Today, we welcomed to the show, Claudia Labbe, the Fundraising/Public Relations Chairperson for Your Humane Society SPCA (also known as the Humane Society/SPCA of Sumter County, Florida).  Claudia has loved animals all her life but until age 21 was allergic.  When she was free from her allergies her pet family grew.  Today she has a horse, a donkey, a mini mule, a dog and two cats.  She is a vocal advocate for estate planning for your pets reminding pet parents, “It is just one more way to be a responsible pet owner.”

Before joining Your Humane Society SPCA, Claudia was a zookeeper with the Silver Springs attraction, near Ocala, Florida.  She had a passion for bears and was able to care for them in this capacity.  She continues to help native wildlife as a volunteer and permitted transporter for Florida Fish & Wildlife where she helps with the rescue and transportation of injured, orphaned or sick wildlife.  r 

In honor of National “Make a Will” month, Claudia has been spreading the good word to pet parents about the importance of creating a plan for the lifetime care of your pets if you become disabled or die.  Last week, Claudia and I were guests on the NPR Affiliate in Tampa, Florida, on Talking Animals with Duncan Strauss.  We both believe in the power of estate planning for pets, specifically pet trusts, that can provide for your pet during its lifetime and then provide for your favorite charity.  Claudia believes that pets are members of our family that deserve to have the same protections as any other family member.  They are innocent beings that can’t simply be put in storage like a table or a chair.  Their needs are immediate in the face of the loss of their pet parent.   

Your Humane Society SPCA has been serving animals for more than 38 years.  They started as a small rescue and have continued to grow.  They are located on five fabulous acres in Lake Panasoffkee (say that fast four times!), Florida.  They are Sumter county’s oldest and largest no-kill shelter.   You can find out more about them at or on their Facebook page.   

There are some interesting programs at Your Humane Society SPCA.  One of my favorites is Adopt a Black Cat or Dog because, black dogs “make you look slimmer,” “black cats are like tiny panthers,” and “black dogs never look dirty.”  As the proud pet mom to an extra large black lab, I appreciate the dog sentiments.  There is some truth to the belief that black dogs and cats are adopted less, primarily because they can be hard to see in a cage if they are in the shadows and they don’t tend to photograph as well.  Other favorites are their “seniors for seniors program” offering reduced adoption rates for seniors who adopt older pets; and their “take two, they are small” kitten adoption program where they offered the opportunity to adopt two for the price of one!  I agree, kittens can be like potato chips, you can’t stop at just one!   

Your Humane Society SPCA relies on the donations of their supporters.  You can donate online, become a volunteer or participate in some of their virtual fundraising programs.  One especially fun program is the ResQWalk where you can take a walk, either alone or with your pet, log your miles and earn dollars for your favorite charity.   ResQWalk can be downloaded to your smart phone and is free to use.   

If you are stuck at home and doing some “fall cleaning”, check out their Wish List for things the shelter can use to help protect pets.