Category Archives: Community

Thinking about Military Working Dogs this Memorial Day

As many of you know, at Christmas time, the staff at AHDC donated toys, treats, and other items to some very hardworking Military Working Dogs. It was such a fun way to give back to our Canine friends, and the men and women, who sacrifice so much to serve for our Country. If you missed the blog, check out our Giving to Military Dogs post.

On Memorial Day, our hearts are a bit heavier as we think of the fallen Military Working Dogs and their mourning Handlers. The relationship shared between a Military Working Dog and their handler is a very special one indeed. Think of the level of love and trust they must have for one another. Imagine the grief felt by one if the other becomes a fallen Soldier.

This Memorial Day, as we think of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our Country and for our Freedom, let’s also remember the Canine Soldiers who have done the same. These dogs don’t volunteer their service, but they give every ounce of energy they have to their assignment. They are loved deeply and missed incredibly.


House Calls Come to AHDC!

Did you know Dr. Zajac now makes HOUSE CALLS?!

Do you receive Fluffy’s yearly reminder that her annual visit and vaccines are due and worry about making it into the hospital? Or perhaps your normally mild mannered kitty turns into a wild tiger when she goes to the vet! A house call may be a good solution for you!

Is Scruffy having an issue you would like us to address, but you’re unable to get to the hospital for one reason or another? Give us a call to discuss scheduling a house call. Keep in mind, though, that some illnesses are best treated in the hospital where we have the equipment to best care for your pet.

When it comes time to say goodbye to your beloved pet, the thought of taking him or her out of his home and his comfy bed may be too much to bear. We can come to your home so that you may say your goodbyes while your pet is in the comfort of familiar surroundings.

If you are interested in scheduling a house call with Dr. Zajac and live in the Harrisburg or Hershey area, please call 717-652-1270 to discuss the options with one of our Customer Service Representatives.

Bird Body Language

By Dr. Balmer

Did you know January was National Adopt a Rescued Bird Month?  Birds can make great additions to many families; but when considering any type of pet, it is best to first learn about their different behaviors, likes, and needs and consider how they would fit in with your family’s lifestyle.

Most of us are familiar with the meaning of a dog’s tail wag or a cat hissing.  Birds can be a little more elusive to those unfamiliar with them.  However, it is just as important for bird owners to learn how to interpret the sounds and behaviors of their feathered friend in order to respond in a positive manner.

One of the basics to bird body language is in their eyes.  Birds will often pin and flash (constrict and dilate) their pupils when they are feeling aggressive, nervous, scared, or excited.  To determine which feeling is motivating their pinning, you must also pay attention to the behaviors accompanying this action…

Aggression: Along with eye pinning, eyes will be slightly closed and elongated.  They may also fan their tail, hold their wings open or semi-open, or flap their wings.  Their mouth may be open and they may become stiff and lean down and forward with their neck stretched out.  They can also charge or try to bite.

If a bird acts this way toward you or another person or animal, beware.  This is not a happy bird and a bite or attack may follow if you do not heed their warnings.

Nervousness/Scared: These birds will also be pacing side to side or backing away to look for an escape route.  They may try to nip/bite or take flight.  Their body may be quivering or they may be lying on their back with the mouth open and feet up, ready to defend themselves.  You may also see heavy breathing and an overall “scared” look.

It is best to give these birds space to avoid over stressing them or causing them to become aggressive.

Excited/Pleasure:  While these birds are eye pinning, their eyes will also be wide open.  They will likely be vocal and trying to rub or snuggle their beak or other body parts against people or objects.  They may also move their heads, wag their tails, regurgitate, or offer a foot to step up.

These birds have a general “happy” look (sometimes too happy as these can also be signs of mating behavior).

Note: Birds with solid color eyes can be tougher to read.  In general, if their eyes are round, they are happy.  If a bird’s eyes are almond shaped or slightly elongated, give the bird space to allow him or her to calm down.

Now that you have this basic understanding of reading a bird’s body language, you may want to begin to consider adding a bird to your family! As you start the process of choosing the right bird for you and your family, be sure to seek more “bird knowledge” so you can provide the best care possible for your new friend!

Dr. Balmer is now seeing exotics! Book your appointment with her by going to our online scheduler..

Military Dog 1

Giving to Military Dogs

By Daenna Cerisini

The Holiday season is known to many as the season of giving; I know I always seem to get in the giving mood come this time of year! I enjoy giving to all of the people I love and care about – family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers. The kind of giving I enjoy the most is charitable giving.

Military Dog 1

There are many ways of giving back or donating items for a good cause. This year, with the help of everyone here at AHDC, we were able to make an amazing care package to send to military dogs overseas. The package contained many dog care items including KONG toys, shampoo/conditioner, combs/brushes, doggy toothpaste, blankets, towels, travel food and water bowls, and many other items to help care for a group of 5 dogs that are currently serving at a U.S. military base. The dogs’ ages range from 2-11 years old; and their tasks include explosive detecting/training and protecting designated troops.


Too many military dogs go without dog care items we easily have access to here. Donating items is a great way to give a little love to these pups across the globe. I know I can speak for the entire AHDC team when I say sending that the package gave us an immense amount of joy! There are many individuals and families that I think would love to donate items but are not quite sure how to go about it, the following is information on how to go about sending doggy care packages:


The United States War Dog Association, Inc.- A non-profit organization that sends packages to military dogs all over the world, packages are sent year round. Examples of items needed for care packages include: K-9 cooling mats, nail clippers, brushes, doggles, dog shampoo and toothpaste, and dog treats (made in USA only). This organization also collects items for dog handlers some of those items include: chapstick, sun block, gum, writing materials. For a full list of items accepted and address to send to visit their website

Military Dog 2

Operation K-9 Care Package– Has been sending care packages to US military dog teams since 2010, for a list of items and address of where to send visit their Facebook page listed as Operation K-9 Care Package.


Support Military Working Dogs– Their mission is to provide cooling vests, doggles, and other protective gear to help the military dogs in active war zones and extreme conditions. This organization only accepts checks or credit card donations. The gather the equipment themselves as this type of wear is specialty order items. The cost of one outfit for a military dog can cost more than $400.00, so any donation is greatly appreciated.

Check The Chip Day is August 15th!

Is your dog or cat microchipped? In a study of more than 7,700 stray animals at animal shelters, only 22% of dogs and less than 2% of cats that were not microchipped were reunited with their owners. The return-to-owner rate for microchipped dogs was over 52% and for cats it was about 38.5%. The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) have joined together to create a day for reminding pet owners to have their pets microchipped and to keep the registration information up-to-date. “National Check the Chip Day” is this Friday, August 15th. A microchip is a small, electronic chip enclosed in a glass cylinder that is about the size of a grain of rice. Instead of running on batteries, the microchip is designed to be activated by a scanner that is passed over the area and then it transmits radiowaves that send the identification number to the scanner screen. Microchips are also designed to work for 25 years. Implanting the microchip is as simple as a quick injection between the shoulder blades and can be done in a routine appointment. No surgery or anesthesia is required and it is no more painful than a typical injection. You can take advantage of the day by making an appointment with us to have your pet microchipped. Then be sure to immediately register the chip. There are many databases that allow you to register your pet’s microchip but the one that animal shelters and veterinarians search first is AAHA’s Universal Pet Microchip Lookup Tool. Or, if your pet is already microchipped, you can check the chip’s registration information by going to the manufacturer’s database and making sure everything is up-to-date. Most of the time if an animal is microchipped and not returned to their owner, it’s because the information is incorrect or there isn’t any information provided. A microchip does not replace identification tags or rabies tags. Identification tags are the easiest and quickest way to process an animal and contact the owner. If the pet is not wearing a collar or tags, or if either the collar or ID tag is lost, a microchip may be the only way to find a pet’s owner. Rabies tags allow to others to quickly see that your pet is vaccinated against the disease. It is more difficult to trace a lost pet’s owners with rabies tags as it can only be done when veterinary clinics or county offices are open. Microchip databases are online or can be reached through the phone 24/7/365. You can use this useful flyer from the AVMA to keep a record of your pet’s microchip number and manufacturer.   The Animal Hospital of Dauphin County has been caring for pets in the greater Harrisburg and Hershey communities since 1962. We started out in a small, three-bedroom house (now home to our business offices) and have transformed into a 6,000 square-foot, fully equipped animal hospital. Our knowledgeable veterinarians and dedicated tech staff provide the best care possible for your pets with state-of-the art diagnostics and wellness care. It also includes listening carefully to you, our partner in your pet’s healthcare. Our focus on prevention and early detection of diseases allows for more effective treatment and a longer life for our pets. We update our testing methods and treatments through continuing education and by consulting with specialists in many disciplines.

Veterinary Discount for Military Personnel

Veterinary Discount for Military Personnel We are now offering a 10% discount to all United States military members to thank you for your service to our country. This includes active, inactive and retired members who provide a valid military ID. Qualifying military members and their spouses (spouses must bring a copy of their spouses military ID) will receive a 10% discount on services rendered (this excludes products). This discount will begin on Memorial Day but will be ongoing with no end date.

AVMA Tools for K-12 Educators

AVMA Tools for K-12 Educators
The AVMA recognizes the important role of teachers, counselors, parents, and advisors in guiding the future careers of today’s students. With a growing need for trained veterinarians to protect animal and human health, AVMA has created materials to help you cultivate your students’ interest in science and technology.
The AVMA educational products and activities are targeted to various grade levels and most can be easily downloaded for use in the classroom. For materials available upon request, Contact the AVMA, call 847-285-6655 or go to:

Know the Law: The Animal Welfare Act

The Animal Welfare Act was signed into law in 1966. It is the only Federal law in the United States that regulates the treatment of animals in research, exhibition, transport, and by dealers. Other laws, policies, and guidelines may include additional species coverage or specifications for animal care and use, but all refer to the Animal Welfare Act as the minimum acceptable standard. The Act is enforced by the USDA, APHIS, Animal Care agency. To learn more, go to:

Schedule Pet Play Dates

Dog-friendly canines benefit from play dates. Consider arranging play dates with your dog’s favorite friends, which can be done right in your backyard or at pet-friendly parks. Even when the weather outside isn’t the most inviting, dog parks can give your dog both off-leash exercise and interaction with other canines. Doggy daycares are another way to give your dog interaction while you’re away from home or when you just need a break