Ana Zorrilla

Host of Animal Life

As a compassionate animal lover, Ana Zorrilla was drawn to the Louisiana SPCA for the opportunity to make an impact in the animal and human community of New Orleans. She joined the team in February 2006, and was selected by the Board of Directors to lead the organization as Chief Executive Officer in November 2007.

Through her tenure as CEO, Ana has led the organization through Hurricane Gustav and the first evacuation of companion animals from an American city. In 2012, Ana became the first person in Louisiana (and one of less than 100 professionals in the country) to successfully complete the Certification of Animal Welfare Administrators (CAWA). 

Ana has also received accolades within her community as a recipient of New Orleans Magazine’s People to Watch, Person of Fashion, and as one of 50 honorees for New Orleans’ City Business’ Women of the Year. She has served on the Board of the Directors of New Orleans Outreach, The Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Greater New Orleans Camp Fire USA and Summerbridge/Breakthrough National Program.

Ana graduated from Loyola University with an undergraduate degree in English Literature and Secondary Education and went on to receive her Masters in Educational Administration from the University of New Orleans. A New Orleans native, Ana’s family includes three Jack Russell Terriers — Mila, Pepper and Sparky — and several box turtles.

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Summertime is here and that means that more people are out and about in public places like parks. Whether you’re an animal person or not, it’s important to know basic safety tips for interacting with dogs.

Teach children to keep a safe distance from unfamiliar dogs. Never leave a child alone with a dog and be sure to keep an eye on children playing outside in the neighborhood.

Sergej Razvodovskij / Shutterstock

Hurricane season is upon us. Does your evacuation plan include your pet?

Under no circumstances should you ever leave your pet behind. Pets are members of the family and should always be included in disaster preparations.

Linn Currie /

Warm spring weather brings good things, like flowers; bad things, like termites; and cute things... like kittens!

Late spring is kitten season, which sounds adorable but can be truly problematic. Newborn kittens flood local shelters, which often lack the resources to care for them all. 

Here's what you can do to help:

Kate Richardson

Losing a pet is scary. Do you know what to do if this happens?

As soon as you notice that your pet is missing, go to your local animal shelter in person to file a report. Be sure to bring a photo ID and a recent picture of your pet. After you do that, make flyers and post them around your neighborhood. 

If someone brings a lost pet to the local animal shelter, they're only legally required to hold it for a few days. So it's crucial to be proactive in your search.

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It's festival season here in Louisiana. That means tons of pet-friendly outdoor activities, which raises the question: to leash or not to leash?

Most parishes require that dogs be on a secure leash. There are some exceptions to this law for places designated as off-leash areas, like NOLA Bark in City Park.

Dog owners know that even the most obedient canine companions have their moments. Keeping your dog on a leash while out and about is the best way to protect him from traffic, crowds and other animals.

Marcella Miriello / Shutterstock

Allergy season is tough on everyone, including our pets. Just like humans, animals can  be allergic to a variety of things. And they even have some of the same symptoms. 

My dog Sparky was miserable, scratching and itching. A veterinary dermatologist tested him and determined that he was allergic to grass, trees and dust. Common pet allergens include pollen, dust, mold, cigarette smoke, cleaning products, and certain foods.

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My friend Shelly has a blind cat named Stevie. You might think that Stevie has a it bad, but in fact, he's just as active as any other cat.

The important thing to remember about disabled pets is that they adapt well to their limitations. They learn to rely on other senses and usually go on to lead normal lives. 

dwphotos / Shutterstock

We don't speak the same language as our pets. But it's amazing what they can communicate with their actions if we really observe them.

Recently, a Great Dane/Shepherd mix kept running from his owner's home. He showed up at our shelter several times over the course of a few months. He desperately wanted exercise and wasn't neutered. Running away was the only way he could express his frustration. Ultimately, his owner grew weary of paying fines to redeem him, and this lucky dog ended up neutered and placed in a new home with an attentive owner.

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Older animals are often overlooked in shelters across the country. This a huge loss for animals and humans. Older pets make excellent companions.

Pets are defined as "older" when they've reached approximately two-thirds of their life expectancy. A standard poodle, for example, has an average lifespan of 12 years. So at 8, he or she is ready to become a card-carrying member of the AARP — that's the American Association of Retired Pets. 

Kate Richardson

We all know that hydration is a key to good health. The same goes for our pets.

Like humans, an adult dog's body is comprised of about 60 percent water. For cats it's about 67 percent. When a dog loses just 10 percent of its body's fluids, bodily functions shut down; a 15 percent loss can be fatal. Cats tolerate dehydration a little better than dogs, but a loss of 20 percent can be fatal.

There's no set amount of water that your pet should drink in one day. But a good rule of thumb is that animals should take in about two and a half times more water than food per day.