When an animal has been through trauma, the ASPCA Animal Hospital has all the tools, experience and expertise needed to provide life-saving care. But although we are pros at administering medicine and conducting surgery, we know there is only one proven treatment that can heal broken a heart: a loving “forever home.” Here is the story of one such patient, a cat named Dulcinea.
In June 2014, Dulcinea (Dulcie for short) was found as a stray on the Bruckner Expressway in the Bronx, New York. She arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital in pain, suffering from unknown trauma that left her with lower jaw wounds and a burn on her back. She underwent surgery to remove the damaged skin tissue, and was soon transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin her search for a forever home.
At the Adoption Center, Dulcie grew increasingly standoffish. She was wary of people and animals, and it became apparent that her harrowing history had left her with lingering emotional wounds. She was having trouble wooing potential adopters until, four months later, a woman named Susan S. showed up and changed everything.
Last year, Susan lost both of her cats, Marabou and Molly-Plume, to lymphoma less than six months apart. Devastated and missing her feline companions, she agreed to join her daughter, an ASPCA volunteer named Allana, on a trip to our Adoption Center. “Of course we looked around at the cats who needed a home,” Susan recalls. “That’s when a feline behaviorist introduced me to a quiet little 16-month-old female cat who didn’t like being caged, didn’t like other cats and didn’t like people much, either.”
Although Dulcie was, in Susan’s words, “physically well but socially reticent,” Susan was intrigued by the green-eyed kitty. “When she came out of her cage to meet me, she seemed relatively relaxed and allowed me to stroke her head and scratch her chin.” At home that night, Susan’s couldn’t stop thinking about Dulcie, so she returned the next day and made the adoption official. “Although I have had a shelter cat or two all my adult life, Duclie is the first one with an ASPCA ‘pedigree,’” she says with a smile.
At Susan’s apartment in Manhattan, Dulcie made herself right at home. Susan says, “On arrival, she got a quiet private room, a cozy bed and all her necessities right at paw…Food, water ,litter box, scratching board, small toys. Within a day, she made it clear that she wanted to leave her room to explore. She promptly made the full apartment her own.”
Over the next six months, Dulcie continued to transform. “She has flourished in every possible way,” Susan says proudly. “Her weight has gone from 7.5 pounds to a pleasingly round 10 pounds. Her coat has grown plush and glossy. She has found both her voice (chirp as well as meow) and her purr.” Dulcie now spends her days playing, chasing her toys, and enjoying the sweet life Susan has given her.
Susan adds, “Dulcie is not a cuddler but she is delightfully companionable. She routinely goes to her bed when I go to my bed at night, to her chair when I go to my chair at the end of the day. She’s also exceptionally intelligent and resourceful. It is a ‘happy tail indeed!’”
After traumatic injuries and a terrifying ordeal on the expressway, Dulcie was clearly ready for a peaceful, happy home—and fortunately, she found it with Susan. Congratulations to this happy pair!
Every now and then, we come across special adoptable pets that need a little extra help finding a home. This week, we’re shining our Adoption Spotlight on Kissy, Jack and Janet—a trio of playful Akitas who are sure to make their future adopters very happy!
Kissy, Jack and Janet came to the ASPCA after being rescued by the Oregon Humane Society from a large, commercial breeding facility. Their life in the facility had left them terrified of human contact, so they were sent to the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in Madison, New Jersey. Over their four-month course of treatment, each dog’s sweet and special personality began to shine through. At the Rehab Center, they learned how to enjoy everyday activities like going for walks, being pet, coming when called and—most importantly—trusting humans again. Now these loving pups are ready to find their forever homes:
Kissy is a curious 5-year-old girl. She may be shy at first, but don’t let that fool you—this pretty lady would love nothing more than to play with you and her favorite squeaky toys! Kissy likes to play with other dogs and would be thrilled to go home with a patient adopter who can love and care for her.
Looking for a goofy, but clever, new best friend? Jack is your guy. This sweet boy loves going for walks and playing with his favorite toys. Jack loves his dog friends, but may need some training to help improve his manners.
Janet is an energetic girl who loves snow and zooming around a fenced yard! She can be reserved around new people, but this curious girl will warm up for walks through the woods with her new family. Janet likes other dogs and would love to go to a household with a dog friend she can play with.
These sweet dogs have been through a lot and they have so much love to give. They would like nothing more than to find forever families to call their own. If you’re interested in adopting or want to learn more about Kissy or Jack, please visit www.bigeastakitarescue.net or call (609) 388-7004. For more information on Janet, please visit www.sammyshope.org.
Great news: this week offers a very special opportunity to get involved and help animals in your community. National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 12-18, is the perfect time to make a difference. Here are three ways you can help.
Host a pet food and supplies drive. Animal shelters are always in need of basic supplies that can be found around your home or at your local grocery or discount store including food, towels and bedding, cleaning supplies, toys and other pet care supplies. Consider hosting a supplies drive to gather items from your friends and family members to donate.
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade. Help fight for the passage of stronger anti-cruelty laws on federal, state and local levels by joining the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade As a Brigade member, you’ll have the opportunity to help pass important legislation for animals within your region.
The ASPCA was excited to honor award-winning actresses Hilary Swank and Edie Falco at our 18th annual ASPCA Bergh Ball on Thursday, April 9. Emceed by actress Lake Bell and designer Isaac Mizrahi, the “pup art” -themed event was held at New York City’s Plaza Hotel and helped raise funds for the ASPCA’s lifesaving work on behalf of homeless, abused and neglected animals.
Swank received the ASPCA Compassion Award, which recognizes individuals in entertainment and the arts who have made outstanding contributions to animal welfare by utilizing their creative talents and prominence to bring attention and action to the plight of vulnerable and homeless dogs and cats.
Falco received the ASPCA Voice for Animals Award, which recognizes influencers who use traditional and modern media to increase awareness and inspire action on behalf of animal in crisis in the United States.
“Hilary Swank and Edie Falco have as much compassion as they have talent, and we’re thankful they’ve chosen to dedicate considerable time and energy to help animals in crisis,” said ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker. “The work they’ve done has helped save and protect countless lives, and the ASPCA is proud to recognize their commitment with these awards.”
The event also featured playing cards that showcased photos of dogs at cats at the ASPCA Adoption Center in New York City, as well as dog and cat prints by Andy Warhol, licensed by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Posing as jokers in the deck are Bravo’s Andy Cohen, with his dog Wacha, and actor Nathan Lane, with his dog Mabel.
Thanks to everyone who attended, and congratulations to our 2015 award recipients!
There’s no question dog fighting is a deplorable crime. Few things are more cruel, which is why the barbaric activity is a felony in every state. Nonetheless, organized dog fights continue, attracting large and surprisingly diverse crowds of participants and spectators in locations that range from rural towns to dense cities across the country.
By our estimate, there are tens of thousands of dog fighters in the U.S., forcing hundreds of thousands of dogs to train, fight, and suffer every year.
These are not fringe or rare events; dog fighting is a cruelty-for-profit industry. In the last five years alone, we’ve assisted law enforcement on over a hundred dog fighting cases, come to the rescue of more than 2,100 dogs, and helped prosecutors file 463 criminal charges related to dog fighting. Less than three years ago, we assisted in the raid of the second-largest dog fighting operation in U.S. history, involving over 350 dogs.
As long as this blood “sport” continues, we must do more to fight it. Animal fighting laws can be strengthened to ensure penalties match the severity of crimes committed. Police officers can be better trained to identify and investigate dog fighting cases. And law enforcement can be given adequate resources to care for canine victims so authorities are not deterred from raiding these sites.
By changing our local and national priorities, we can ensure that dog fighting is seen, treated, and punished as not just a heartless offense, but as one of the most despicable crimes in our society.
Achieving that goal requires the enthusiastic participation of law enforcement, as we have here in New York with our NYPD partnership. But to explore how police officers across the country view their animal welfare roles and challenges to them, we conducted a national study of over 500 law enforcement officers.
The results revealed that while most officers consider dog fighting a “severe” crime, 40 percent said limited resources—including money, time and manpower—pose a major obstacle when it comes to pursuing dog fighting cases. And nearly half (49 percent) reported that they need more training on how to investigate animal cruelty.
When asked how much specific training they’d already received, 52 percent of the officers said none whatsoever. And 75 percent reported that they had not received training or guidance on dog fighting cases in the last year.
These results show that many police officers are ready and willing to take on dog fighters, but aren't equipped with all they need to work most effectively.
More and more, local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are asking for the ASPCA’s assistance with these cases and for training on how to best investigate dog fighting. We’re committed to providing our expertise and resources to help law enforcement around the country combat this horrific crime.
But the public can also make a big difference. While every city has its own approach and barriers to fighting animal cruelty, what they have in common are communities of outraged people, eager to do whatever they can to end dog fighting for good.
If you hear or see anything that makes you suspect animal fighting or the training of animals to fight, notify the police immediately. Public tips are often the breakthrough authorities need to stop not only animal abuse, but other crimes often found at the scene, including drug dealing and illegal firearm sales.
Even if you’ve never heard about a dog fight, that doesn’t mean they’re not happening nearby. We also can’t relax simply because animal fighting is illegal. I’ve witnessed enough horrific crime scenes to know that animal fights can take place anywhere, and that they represent the absolute worst of human nature.
When we put more pressure on our local and federal government, offer more training and resources to our police forces, and ultimately give the issue of animal fighting the seriousness it deserves, many more lives will be saved from suffering.