How many times have you hesitated to visit the SPCA, or any animal shelter, because it breaks your heart to see so many cats and dogs in need of homes?

“It makes me feel so sad to see them, since I can’t take them all home,” said one animal lover.

And she speaks for all of us. Now the SPCA at Cattaraugus County has solved that problem. Installed in the lobby is a big-screen television that rotates beautiful photographs of all the dogs in the shelter available for adoption. You can watch it for as long as you like, and if you see a dog you’d like to meet, one of the staff members will bring it out for you to get to know in the ”Meet and Greet” room.

Thanks to the Twin Tiers Camera Club, and high school senior Mikayla King, this system is up and working, to the benefit of visitors and pets alike. Thanks to Lotter & Lotter and an anonymous donor for supporting this cost.

Come take a look at the wonderful choices for you and your family, all sizes, all ages. Hoping the kittens and cats will be posted next.

LOBBY AND RENOVATIONS: When you visit you’ll see the updated lobby and that the HVAC system installation is finishing up. Staff and animals are so lucky to have this up-to-date system in place. The kennels are being painted in lovely pastel shades while funds are being raised for complete kennel renovations.

Think about a beloved pet you might want to sponsor a kennel in honor of, a plaque with their name on the door.

SPEAKING OF KITTENS, last week, in the kitten collection, were two adorable Seal Point Siamese kittens, about 10 weeks old. They were rescued by caring SPCA volunteers who were told that they’d been born inside an empty house. They searched the house and the fields, and finally were able to rescue them.

They will probably be the first to be adopted, but there are several others available that belong on magazine covers they are so charming.

WORKING TOGETHER: Lynda Opiela, the director of the brand new Allegany County SPCA, has been generous in sharing her time and expertise with our SPCA, from advice on vendors to tours of the facility for our board and volunteers.

Special attention has been given to kennel design (Lee Patterson Architects in Olean) as our board sets out to plan a much-needed, major renovation of the dog kennels if funds can be raised, in addition to a smoke alarm system for animal and staff safety.

She also is open to working with other shelters to share their new medical/surgical clinic for spay/neuter if enough area veterinarians can be found to staff it. It would be a dream come true to have a low-cost spay/neuter clinic available, particularly for feral cats to cut down on the proliferation.

SPAY/NEUTER PROGRAM: The city of Olean is supporting a trap/neuter/release program for stray and feral cats, a good thing. Anyone who wants to participate should call the Mayor’s office at 376-5615 to be put in touch with the Cattaraugus County Cat Nippers, a group that will give you the guidelines and training.

Residents who want to pay for spay/neuter for cats in their area are welcome to do so, as long as they are returned to the spot where they were trapped.

At this point the closest low-cost spay/neuter clinic is Operation Pets in Buffalo, which is working with the Cat Nippers. For feral cats they clip the tip of the ear to show they have been neutered. After neutering, the cats seem to fade into the background, particularly if there is a feeding place and shelter.

MUSIC TO CAT’S EARS: Cornell Feline Health Center reports a study showing that the stress cats feel before and after a visit to the vet can be alleviated by playing either classical music for them for 10 minutes before they see the vet, and 10 minutes after or “cat specific music” (cats purring and making happy cat noises) which is even more effective.

BACKYARD AGILITY PLAY AREA: Devoted SPCA volunteer Megan Mahoney has gone to Tractor Supply, a great friend of the dogs, for years, collecting donations to build an agility play area for the dogs. This beautiful 30-foot by 130-foot fenced area is now complete and used daily for staff and volunteers to play ball with the dogs.

Board members and volunteers are learning the basics of agility training, so soon all the dogs will be able to get extra physical and mental stimulation. Allegany Limestone Friends of Rachael also contributed.

OLEAN PUBLIC LIBRARY LOVES ANIMALS: Volunteers of the SPCA were invited to a meeting with the new head of library programming and gallery exhibit coordinator Leanne Oliveira to brainstorm ideas for joint ventures with animals and the library. Sessions on pet care, pet health, grooming tips, a pet photography contest, and more were discussed. Some interesting programs will be planned.

SAVE THE DATES: On July 28, come visit the SPCA booth at Art in the Park; on Sept. 7, meet an SPCA animal at Pet Supplies Plus; and on Sept. 27, there will be Rock & Roll with the SPCA, dance fundraiser at the Pulaski Club.

And watch for news about the beautiful handmade quilt donated by Elizabeth Tabone to be auctioned at the dance.

THE SPCA in Cattaraugus County is at 2944 Route 16 North, P.O. Box 375, Olean, N.Y., 14760; 372-8492. Hours are Tuesday through Saturday, noon to 5 p.m; Sunday, 1 to 4 p.m.; closed Mondays.

Jim Eckstrom is executive editor of the Olean Times Herald and Bradford Publishing Co. His email is jeckstrom@oleantimesherald.com.)

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