Removing Ticks

Have you ever had to remove a tick from your dog or cat? If you are anything like me, you squirm at the thought of it. I really dislike feeling these creatures with my fingers, even with the protection of a tissue. The Whole Dog Journal recently did a review of some tools you can (and should!) use. I hope this information will help you as much as it did me!
Also, check out this very informative and helpful article from the American Kennel Club. Note: they say NOT to use your fingers, as this can squeeze infectious material into your dog or cat.…/…/how-to-remove-tick-from-dog/

Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Brushing your dog’s teeth can make a huge difference in your dog’s health – and your wallet!

If you take it slowly, and get your dog used to the process (over several short sessions) this will be a breeze to do.

To get started, watch this helpful video:

Getting the enzymatic toothpaste onto your dog’s teeth – even if you are not yet able to brush – is really important and it will start breaking down the plaque. DO NOT USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE.

I have brushed my dog’s teeth since she was a puppy, and look at the pearly whites she has! She will be 6 years old this year. I am not brushing her teeth every day, maybe once a week. And it only takes a minute each time. Well worth it for her health, and not having to pay hundreds/thousands for multiple dental cleanings over her lifetime. I use the C.E.T enzymatic toothpaste (Virbac) and one tube goes a long way. I use a regular (human) soft toothbrush, but careful not to brush too hard. You can buy a doggy toothbrush, and they have softer bristles.

Don’t despair if your dog’s teeth look bad already – you will see a big improvement and your dog’s breath will be so much better. Just take it slowly and carefully in the beginning, as the gums are sore.

In event of severe periodontal disease, see your veterinarian This condition is very painful for your dog, and adversely affects his overall health, including organ function, so definitely see a veterinarian!

February is Spay and Neuter Awareness Month!

Help your pets live longer and happier lives by spaying and neutering them.

Spaying completely eliminates pyometra – a serious and potentially deadly infection of the uterus – and it greatly reduced the chance of breast tumors (50% of dogs with mammary tumors have cancer, and 90% of cats). Neutering males eliminates the chance of testicular cancer and enlarged prostate.

Spaying and neutering also curbs the undesirable behaviors associated with mating such as howling, roaming, aggression, urine marking and spraying.

Spaying and neutering are the most humane means to control the pet population and eliminate the suffering caused by pet homelessness.

Won’t neutering my dog or cat make him “less of a man”?

No! The ideas of masculinity and virility are based in human cultures and is something your dog or cat is simply not aware of.  Your best friend is still going to be the same dog and he is still going to care about the same wonderful things in life: play, belly rubs, treats and squirrels!

Make the best decision you can for your pet: Spay and Neuter!

The Animal Welfare Center is working on a program to provide access to affordable S/N services. Until we have this program up and running, please seek help from these other available resources:

PetFix (in Euclid)

Ashtabula Low Cost Spay Neuter:  440-789-9423 for dogs, 440-536-1926 for cats


American Veterinary Medical Association

American Humane Society


The Humane Society of the United States

Donate with Peace of Mind

In order for you to help pets in Ashtabula County in a way that is most meaningful to you, we have created different funds for you to choose from. The money donated to these funds are “restricted” which means that – by law – the Animal Welfare Center cannot use the money for any other purpose than for which it was donated.

Please open your hearts to pets in need in Ashtabula County and donate with peace of mind!

From the Executive Director: Roses are red….

The holiday celebration with all the cheer and bright lights is behind us. It is easy to feel a bit depressed, with so many weeks still ahead of us with short days and long, dark nights. So how about brightening things up with some poetry about pets? You may not think you have it in you, but actually… anyone can write limerick and haiku poetry – it is fun and simple!

A limerick is a 5 line poem, where the 1st, 2nd and 5th line rhyme, and the 3rd and 4th line rhyme i.e. AABBA. A haiku is a 3 line poem, where line 1 and 3 have 5 syllables and line 2 has 7 syllables. That’s it – easy, peasy! And it can really be addictive. Soon you’ll see everything through the “lens” of a limerick or haiku 🙂

To help with creativity, look at a photo, or out the window. You can also go to a shelter website and look at photos, or better yet, visit a shelter in person! If you need help with counting syllables, you can find free counters online.

Please share your poetry in the commenting box below.

To help get you started, below are a few of mine.

Happy writing!
Unni Heineking, Executive Director

NOTE: the beautiful photo of the tuxedo cat with rose is from

Image from:

There once was a dog named Dun
Whose favorite thing was to run
He ran like the wind
With both ears pinned
And left his shadow in the sun

Limerick. Unni Heineking

Sierra has a face like a heart
And perhaps she is also very smart
No one to love her
She has stainless steel above her
Waiting for a friend and a new start

Limerick. Unni Heineking

Sierra is currently up for adoption at Lake Humane Society!


Look at my big brave smile
Why is my new world so confusing?
Dreams,  bones and walks

Haiku. Unni Heineking

Golden glow, alone
The birds are chirping high in trees
Memories of home

Haiku. Unni Heineking

A Holiday Greeting from the Executive Director

Christmas is almost here. There is still so much to do and so little time. Are you frantically trying to come up with a more fun gift for Aunt Sally than those pair of slippers you bought last week? Or struggling to find some time to go shopping for the ingredients to that new cookie recipe you want to make for the dessert table on Christmas Day? It can be overwhelming!

My hope is that you will take the time to “stop and smell the roses”, as it were, to really enjoy the holiday, not just be driven stir crazy by it.

Maybe those slippers aren’t the most innovative gift for Aunt Sally, but they will certainly keep her feet warm. And those cookies, even though delicious, can wait another year to be made.

Make some tea, light a candle, and sit down.

Let your cat sit in your lap as you sip your tea, petting her soft ears and listening to her calm purring. Notice all those lovely colors in her fur, and feel the warmth of her body.

Take your dog for a walk, share a fun game of tug, and give him the belly rub he so loves. Look deep into his eyes, and “see” the amazing soul that lives behind them.

Feel all your stress melt away.

Oh, what would we do without the pets in our lives!! They keep us sane, they are our confidants, and they make us feel very loved.

May you, your family and your pets have a loving and blessed Holiday together!


Unni Heineking, Executive Director