Helping Animals and the People Who Love Them

Animal Connections
Published by the Virginian Pilot on 11-11-2018
Written by Lacy Kuller, Chesapeake Humane Society Executive Director

What an honor it is to fill in as a contributing columnist while Phyllis Stein is on hiatus to handle important family matters. I certainly have big shoes to fill!

I met Phyllis and Tony Stein in 2008. Since the 1970s, they had worked diligently to shape how our community treats and respects animals. They filled me in on the conditions of Hampton Roads animal shelters and how far we’ve come since that time. Phyllis, a wonderful storyteller, described what measures she and Tony took to make a difference, be it helping a kitten or changing legislation.

In honor of Phyllis and in memory of Tony, this column is dedicated to the area’s compassionate animal welfare providers – and to the hard work still to be done.

I have volunteered and worked in animal welfare for over 10 years now. There is still a lot to learn. It’s not just about basic animal care, although that is certainly an important component. To be successful in this field means building a team of staff and volunteers who have excellent customer-service skills and are knowledgeable in animal behavior and training, shelter medicine, fund development and marketing strategies just to name a few elements.

I’ve found that those in this field don’t just work with animals, they dedicate their lives to improving the lives of animals. When it’s time to clock out for the day, more often than not, they head home to provide around-the-clock care for a foster animal or two … or more.
Animal welfare professionals also serve the people who help animals.

Chelsea Tracy Photography

That’s done through programs that provide low-cost veterinary care and pet food pantries; match appropriate animal companions to families; instill compassion for all living things in our younger generations; and serve as an important resource when people can no longer care for their animals.

If you look at the websites for our local animal shelters, they mention people, humans and community: “…help pets and the people who love them find each other and stay together”, “…eliminating animal suffering while increasing human compassion”, “…promote the human-animal bond.”

The message, in short: In order to create a community that embraces our companion animal residents, we must work together. Shelters are dependent on support from the community, and in many ways our community is dependent on the vital, life-saving programs and services that animal welfare organizations provide.

So the next time you visit a shelter or meet someone who volunteers or works with animals, thank them for their dedication. And I thank all of you who support the good work we do and/or provide a loving home to a companion animal.

I’d love to hear what animal-related topics you would like to learn more about. Please don’t hesitate to share feedback and suggestions with me.
Lacy Kuller is executive director of the Chesapeake Humane Society. She can be reached at

Russell’s Heating and Cooling Helps CHS Prep for Storm

September 18, 2018

Chesapeake Humane Society is tremendously grateful to Russell’s Heating and cooling for helping us prepare our building for Hurricane Florence. The Russell’s crew stopped by to work on our HVAC system but was unable to complete their work due to the impending storm. Instead of getting back to business, they offered to assist with securing our building! Hurricane preparations that would have taken our staff the entire day were completed in just hours.

Thank you, Russell’s, for this kind and unexpected gesture!

While we were lucky to miss the storm, Hurricane Florence has devastated our neighbors to the south. Please join us in keeping our sister shelters and the communities they serve in your thoughts.

Foster Families Help Basset Pups Find Homes

August 27, 2018

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but we know that rings true for puppies and kittens too! Recently, Chesapeake Animal Services accepted a large number of Basset Hounds including a mom with nine puppies.  Because the shelter is too stressful for a mom with young babies, they reached out to us for help. One of our dedicated foster homes kept the mom and her puppies together until they were old enough to be weaned.

Then, four foster homes took on the exciting but challenging task of preparing the litter for adoption! Thanks to the dedication of our foster volunteers, the hard-working team at Chesapeake Animal Services, and our caring medical staff, all nine puppies and their mom founds new forever homes during WAVY 10’s Clear the Shelters promotion. It is truly an inspiring thing to see so many forces unite to help homeless animals! 

We rely on our foster homes to help as many pets as possible. For more information on becoming a foster volunteer, click here.

Helping Homeless Animals: Tree for the Animals

Help the Chesapeake Humane Society light the 11th annual Tree for the Animals on December 18th from 3 to 4:30 p.m.  You can purchase a light in honor of a pet or loved one and all proceeds benefit homeless animals in Hampton Roads.  Click here to purchase a light online or visit White’s Nursery.


Happy Paws Introduces K9 Nose Work Class

November 3rd, 2016 

If you’re looking for a new way to exercise and engage your dog, the answer is right under his (or her) nose! Happy Paws, a humane pet training center endorsed by Chesapeake Humane Society, Norfolk SPCnose-workA, and the Virginia Beach SPCA, now offers K9 Nose Work Classes. These exciting classes use detection dog training methods to develop your pup’s searching skills! Nose work burns off mental and physical energy, improves your pet’s problem-solving abilities, and strengthens the bond you share. Because all dogs conduct their searches individually, this is a great class for reactive or shy dogs! Visit the Happy Paws website for more information or to sign up.

CHS Partners with Pets For Patriots

October 11, 2016

Chesapeake Humane Society is proud to announce its newest adoption partnership with Pets for Patriots. The Pets for Patriots program serves individuals from all branches of the armed services at any stage of their careers, including retirement, by helping them overcome financial barriers to pet adoption. This program also helps save the lives of dogs and cats over three years of age, special needs pets of any age, and dogs weighing 40+lbs of any age.

Individualspets-for-patriots-logo who rescue a qualifying pet from an adoption partner like Chesapeake Humane Society receive access to a virtual pet food bank, ongoing discounted veterinary care from veterinary partners, and sponsor-provided discounts on pet products. At Chesapeake Humane Society, qualifying adopters receive a $25 discount on their adoption fees. To receive benefits from Pets for Patriots, adopters must apply through the program directly. We are excited for a new way to say “thank you” to our service members and veterans!


“Perfectly Imperfect” Blog Post by Jennifer Milius

August 3, 2016

Jennifer Milius

 The following is an excerpt from a blog post by Jennifer Milius. Jennifer is a Chesapeake Humane Society supporter, cat lover, and writer. She has written several children’s books about her two adopted cats, Einstein and Moo.

“How many times have you realized that something was perfect as it is, even though what could be considered an important item to have was missing?  Mark and I were out for dinner one night at a place with an outdoor patio that faces a plaza and fountain. It was lovely sitting outside enjoying the wonderful food and beautiful weather. As we were finishing dinner, we noticed a dog with a wheeled contraption supporting his back end, but with no back legs. That pup was as happy as he could be with his tail wagging while people would stop and be allowed to pet him…”

To enjoy the entire post, please click here.

Happy Paws – Recall tips

July 6, 2016


Nothing says summer like a romp at the beach with your dog, but what happens when Fido gets out of arm’s reach?


A strong recall (“come” command) helps keep pets safe.  Here’s some advice on how to train it from Tim Molina, Lead Trainer at Happy Paws Humane Pet Training.

  1. Call your pet, starting from a short distance away. Cheerful tones often produce better results. Remember to actually give the command “come.”
  2. Make yourself interesting. Clap, whistle, squat, open your arms, and cheer your dog in. Once he arrives, have him sit then spill the treats.  For your cat, make any sound that prompts him to come. Shake a bag of treats or open a can of cat food, then treat/feed as soon as he reaches you.

Tim abides by the Top 5 Rules of Recall when teaching this important skill.

  1. Never call your pet for something unpleasant such as nail clipping, medicating, bathing, or heading home from somewhere fun. For these activities, go to your pet instead.
  2. Never call your pet if you are not sure he will come. All recalls should be successful recalls. Work at your pet’s level. If he has a kindergarten level recall, don’t give him a graduate level assignment like being called away from a playmate or tasty treat.

Interested in learning all 5 Rules of Recall? Check out the Total Recall Course at Happy Paws. This class will teach you how to train your dog to come when called, even with distractions. While this course is just for dogs, remember that cats can be taught the recall command too!

Happy Paws is a collaborative project of the Chesapeake Humane Society, Norfolk SPCA, and Virginia Beach SPCA. Training offerings include individual consultations along with obedience, agility, shy, and reactive dog classes.

Chesapeake Humane Society Launches New Website

We are pleased to launch our new website…