Pet column: Introducing Hopeful Henry |

Pet column: Introducing Hopeful Henry

Niki Congero
Special to the Tribune

Hello South Lake Tahoe, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, Niki Congero. I am the new executive director for the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. It is my pleasure is to continue the weekly pet column that has been so successful. One of my goals — in addition to maintaining our popular programs like the spay/neuter vouchers, the emergency vet funding and our education efforts which include My Reading Buddy and the Barton Memorial Hospital Animal Visitation program — is to have the Humane Society become more interactive with the community. Hence the change in our weekly column.

I’d like to introduce “Ask Hopeful Henry.” Hopeful Henry has been the Humane Society mascot since 1967 and will be taking a more active role in promoting the Humane Society. The column will move forward as a “Pet Advice” column. You can ask Hopeful Henry any non-medical, pet-related questions.

You can submit your questions or letters via email to or by mail to P.O. Box PET, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158. The Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA now has a Facebook page, so stop by and check it out at You can also become a Facebook friend of Hopeful Henry at

Come join us at our open house Feb. 25 from 2-7 p.m. at our new office location 870 Emerald Bay Road, Suite 104. You can meet Hopeful Henry and the rest of the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA crew.

Now for this week’s letters:

DEAR HOPEFUL: My cat is a stand-up pee cat so, even though he uses the litter box, the sides are not high enough to prevent a mess. Any suggestions? Thanks, Bob.

DEAR BOB: This is a common problem. The biggest issue is there are virtually no liter boxes with tall enough sides to accommodate the “stand-up pee cat.” What I do for my cat is use a plastic storage container that is 16 inches tall, 27 inches deep and 18 inches wide. You can use any storage container as long as it is at least 16 inches tall. All you need to do is cut a hole in the side or front of storage container. The hole should be about 10 inches tall and 8 inches wide and should start 4 to 5 inches from bottom of box in order to leave enough room for litter. You will need about 30 pounds of litter to fill the box. Cutting the hole can be a bit of a challenge, as you don’t want the plastic to crack, I recommend a dremel tool so you can use a drill bit or a cutting bit. If you drill a start hole, a sharp box cutting utility knife will also work. If you’re nervous about cutting the whole, call my friends at the lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA at 530-542-2857. They will set up an appointment for you to bring your box by and they will cut the hole for you. The great thing about using a storage container as a litter box is that they’re often cheaper, you can use the lid that comes with the box to cover it and it’s big enough even for the plumpest of cats. Don’t forget to still keep up with the scooping even though it’s a bigger box. No one likes a dirty litter box — especially your cat! Enjoy your new litter box. — Hopeful Henry

DEAR HOPEFUL: I’m new to the area. Do you know if I can recycle dog and cat food cans for dollars? Thank you, Arty

DEAR ARTY: You sure can, no pun intended. Just throw all those dog and cat food cans in a bag, make sure you separate them from your aluminum cans and take them all down to South Lake Tahoe Refuse at 2192 Ruth Ave. They are open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and can be reached at 530-542-8344. The current rate for can that is not aluminum is 25 cents per pound and, if your pets eat as much as I do, that can add up to a pretty penny! Recycling is a great way to help our planet and if you would like to help local animals you can request that the recycle dollars you collected are donated to the Lake Tahoe Humane Society and SPCA. Just let them know when you check out. Happy recycling! — Hopeful Henry

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