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Spring 2010
Spring is the season of new beginnings and that's what our Adoption Center is all about - giving our shelter animals a new chance at a forever home! 

And for your own pets, spring is the season for... heartworm!  Take a moment to read Dr. Anne MacFarlane's article about heartworm prevention and care, it could be a lifesaver!

Kelsey in San FranciscoTransferred to Pets Unlimited from a big dog rescue in the North Bay, Kelsey was scruffy, anxious, and overwhelmed. Originally surrendered at a municipal shelter with her brother, a Mastiff, Kelsey languished while he moved on to a new home.  When she was picked up by the rescue and co-housed with other dogs, it became apparent that she was too under-socialized to be comfortable there.


That's when we received a call asking us to take Kelsey and find her a forever home. Immediately our shelter team knew she would be work - Kelsey was too nervous to be leashed, too scared to eat or even go outside. But, with diligence, patience, lots of cookies, and gentle support from the whole organization, Kelsey slowly began to trust her caregivers.


That's when Kelsey finally met her match in Maya, a long-time dog volunteer with whom we trusted Kelsey's fragile sense of safety. From the first time they met, Maya knew Kelsey was very special, and less than a week later she signed the adoption papers that gave Kelsey a new lease on life. Now Maya, Kelsey, and their cat Peg live in happiness, every day learning more about the world and all the beauty in it once you've found your way home.

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AveryIn this issue, we highlight one of our younger volunteers, Avery, who has been an incredible addition to the volunteer team. 

Avery has impressed the cat staff with her no-nonsense attitude and a trustworthiness that enabled her to become one of the few volunteers allowed to work in our special cat enrichment program. She also prepares the evening meal custom-tailored to each cat, another task entrusted to only a handful of volunteers. In kitten season, it is not unusual to prepare up to 35 meals, definitely an undertaking.

The Amazing Avery is also a dog socializer! The Pets Unlimited staff quickly noticed Avery's excellent dog handling skills, ability to carefully follow all protocols, and her dependability. As a result, she was allowed to become a dog walker at only 13 years old when our normal requirement is 16.

We are thrilled that Avery chose Pets Unlimited when deciding where to volunteer and we know that our dogs and cats are very happy with her choice as well.

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GinnyGinny, a sweet senior cat, was returned to our shelter after 11 years in her home. Our medical team determined Ginny had a medical condition that was manageable but made her virtually unadoptable. However, nothing could stop her sweet spirit and personality from thriving.  The Shelter Team began looking for a "fospice," a situation where Pets Unlimited continued to provide treatments and medication for Ginny while she lived in long-term foster care. 

We were truly lucky to have a wonderful cat volunteer, Patti, offer her home and make the difficult commitment. With our fospice program, Ginny was able to spend her time lounging in rays of sunshine and critiquing the Facebook posts of her doting foster mom.  Just days short of her one year foster anniversary, her health began to decline rapidly, and we made the decision to let Ginny go with grace and compassion.

By opening her home and her heart, and by rethinking what it means to give the very best to our pets, our foster volunteer was able to give Ginny the best possible final year of her life.

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Choose our vet center

The Legacy Giving Society is a unique group of investors in the mission and vision of Pets Unlimited. These generous and farsighted individuals have created a legacy of hope by making Pets Unlimited a part of their estate plans. By doing so, they have guaranteed Pets Unlimited's long term financial security and have satisfied their own dedication to helping cats and dogs in need.

Gifts conveyed to Pets Unlimited in one's will are used to insure our future, provide animals in need with the best housing and care possible, and allow us to continue making a humane impact in our community. Bequests enable Pets Unlimited to continue making a difference in the lives of animals and the people who love them.

If you would like more information about joining this invaluable group of Pets Unlimited supporters, please contact Kate Shilvock at

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Dr. Anne McFarlaneNow that spring has arrived, many people are spending more time outdoors with their pets, or are making summer travel plans including their pets.  As the days get longer and warmer, it's a good time to make sure your pet is protected against heartworm.  Heartworm is a potentially life-threatening parasite that is transmitted to animals by mosquitoes.  Many people in the Bay Area are not aware of heartworm disease, or believe their pets are not at risk of exposure.  However, environmental changes, increased animal travel, and increased real estate development in low incidence areas has led to the spread and increased prevalence of heartworms.  At Pets Unlimited, we recommend annual heartworm testing and prevention for all of our canine patients as part of our Standards of Care.
Signs of heartworm disease are usually not visible until its later stages, when the parasite is well established within the heart.  Treatment for heartworm disease can be lengthy, costly, and has
serious potential side effects.  Heartworm is potentially fatal if not treated.  However, this life-threatening disease need not happen.  Heartworm preventatives are reliable and easy to use, and are administered orally or topically just once a month.  Before starting medication, it is necessary to get a simple blood test to confirm the absence of heartworm, and then year-round prevention can be started.
Cats are potentially at risk for heartworm disease also, although diagnosis and treatment is not as simple as in dogs.  Testing is not required prior to starting a cat on medication.  If you have questions or need more information, please contact us.  The American Heartworm Society also has an informative website.

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From all of us at Pets Unlimited, thank you for your support!
Warm Wishes,
Pets Unlimited Team
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