extra walk each day, or vary your walking route. Add an extra play session, or try out a new dog park. Treat your cat to a new interactive toy, such as a cat dancer or laser pointer – something that not only engages her imagination but also carves out more quality time you can share. Your rabbit will likely enjoy exploring paper bags or cardboard boxes for crawling inside, or playing with cardboard rolls from paper towels or toilet paper. New activities can help to de-stress and relieve boredom for you and your pets. Be creative!

Extend your goodwill to shelter pets.

Shelters and rescue groups are always looking for volunteers to walk dogs, socialize cats and kittens, or provide foster care. Whether you want to make a commitment to volunteering at a shelter weekly or monthly, or welcoming a homeless pet into your home to help prepare him for adoption (and free up space at a shelter to enable it to save more animals), you’ll discover that your act of generosity will enrich your life as well as the lives of the animals you help.

Help community cats.

No matter where you live, you’re probably only a stone’s throw from a colony of outdoor community cats that depend upon dedicated volunteers to care for them. Chances are you already know someone who is feeding and caring for a colony, large or small. You might start by providing an extra set of hands for an experienced TNR caretaker who can teach you the ropes. Bideawee’s Feral Cat Initiative, a program created by the Alliance and now managed by Bideawee, can help you get started. Visit their website to learn more.

Give a fellow pet owner a hand.

Somewhere along the way you’ve no doubt relied upon the kindness of a stranger to get through a tight spot. Why not pay it forward and offer to help someone who might be struggling to care for his or her pet? 

Perhaps you know an older adult or an individual living with illness or disability who is having trouble managing routine care for their pets. Offering to walk their dog, change their cats’ litter box, or take their pet to the vet can be a tremendous help for them – and might even make the difference between keeping their beloved companion in their home or giving them up for adoption. 

If you don’t know of someone who can use assistance, you can volunteer with an organization like PAWS NY, which provides services to vulnerable New Yorkers who need support caring for their pets. 

New years and their accompanying resolutions come and go, but kindness and generosity are forever. If you already are practicing some of our suggestions, we salute you! If not, we hope you will consider giving some of our ideas a try. And please check out the Want to Help? section on our website for more ideas that can make your 2023 more memorable and satisfying!

Looking to adopt a new companion this year? Adopt a Little New Yorker Today!. Pet adoption is rewarding and life-changing – but chances are you already know that!

Need help with a pet-related issue? If you or someone you know is looking for resources to help care for a pet or other pet-related needs, please visit our website’s Need Help? section. Or email us at info@animalalliancenyc.org.

Posted in Alliance Participating Organizations, Cats, Dogs, Feral Cats & TNR, Helping Pets and People in Crisis, Pet Adoption, Pet Care & Training, Pet Fostering, Rabbits | Tagged , , , , , , , ,

How You Can Help Make the Holidays Bright

Having survived 2020, one would think that any year would be an improvement. And in many ways, circumstances have improved for many people and their pets over the past two years. But plenty of new challenges have arisen from the ashes of 2020. And now, many people and animals are struggling with post-pandemic problems.  

Animal shelters and rescue groups are hovering at or beyond capacity after people who adopted pets during the pandemic are now giving them up because of increasing costs of pet care, loss of housing, or returning to in-person work. Donations to animal charities are down as people struggle to make ends meet in a challenging economy.

Many pet owners, especially seniors and low-income families on fixed or shrinking incomes, are struggling to feed and provide veterinary care for their beloved pets. Exacerbating the problem is a nation-wide shortage of veterinarians and vet techs, which has made getting even routine vet care and spay/neuter surgeries a challenge. 

Mental health issues and homelessness are on the rise – creating additional challenges for people and their pets.

Now, another holiday season is upon us, and many people are asking what can I do to bring about positive change?

Our suggestion: Make a list, and check it twice. Then do it!

Adopt a pet. Given the struggles many people have keeping their pets these days, that might sound tone-deaf. But it’s not – the fact is, plenty of people have the will and the means to add a new member to their family. Just be sure if you adopt that you’re prepared for the lifetime commitment. Consider adopting a senior or special needs pet – they need homes just as much as any other pet. 

Foster. Fostering for a shelter or rescue group is truly lifesaving. Many rescue organization rely exclusively upon foster volunteers to care for their animals. Fostering a pet for a crowded shelter increases their capacity to save lives. Additionally, donating to rescue organizations helps them to accomplish more and save more lives. 

Volunteer at a shelter to help overworked staff members provide dog walks, cat socializing, and other critical services for the animals in their care. 

Donate to your local shelter or rescue groups. Pet food, supplies, and monetary donations are desperately needed by many rescue organizations faced with rising costs and shrinking budgets. To learn about the many ways you can donate to Animal Care Centers of NYC (ACC), visit  https://www.nycacc.org/get-involved/donate.

Help someone close to home. Just look around at your circle of family, friends, and neighbors. Is there a senior or disabled person who needs help walking their dog or changing the cat litter…buying pet food or taking their pet to a vet appointment? A simple act of kindness can go a long way to easing the burden for a pet owner in need of help. 

Volunteer for an organization that provides pet care assistance to needy populations, such as PAWS NYDonate to Feeding Pets of the Homeless, which focuses on feeding and providing emergency care to pets of homeless people. Donate pet food or supplies to a local shelter that runs a pet food pantry or other services for pet owners.

During the holidays it’s easy to become caught up in activities that enrich our own experience and those of our family and friends. But by looking beyond our immediate orbit and expanding our capacity for good will, each of us can have a positive impact on someone who needs help.

Throughout the year, the Mayor’s Alliance for NYC’s Animals has been privileged to connect hundreds of people with services and resources to meet their needs as caring and responsible pet owners. We routinely hear from people who have not been able to locate resources or get the information they need to care for their pets. We have endeavored to help create positive outcomes for New York City’s pets and the people who love them. But we cannot do it alone. We are so grateful to our loyal supporters who make it possible for us to continue our work. You are our heroes, and champions for New York City’s animals. To you and your family, we wish safe and healthy holidays. And may your new year be filled with hope and good fortune!

Posted in Animal Care & Control of NYC, Cats, Dogs, Pet Adoption, Pet Fostering, Rabbits, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , ,

Celebrate Halloween Safely with Your Pets

Halloween is a favorite holiday for people, but not for pets. Decorations, costumes, trick-or-treaters, and costume parades can be frightening – and sometimes dangerous – for our pets.

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many people, but not necessarily for pets. Spooky decorations, elaborate costumes, trick-or-treaters at the door, and costume parades can be fun for kids and adults. But be aware that Halloween activities can be frightening – and sometimes dangerous – for our pets that might not share their humans’ enthusiasm for the occasion.

Here are some suggestions to help keep your pets safe this Halloween.

Keep treats away from pets.

Make sure your bowls of candy and other treats are safely out of reach from your pets. Chocolate —especially dark chocolate—is toxic for cats and dogs. Sugar-free candies that contain xylitol, a sugar substitute, also can cause serious health problems for pets. Keep your stash away from your pets. And if you have children, make sure they’re aware of the dangers of sharing their treats with pets.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something toxic, immediately seek medical attention. If you’re not certain what to do, immediately call the ASPCA Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435

Keep an eye on decorations and electrical wires. 

A curious pet can give your lit Jack-o-lantern a tumble and start a fire or get burned by candle flame. And while pumpkins and decorative corn aren’t considered toxic to pets, they can cause stomach upset if they are ingested. As for electrical wires, they should always be kept safely away from all pets, especially rabbits and other critters who like to nibble.

Costumes aren’t for every pet.

Dressing up pets in fun costumes and participating in pet costume contests and parades has become extremely popular. But not every pet wants to be dressed up like a weenie or fairy princess. For some pets, donning a costume can create stress, or even panic. 

If you plan to dress up your pet, make sure he or she is comfortable with the costume, and doesn’t exhibit signs of anxiety or fear. Signs of discomfort can include a tucked tail, hunching over, ears folded down, or darting eyes. 

Make sure the costume doesn’t interfere with your pet’s ability to move, see clearly, or breathe comfortably – the same precautions you would take for dressing up a child. Make sure the costume doesn’t include items that your pet can chew or could cause them to choke. It’s always a good idea to give your costumed pet a trial run ahead of the big event. If she shows signs of distress or resistance, it’s best to nix the costume and substitute a festive collar or bandana.

Neither are costume parades.

Unless your dog is comfortable with crowds and noise, skip the parade. Stay home and watch a spooky movie together, and snap a great selfie or family photo of you and your buddy enjoying healthy Halloween treats.

Make sure your home is a safe place for your pet.

Be sure all of your pets are indoors before nightfall on Halloween so they don’t run off when trick-or-treaters hit the streets. (Cats are always safest inside your home, regardless of what day it is.) 

Trick-or-treaters or other guests arriving at your door can make any pet feel anxious, fearful, and protective. It’s a good idea to keep your pets in a calm, familiar space within your home, away from unfamiliar visitors, new sounds, and open doors that might allow them to escape. If your pets are used to being crated and consider their crate “safe space,” let them retire to their crate for the evening. The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) suggests creating a “haunted house” out of cardboard boxes for your cat. She can stay safely snuggled in until the evening’s activities taper off. Even if your Halloween guests are familiar to your pets, remember that masks and costumes can make them appear unfamiliar – evening frightening – and react unpredictably.

Make sure your pets are microchipped and wearing ID tags. Be sure microchips are registered with your most current information and that ID tags feature your phone number. If you pet should escape through an open door, your chances of being reunited with them are greatly improved.

Halloween can be a fun holiday to share with your pets. Just make sure you’re celebrating with them sensibly and safely to keep them out of harm’s way. We invite you to follow us regularly on Facebook and Twitter for more pet-related information and updates.

Posted in Cats, Dogs, Safety/Emergency | Tagged , ,