Safe Houseplants for Cats

A long-haired tabby cat stand up on a safe houseplant for cats near a window.

With spring right around the corner, many people are gearing up for green leaves and bright blossoms. Adding plants to your home can be exciting and fun, but did you know some plants pose a danger to your furry friends? It’s important to get familiar with safe houseplants for cats!

What are some safe houseplants for cats?

Finding plants you and your cat can safely enjoy isn’t hard! There’s a variety of safe houseplants for cats. If gorgeous green leaves catching sunlight sounds like a dream to you, here are some plants to look for:

  • Spider plant
  • Calathea Orbifolia
  • Peperomia
  • Baby Tears
  • Prayer plant
A orange tabby kitten plays with safe houseplant for cats on the sunlight floor.

Some people prefer stunning colorful flowers hanging out in their homes. Don’t worry. There are plenty of beautiful blossoms that are also safe for cats! If you’re bringing flowers inside, either to plant or in a bouquet, here are some cat-safe ones to keep in mind:

  • Orchid
  • Rose
  • Bromeliad
  • African violet
  • Gerber daisy

Other safe houseplants for cats include:

  • Venus fly trap
  • Polka dot plant
  • Basil
  • Thyme
  • Catnip (of course!)

What plants are dangerous for cats?

While we like to focus on the positives, it is important to note that there are many plants that are toxic to cats. Lilies, tulips, and aloe have all earned the title of being dangerous for cats. If you’re unsure if your plant is cat friendly, click here for a list of plants that could pose a danger to your cat.

It is possible to create a home that’s safe for humans, cats, and plants alike! Knowing what plants to look for when finding safe houseplants for cats is extremely important. Doing a little research now can ensure your cat stays happy and healthy!

Fearful Dog Gets a Second Chance

Maverick a fearful former outdoor dog lays on a wooden deck at his new home.

Maverick, a teenage puppy, came to HSU’s Pet Resource Center in Murray five days before Christmas.  His guardian said he could no longer care for him due to having a newborn. He described the 8-month-old pup as “smart and kind” and “very fond of his soccer ball.” He also shared that Maverick had a history of being nervous around all people, both familiar and strange, and he’d almost exclusively lived outside. Maverick was a fearful dog who needed a little help from our team of certified dog trainers.

Extra attention from our Behavior Team

While in our care, Maverick’s nerves reached new heights.  He was uneasy with his surroundings and terrified to cross the middle divider in his kennel, separating his food area from his potty area.  Erika Newman, HSU’s Behavioral Coordinator, shared, “When Maverick first came to us, he avoided contact with me at all costs.  When I slowly introduced myself to him, he offered up low tail wags, which for a dog, translates to, ‘I want to interact, but I’m very uncomfortable right now.’ When I finally approached him, he melted into my lap and began licking my face.  It was clear he wanted affection and closeness but was unsure how to go about it.” 

During meet and greets with potential adopters, Maverick continued with his low tail wags and would even roll over to show his belly or pee when approached.  Erika pointed out that these are submissive behaviors and indicate that a dog feels frightened or threatened and lacks confidence. “The goal of our department is to help all the pets in our care to build confidence through positive reinforcement techniques.  Since behavioral issues may lead a guardian to rehome their pet, positive reinforcement training is a critical service we provide for pets and adopters.” 

Fearful dog Maverick plays fetch with a tennis ball.

A foster home for the holidays

Luckily for Maverick, the Humane Society of Utah was hosting its annual Home for the Holidays program, which places pets into foster homes, so they don’t have to spend Christmas in a kennel alone.  This meant Maverick could have more one-on-one time in the comfort of someone’s home without a scary kennel divider in his way.  Annette Perkins took on the role of Maverick’s foster mom.  With Erika’s guidance, Annette worked to help Maverick feel more at ease by going slow with her interactions with him.  And she taught him alternative ways to connect with humans through positive reinforcement.

Over two weeks, Maverick’s nerves began to subside, and he started interacting more easily with other dogs and humans at Annette’s local dog park.  Slowly but surely, Maverick was transforming from a low-wagging tail pup to one who was more adventurous and easygoing.  With his newfound confidence, Maverick was ready to return to our Pet Resource Center and find an adopter.  He didn’t have to wait long;  he found a home with a woman named Beatrice and her daughter the next day. 

From fearful to confident

Recently, Beatrice shared with our team that Maverick is thriving in his new home, where he has a doggy door and can come and go as he pleases.  Outside, he enjoys chasing balls and playing in the snow, but his favorite place is right beside Beatrice, especially when it involves cuddling up next to her at night.  Beatrice wrote in her email, “I took Maverick to a dog park this week, and he had a blast running around with all the doggies!   I am just so impressed with how well-behaved he is.  He is settling in great, and I already love him so much!” We were so happy to see this fearful dog blossom into a happy and healthy companion.

Maverick cuddles with his new owner on the couch.

A Long Road To Recovery

Lady the brindle dog sleeping on a dog bed in her foster home.

Lady, a five-year-old bully mix, was surrendered to our Pet Resource Center in Murray because her guardian worked longer hours and could no longer give her the time and attention she needed. Before leaving Lady in our care, her guardian described her as “playful and friendly” and said her favorite things were “watermelon and sleeping on the bed .”Lady was so sweet with our staff that we thought she’d be adopted immediately without any problems, but unfortunately for Lady, this wasn’t the case. 

Accessing Lady’s health

After an assessment, our medical team discovered that Lady’s skin and ears were infected, and she had a handful of broken teeth. She also had a pretty severe limp. Upon further discovery, it became apparent that the ligaments in Lady’s knees had ruptured in both legs. If she were ever going to run or jump again, she’d need to undergo TPLO surgery, short for Tibial Plateau Leveling Osteotomy, to have these ligaments repaired. The problem was that Lady weighed 90 pounds, so our team made the decision to conduct these surgeries two months apart, so Lady wasn’t totally incapacitated. 

After her first surgery, Lady went into our Foster Program under the care of Caitlin Lisle, our Humane Education Director. Caitlin put Lady on ‘bed rest’ and helped her pass the time with food puzzles and yummy frozen treats. Caitlin explained, “Lady was such a joy to rehab. She had the best disposition of any dog I’ve ever cared for. She was just so cheerful all the time about everything. She even loved it when I iced her leg!”

Lady the brindle dog wears a pink sprinkle donut cone while she recovers from surgery in foster home.

While waiting for her second TPLO surgery, our medical team found that Lady was also suffering from entropion in both eyes. Entropion is a condition in which the eyelid rolls inward, causing the eyelashes and surrounding hair to rub against the dog’s sensitive cornea, which results in eye irritation, and, if not remedied quickly, can lead to corneal ulceration. 

Caitlin shared, “I felt so bad for her. Poor Lady couldn’t catch a break! She eventually had three surgeries within 16 weeks. Regardless, she never cried once and always gave her full attention while doing her physical rehabilitation therapy activities. She was the best girl ever!”

Over the four months they shared, Caitlin and Lady became very attached. When Lady was all healed and ready for adoption, Caitlin was happy for her but also teary-eyed. “It was bittersweet because I was so in love with her. But since I already have four dogs of my own, I knew I couldn’t keep her.”

Lady finds a home

Caitlin screened potential adopters to ensure Lady went to the perfect home. A few weeks passed, but Caitlin didn’t find the right fit until a woman named Katie reached out after seeing Lady’s story on our Instagram account. 

Katie shared, “The day I saw Lady’s post was the first anniversary of when our beloved labrador, Ryder, passed away. We’d had Ryder for almost 11 years, and our family was heartbroken when he passed. I didn’t know if we were ready for a new dog, but I reached out to Caitlin on a whim.”

Lady in her adopted home watches a toy train in the living room.

Caitlin invited Katie, her husband, Dan, and their two young kids, Liam and Lucas, to meet Lady. But Dan was resistant. He told Katie, “Unless this dog gives me a sign by jumping into my lap or something, I don’t think I’m ready for a new dog.” Lady must have superman hearing because as soon as Dan walked in to meet her, that’s exactly what she did. 

Katie recalled, “Lady ran directly over to Dan and jumped in his lap. We were all stunned. Not only this, but she was very gentle and tolerant with our kids. We fell in love with her immediately, and she’s been a member of our family ever since.”

Lady wears a Christmas  sweater in her adopted home while watching over her a young boy playing in the snow.

These days you can find Lady riding shotgun alongside Katie to pick up the kids from school or glued to Dan’s hip. “The loss of Ryder was so hard on my husband, but now, he’s Lady’s biggest fan. They’re like little comfort buddies. She always seems to know when we’re having a bad day, and if she senses we are, she’s at our side to offer comfort. She is exactly what our family needs.”

Leash reactivity- where do I start?

Tan and white leash reactive dog pulls on leash while barking on a tree lined walkway.

Leash Reactivity is a term that many humans who own dogs are unaware of, and when they hear it, they don’t know what it means or looks like. Leash reactivity is an on-leash dog barking, growling, lunging, etc., at a trigger. The “trigger” is something or someone that causes this fear response to engage at a certain distance, specific to each dog with reactivity. 

Leash reactivity does not necessarily mean aggression. Dogs can be leash reactive out of frustration or fear, which does not always mean they intend to harm the other dog or trigger. For example, a dog’s leash reactivity may be based on the frustration of being unable to greet another dog. As a result, he barks and pulls on his leash when he sees the other dogs in an attempt to get to them. However, once given a proper introduction, he can play successfully or never shows this type of behavior when off-leash at the dog park. And remember, some fearful dogs may be asking for space from other dogs and do not want to be social with other dogs, and that’s okay too.

Training tips to start with leash reactivity

Tip #1: Bring the treats! Everyone likes a payday, winning the jackpot, or a tasty morsel after dinner. And dogs are no different. So not only will it be easier to work with your dog, but this method will help your dog form a positive association with their triggers.

Tan and white dog takes a treat from a lady's hand while sitting outdoors in a green field.

Tip #2: Give yourself space. Which will likely mean more space than you think. If your dog is leash reactive walking down the street, try crossing the street. If they are walking down the same street, stop behind a parked car that acts as a visual barrier, allowing them to gain distance between you and your dog. 

A tan barrier reactive dogs barks behind a black iron gate.

Tip #3: One training exercise we like to use here at HSU is Look At That (LAT.) This exercise changes the dog’s emotional response when they see their trigger. To practice LAT, start far from the trigger so the dog can remain calm. The moment the dog looks at the trigger, mark by saying “Yes!” or clicking with a clicker and immediately follow up with a reward (treat.) Continue to practice this exercise throughout the walk; over time, you can decrease the distance between the dog and their trigger. This reinforces the behavior of staying calm around the trigger and teaches them an alternate behavior to reacting. 

If you are struggling with your leash reactive dog and looking for advice, please visit our website or contact behavior@utahhumane.or

Enriching Your Cat’s Life

Black cat lays with head upside down while playing with feather wand toy during enrichment session.

Are the 3:00 AM  zoomies causing havoc to your beauty sleep? Or are the mopey meows getting you down? We know how much you love your feline friend, but lately, the beat-up and tired wand toy hasn’t performed like it used to. Enriching your cat’s life isn’t hard to do, and with these tips, you’re sure to add some spark to your sweet fur baby’s life!

Spice Up Your Old Toys

Cat toys can get expensive, and paying an arm and a leg to entertain your cat should not be part of your New Year’s Resolutions. Instead, take some of their favorite old toys, put them in a baggie or container with catnip, and hide them for a week or two. Ensure they’re in a place your cat cannot access, like a high cupboard or locked closet. After some time has passed, pull out the old toys and watch your kitty go bonkers! If your cat isn’t enticed by catnip, don’t panic! Other herbs, like silvervine and honeysuckle, have similar effects on cats. Be sure to supervise your cat any time they’re interacting with herbs to ensure a safe and fun experience.

Fluffy cat sits on cat tower while reaching out and pawing at feather cat toy.

Work Hard, Treat Hard

Did you know that many cats can learn simple tricks just like dogs? Sit, lay, high five, and shake are all common tricks to teach a cat. Grab their favorite bag of treats, or even invest in a clicker, and start training them-you’ll be amazed at what they’re capable of! Like dogs, having your cat perform a trick or task for their treat is much better than simply allowing free access to their cravings. Many people also create obstacle courses for their cats to complete or offer treats in a puzzle to stimulate their minds as they “hunt” for their food. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out this video and remember that patience is key! This can be an extremely fun experience for both you and your cat.

Tabby cats give woman's hand high five during training session.

Think Like a Cat

It sounds silly, but sometimes all it takes to excite your cat is to think like a cat! Cats are natural hunters, and they imitate that instinct when they play. During playtime, think to yourself, “How can I make this toy act more like prey?” Slithering a teaser toy slowly on the ground, hiding small toys in corners, or gliding feather toys through the air may be just what your cat needs to activate their hunting instinct. Furthermore, cats hunt, kill, and eat their prey in the wild. So reserving a special treat for your feline friend post-play time helps set them in a natural rhythm and makes them more excited for playtime in the future.

Gray and white kitten lays on cat toy.

With these tips, you can enrich your cat’s life and increase your bond with them. If you want to add a little furry member to your family, you can always view our adoptable cats here.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting… a New Furry Friend!

3 small puppies pose a purple blanket.

Have you ever wondered what the process of adopting from the Humane Society of Utah looks like? Well, we’ve got you covered! In just 5 easy steps, you can bring home a new best friend!

Start out with a meet and greet

Has someone special caught your eye? Step one is to set up a meet and greet through one of our adoption counselors. After going over the available information we have about that animal, they’ll set you up with a meet-and-greet area.

Fill out a quick application

Once you’ve decided that you’d like to take Fluffy or Fido home, you’ll be asked to fill out a short (less than one page) form with some basic information such as your address, phone number, and email. This form can be filled out digitally or with a pen and paper.

Women looks at shelter cat while giving it chin scratches in Kitty City.

Have a chat with an adoption counselor

After our adoptions team has received your application, you’ll sit down with a counselor to go over details about the pet and their history, have any of your questions answered, and sign an adoption contract which essentially says you agree to love and take care of the animal you are bringing home with you. Our adoption staff is equipped with a plethora of resources to help you and your pet’s go as smoothly as possible, from how to handle cat-dog introductions to how to deal with resource guarding.

Inside HSU's adoption lobby facing adoption check out desks.

Pay your adoption fee, receive your new pet’s records, and head home!

Following your chat with one of our adoptions counselors, all that’s left is to pay your pet’s adoption fee, receive any medical records we have on hand (i.e., vaccinations, medications), and a supply of medications to get you through the next few days (if applicable), and get ready to head home! You will be required to take your new pet home either in a pet carrier or on a harness and leash, but if you didn’t bring your own, we have some available for purchase in our onsite store. We are also proud to offer a free exam through our partnered vets in the area, which we encourage all adopters to take advantage of.

After Your Adoption…

Our adoption team will reach out to you via email after one week and after three weeks to check in and make sure all is going well. This offers an opportunity to ask any questions that have come up, request more resources, or send us some cute photos showcasing what your new pet has been up to!

Smiling dog with big blocky heads lays in grass.

So, there you have it! Congratulations on your new furry family member, and thank you so much for choosing adoption first. 

Pebbles, The Itty Bitty Kitten That Could

Pebbles an itty bitty one-eyed calico kitten cuddles a stuffed animal.

Pebbles, an itty bitty kitten weighing less than two pounds, arrived at the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic in the Summer of 2021 with a painfully swollen eye. Her eye was simmering with infection making it completely unusable. Pebbles didn’t have a family to look after her – she was a junkyard kitten who had grown up with a large feral cat colony that lived in a dumping ground littered with broken-down car parts and decaying trash.

Teaming up to help Pebbles

Fortunately for Pebbles, she had been trapped and brought to our clinic by Kris Neal, who volunteers for a local rescue called The Jackson Day Foundation. This rescue took Pebbles in after she had been trapped for our Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) program. TNR involves fixing, vaccinating, and ear-tipping feral and stray cats, then returning them to their territory. TNR is a humane way to control the community cat population and stop the spread of fatal viruses, such as rabies and distemper.

After assessing Pebbles, our veterinarian, Dr. Gray, was deeply concerned. She’d discovered Pebbles had a severe upper respiratory infection that had moved up into her eye and was causing so much pressure that her eye would need to be removed immediately. Dr. Gray explained, “I was concerned because putting animals as small as Pebbles under anesthesia is incredibly risky. Most veterinarians won’t do it because of the risks involved, but Pebbles’ infection was so bad that if it continued to go untreated, it would most likely move into her lungs and other areas of her body, and she would die. So, performing eye removal surgery for her was critical to saving her life.”

Kelsie Watters, HSU’s St. George Clinic Manager, also knew that only a few veterinarian clinics in St. George have the capacity to help out the feral cat population, HSU being one of them. She shared, “For our staff, it doesn’t matter if the animal has a paying owner or is feral and without a home; we treat them all with the highest standard of care possible. Every pet’s health matters to us, even pets like Pebbles, who are not a priority to most.”

The surgery went well, but not without a hitch. Pebbles’ eye had so much built-up pressure that it ruptured as Dr. Gray removed it. But thankfully, Dr. Gray was able to stabilize her, and Pebbles’ recovery went smoothly. She went home with Kris, who looked after her and gave her antibiotics so her little body could heal.

Two kittens are better than one

While at Kris’ home, she found that Pebbles didn’t like touching or cuddling, which is not uncommon for feral cats. But to Kris’ surprise, Pebbles began to bond with another kitten, Daisy. Eventually, the two became buddies. One day, two women named Belinda and Beth came to adopt Daisy, but Kris told them that Pebbles and Daisy were now a bonded pair and that if they wanted one, she’d have to adopt the other.

Kelsie shared, “Belinda and Beth recognized that this was a special pair and decided to adopt both Daisy and Pebbles so they could stay together. Kris periodically sends updates on Pebbles, who has completely transformed in her new home. She now loves being cuddled and sung to by her caring adopter. It’s nice knowing that this junkyard kitten who had suffered so much now has a loving, happy life, thanks to our and Kris’ team. Everyone went the extra mile for Pebbles because we knew we were her last resort, and her transformation is what makes our work worthwhile.”

Over a year later, Kris brought a sweet and affectionate kitten named Polly into HSU’s St. George Clinic, who was in the same situation as Pebbles. She was a tiny feral kitten with a very infected eye who had been trapped for TNR and needed medical care. Dr. Gray performed the same eye removal surgery on Polly, who was up and ready to play again the next day. Kris is caring for Polly and keeping her from being too active while she recovers. When Kris shared Polly’s story with Belinda and Beth, they knew Polly was meant to be in their family, too. Once Polly is healed from surgery, she will join her new sisters, Pebbles, and Daisy, in their home.

2022’s Most Memorable Adoptions

Black and white shelter dog Domino sits on a leaf covered hill after being adopted. Domino was one of our most memorable adoptions in 2022.

We love ALL the animals who come through our doors, but we wanted to share the most memorable adoptions of 2022. 

Leo’s Adoption Story

Our staff was heartbroken by the sight of Leo’s condition when he arrived in early 2022. As one of the most extreme medical cases of the year, Leo would spend months in our care. Our staff fell head over heels for this sweet boy during that time. His adoption day was filled with tears of joy, knowing he was going on to live a healthy and happy life. 

Adoptable dog Leo poses with a teal bowtie collar on against a white backdrop.

Poe’s Adoption Story

Poe arrived at HSU in the fall of 2022. As a senior dog with minor health issues, he sat for over a month trying to find his perfect match. Poe won over our hearts after spending time in staff offices. Thankfully, he got adopted and found true love! Making Poe’s adoption story one of our most memorable.

Shelter dog Poe sleeps on a tan colored couch, resting his head on a pillow after being adopted.

Domino’s Adoption Story

Domino: Third time’s a charm for the tons of fun and then some, Domino. A wild child at heart, this young pup went through numerous homes before arriving at HSU. Unfortunately, his frat-boy antics needed some assistance from our behavior team. Luckily, he got the help he needed through our behavior team and after spending some time in a caring foster home. Then this lucky boy hit the jackpot with a loving family and a new canine companion. 

Shelter dog Domino lay on the ground smiling after getting adopted.

Sage’s Adoption Story

When Sage came into our care, she arrived with a group of guinea pigs. As social animals, we try and adopt them as bonded pairs or triplets. However, our Animal Care team quickly noticed the other piggies bullying Sage. So Sage was separated and placed by herself. Finally, her true personality started to shine, and she got adopted. Now she’s living her best life! 

Guinea Sage cuddles under blanket in adopted home.

Mitt’s Adoption Story

Mitts: Mitts was our longest-stay resident in 2022. Due to Mitts’ testy temperament, it took a while for her to find a home. One month passed by, then three, then five. During this time, she stopped eating regularly, and our adoption staff grew concerned for her well-being. They’d grown very fond of Mitts and wanted her to find a home, but they were losing hope. Then, in March 2022, David, a 69-year-old senior, read Mitts’ bio on our website and found her story appealing. He came in to meet her, and the rest was history! Now Mitts and David are keeping each other company. 

Shelter cat Mitts sits on  a chair in her new home.

We hope you find these stories as inspiring as we did. Thank you to all who’ve chosen adoption at HSU and granted a second chance to these deserving animals. Do you want to share your HSU adoption story with us? Join our Facebook group and share your story today!

Rabbit Hoarding Increases In 2022

Two rabbits sit in a small wire cage.

Cats and dogs are the most common victims of animal hoarding cases. Yet, HSU has seen a significant increase in rabbit hoarding in 2022. Hoarding typically begins with just a few unsterilized animals. However, breeding can become unmanageable when kept in close quarters, not accurately sexed, and separated. For example, rabbits can start reproducing as young as 4-5 months of age, gestate for 31 days, and have anywhere between 1-12 offspring.

Over-breeding is a problem

We have seen an increase in rabbit hoarding cases, and the community is struggling to keep up. HSU has taken in 783 rabbits since 2020. The average family surrenders 4 rabbits at a time, but some are surrendering up to 20 animals. Animal hoarding is a complex issue that encompasses mental health, animal welfare, and public safety. Most people do not intend to hoard or neglect animals, but with rabbits doing what rabbits are known to do, intentional and unintentional breeding quickly leads to hoarding conditions.

When dealing with these numbers, animal hoarders cannot provide minimal standards of care, including nutrition, sanitation, shelter, and veterinary care. Hoarding often leads to the over-breeding of animals, animal starvation, illness, and even death.

Some of the families HSU has worked with stated they wanted their children to experience the joys of raising baby animals, and then the breeding got out of hand. HSU encourages families to consider fostering instead. “We often have mothers and babies in all species looking for a loving home to raise their young. Fostering is incredibly rewarding as well as lifesaving for these companion animals,” according to Jolie Gordon, Foster / Volunteer Manager at the Humane Society of Utah.

Consider fostering or adopting instead

“The Humane Society of Utah discourages the public from purchasing unaltered rabbits from pet stores or fairs. Rabbits in pet stores are often separated too young from their mother, which puts them at a greater risk for health issues.” Said Juli Ulvestad, Pet Resource Center Director at HSU. “In addition, they are frequently not sexed accurately and do not come spayed, neutered, microchipped, or vaccinated like the adoptable rabbits at HSU. We have even had members of the public unknowingly purchase single pregnant rabbits from pet stores.”  

The Humane Society of Utah Admissions team works with pet owners who choose to surrender some of their animals and helps them adequately care for their remaining pets. We offer assistance through spay and neutering and sharing information about community resources. HSU has 9 rabbit kennels, and rabbits currently have an average on-site length of stay of 18 days. Rabbits make great pets. However, they take considerably longer than cats and dogs to get adopted. If you are interested in adopting a rabbit, visit

In severe cases that require police intervention, HSU will work with law enforcement to help get justice for the animals.

Luna’s Story: Keeping Families Together

Luna the beagle sits in a medical kennel under a blanket in the St. George Spay and Neuter Clinic.

Luna, a senior Beagle, age ten, with big, beautiful eyes and long, drooping ears, was not doing well when her guardian, James, brought her to an emergency clinic in St. George late one January night.  She was lethargic and had stopped eating. She also had a distended abdomen and appeared to be in pain. 

 While at the ER, Luna was diagnosed with pyometra, a life-threatening disease resulting from hormonal changes in the female’s reproductive tract. The best and only prevention for pyometra is to have your dog spayed, which Luna was not. James was concerned for his beloved dog and over the cost of the surgery she needed to save her life. As a veteran living on a fixed income, he couldn’t afford it, and he’d already spent hundreds of dollars at the emergency clinic. 

Luna’s second chance

Upon hearing James’ concerns, the ER staff contacted the Humane Society of Utah’s St. George Clinic to see if we could help. After discussing the situation with James and realizing he would do anything he could to care for Luna, Dr. Gray, our compassionate veterinarian, offered to provide the surgery through our Pet Retention Program at an affordable price.  

Regarding her decision to help, Dr. Gray said, “Unfortunately, animals are sometimes euthanized for pyometra because their guardians cannot afford the cost of surgery. Our Pet Retention Program provides medical care and other support to guardians who have fallen on hard times or to individuals like James, who are caring veterans living on a fixed income.”

During Luna’s surgery, Dr. Gray discovered that her uterus was severely infected and filled with pus. She explained, “her uterus was one of the largest we have ever seen in a dog her size because of how pus-filled it was. Without the surgery, she would not have survived.” The surgery went well, and Luna reunited with a tearful James that same day. As he picked her up from our clinic, James expressed his sincere gratitude for our help in saving his beloved companion’s life.

Dr. Gray gives Luna an exam at our St. George Clinic.

While Luna’s surgery only took 30 minutes, it would take two full weeks for her to regain her energy and start eating normally again. Once she was feeling better, her sweet personality came to life, and when she walked into our clinic for a free check-up, her tail was wagging, and her eyes were bright. During the exam, Luna received lots of love and affection from our medical team, who were happy to see her doing well. 

Dr. Gray shared, “We want other guardians to hear Luna’s story so they can be aware of pyometra and take preventive measures for their beloved cats and dogs by having them spayed early on in life. Pyometra is quite common but 100% preventable. One in four unspayed female dogs over ten will get pyometra, which is life-threatening and generally expensive to treat. When female dogs are spayed, pyometra is no longer a risk later in life.”

Helping dogs like Luna

HSU offers affordable spay services to ensure our community members can easily access this critical service for their pets and to prevent pyometra. But HSU understands that even a low-cost service can be unaffordable to some. Through HSU’s Pet Retention Program, our St. George Clinic has helped many members of the homeless community and those who have experienced domestic violence by waiving or reducing costs for services and providing much-needed supplies like pet food, cat litter, etc. 

Luna receives pets from St. George Clinic staff.

“We don’t want anyone to have to surrender a pet due to lack of funds,” said Dr. Gray. “It means a lot to us to be a resource to our community members in this way.  We feel privileged to share our skills with individuals and families in need.” 

Learn more about Pet Retention Program here.