It’s no coincidence that many of our Happy Tails begin with a magical moment. Adopters often describe the first encounter with their pet as, “meant to be” or, “love at first sight.” But not everyone believes in kismet and fairy dust, and Stephen L. was one such person. Assuming that dog adoption would be as simple as “picking a pet,” he never expected to have his heart stolen by a pit bull named Clipper. Here is their Happy Tail.
The first thing people notice about Clipper is his smile. It’s famous at the ASPCA, and it’s one of the sweetest things about him. The second thing people notice, however, is his scars. Clipper was rescued from an abusive situation in April 2014, and when he arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital he was covered in multiple bite wounds on his front legs and face. The wounds—both new and old—would leave him with permanent marks.
In June, Clipper was adopted for two weeks before being returned for being “too noisy” and “frightened of loud noises.” We knew he would need someone special, and, fortunately, Stephen showed up a few weeks later.
I grew up with dogs and remember them being some of the best parts of my childhood,” Stephen says. “I decided to adopt because I knew that there are so many good dogs that need a home. This applies especially to pit bulls.” At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Stephen set out to find a pit mix between 30 – 40 lbs., or as he calls it, “the perfect apartment-size dog.” He thought having a sense of weight and breed would be enough to guide the process, stating, “People told me, ‘Don’t worry about finding a dog, the dog will find you.’ I was just going to pick something cute and call it a day.”
Stephen met two pit mixes before being introduced to Clipper. “Since he fit my size requirements, I decided to meet him,” he recalls. “Before Clipper arrived, I was told that he was kind and sweet but very shy from being abused in his past, so not to worry if he didn’t approach me.” Not expecting anything miraculous, Stephen was taken aback by what happened next. “The elevator opened and out came Clipper. As soon as they brought him into the meeting area, my heart broke when I noticed his scarred face. Then he walked right up to me and gave me a big sloppy kiss on the cheek.”
Stephen finished his scheduled meetings with other dogs, but from that moment on, he couldn’t stop thinking about Clipper. “His big smile and his playful spirit, despite his rocky past—I knew then and there I had to make him my family.” He came back the next day for a “second date,” took Clipper for a walk, and then promptly took him home—after changing his name to Mr. Bingley, of course.
In the weeks that followed, Stephen and Mr. Bingley became inseparable friends. “It must be really difficult to uproot your life and, on top of that, to trust a complete stranger,” Stephen says of Mr. Bingley’s adjustment. “But he does not carry any of his past life in his personality.” The sweet dog now spends his days rolling in the grass, playing with his toys, and starring in his own Instagram account, @TheAdventuresOfMrBingley. Stephen says, “I know our relationship is still new, but I can’t imagine my life without him. He is the perfect thing to come home to, a bundle of sweet energy and puppy kisses!”
And though he had been skeptical of “love at first sight,” Stephen admits that he has learned so much from Mr. Bingley. “To say he had me at hello is a bit of an understatement.”
They arrived on leashes, in crates, and even in shopping carts. Mastiffs and Malteses, bulldogs and boxers, pit bulls and poodles. From the tiniest teacup Chihuahuas to giant German Shepherds—and even a handful of felines.
More than 300 pets were vaccinated at the ASPCA’s first-ever free clinic at Green Meadows Park on E. 89th and San Pedro Streets in South Los Angeles on Saturday.
In addition to free vaccines, the ASPCA offered free rabies tags and doses of flea and tick preventive, and made appointments for free spay/neuter surgeries for 90 cats and dogs in the coming week at its brand-new, fully-subsidized spay/neuter clinic, located at the South L.A. Animal Care Center.
Magaly Guevara, who lives nearby, arrived at 7 a.m. with her six Chihuahua/terrier mixes in tow: Trouble, Peluche, Quinn, Millhouse, Wednesday and Ladybird. As Dr. Katie Marrie administered shots, Trouble flinched—twice. “She’s a real drama queen,” Magaly admitted.
Andrea Ortiz and her daughters, Tatiana, 6, and Andrea, 12, carried their Chihuahua puppies, Princess and Cloud. Andrea’s mother-in-law Olga Jarquin’s three Chihuahua mixes rested comfortably in a shopping cart.
Closer to the front of the line, Salome Orea and her partner, Patricia Gutierrez, walked their brood of five: Rottweilers, Beauty and Beast; poodle mix Max; Bernese mountain dog mix Kiara; and German shepherd Kane.
Arthur Starks, with his two-year-old, black-and-white pit bull Arthur Jr. (A.J. for short), was grateful for the free vaccines. “A.J. is my one and only,” he said, rattling off the pooch’s many nicknames, which include Pop and Daddy. “He deserves the best.”
Over the past few days, ASPCA community advocates distributed more than 2,000 flyers over a 3.5 mile swath in the nearby [90003 zip code] neighborhood. Over 25 ASPCA staff and volunteers were on hand to man the event, which lasted five hours.
Earlier this year, the ASPCA announced a $25 million, multi-year commitment to save the lives of animals in the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area.
“Access to affordable pet care is vital in the effort to save the lives of animals, keeping them healthy, happy, and in their homes,” said Jennifer Anderson, Director of the ASPCA’s South Los Angeles spay/neuter clinic.
Patrick Hunter, who lives in the area, knows this all too well. His dogs Red and Roxy were beneficiaries of the ASPCA’s free services over the summer, and he has since signed up to volunteer. “The ASPCA really helped me out when I needed it,” says Patrick, a cook at a local hospital. On this beautiful fall day, he was distributing free leashes and collars to pet owners in attendance.
At noon, Mitch, a four-month-old tabby who had waited patiently in line for 2½ hours with his owner Monica Cortez, received his vaccines—without any drama.
Luis Vargas’s pit bulls, Boo Boo and Sky, were the last to be vaccinated. “I just got home from work,” said Luis, who is employed at a nearby supermarket. “My mother-in-law told me about this and said ‘you should take your dogs.’” Boo Boo and Sky made it just in time. To learn more about our work in LA, please read our recent cover story in ASPCA Action.
Curious pup Otis leaves no stone unturned! This inquisitive guy loves to sniff around and explore his surroundings—there’s nothing he’d like more than a Saturday by your side roaming Central Park. This funny guy will keep you laughing with his playful antics, but, like most city dwellers, he’s in a rush to get to where he’s going!
At times, Otis will bark to let you know he wants something and may be protective of his food, but our Behavioral team is available to give you tips on how to control this behavior. Otis would do best in an adults-only household with an experienced adopter who can give him lots of exercise and playtime. Adopt Otis today!
Otis is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Otis, please visit his profile page.
October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, and it could not have come at a more crucial time. According to the latest statistics, nearly 4 million dogs in the United States enter animal shelters annually—and up to 40% never find a home. It’s a staggering number, and it is a sobering reminder that our nation’s pet homelessness problem is very real and very tragic.
The ASPCA is determined to change that, and you can help. Here are three things you can do to celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month:
1. Adopt: There are so many adorable dogs at the ASPCA Adoption Center just waiting to find a home. And—as if their cute faces aren’t incentive enough—we’re also offering reduced adoption fees all month long: $40 for dogs who weigh more than 40 pounds! If you’re not in the New York City area, use our nationwide database tool to find dogs in need of home near you.
2. Share Your Story: Have you rescued a dog? We want to hear about it! Your stories are a great way to spread the word about the joys of dog adoption, and to inspire others to bring home a furry friend of their own. Plus, you’ll be entered for the chance to win an ASPCA prize pack and have your story featured on ASPCA Parents!
3. Donate: We understand that not everyone can bring home a dog of their own. But just because you can’t adopt, doesn’t mean you can’t celebrate Adopt a Shelter Dog Month! So far this month, over 250 animal lovers have stepped up and donated to support homeless pets. We are just 147 donors shy of our goal, and we hope that you can help.
This October, we want to save more lives than ever before. If you can’t adopt, do the next best thing: Make a gift today.
One of the realities of animal adoption is that not every animal fits in to every family. Every now and then, despite our best efforts, an animal will be returned after adoption. Such was the case with Leroy, a sweet gray kitty who spent nine months with a family before being brought back to our Adoption Center. But we never give up on an animal, and luckily for Leroy, the perfect couple came along and proved that sometimes, it takes two chances to find your one forever home. Here is Leroy’s Happy Tail.
Leroy first came to the ASPCA in October 2013. He was brought in from our city shelter—Animal Care & Control of NYC—with a stubby tail of unknown origins. He was adopted quickly, and we were thrilled to see him find a family. Knowing that he was taken care of, we returned our focus to the many animals still waiting for homes of their own.
Nine months later, however, Leroy was back at our door. The family could no longer care for him, stating that he had behavioral issues like crying and overeating. We took him back and recommitted ourselves to finding Leroy the forever family he deserved. Fortunately, Kristen and James arrived just in time.
Kristen and James moved to New York in August 2013—around the same time Leroy headed to his first home. The couple had both grown up with cats, and their move marked the first time either one had lived without one. But when dealing with a new city, new jobs, and new routines, cat adoption isn’t always in the immediate cards. “We wanted a cat from the get-go, but it didn’t really seem feasible with our schedules,” Kristen recalls. “But our apartment felt so empty.”
As the months went on, the couple found themselves missing feline companionship more and more. Kristen says, “About two weeks before we adopted, a friend visited with her cat and he was with us all weekend. It was fantastic, but after he left it just felt so lonely. We decided it was time.” They headed to the ASPCA Adoption Center, where Leroy, having just been returned, was waiting patiently for a new family.
Kristen and James met many kitties at the Adoption Center, but none seemed the right fit. Not ready to give up, they decided to visit one last group of cats. That’s when they saw Leroy. “He was laying down on an elevated platform, and when I walked over he looked up and snuggled my face,” says Kristen. “James came over and he did the same. We immediately fell in love” They adopted Leroy that same day, stating, “We couldn’t leave without him.”
Back at home, Leroy settled into his new life with ease. The couple renamed him Apollo, and he couldn’t be happier. “He loves to explore and watch pigeons out the window,” says Kristen. “He’s incredibly affectionate and playful—and his favorite toy is the Millennium Falcon!” In fact, Apollo is so content in his new home, he can’t help but brag about it! He keeps his own Facebook page that he updates himself, just to make sure everyone can see how much fun he is having.
While it’s always regretful to see an animal returned, we believe this is one instance where everything happened as it should. It may have taken two tries, but Apollo ended up in the best possible home—and in that end, that’s all that really matters.
Help us make more Happy Tails like these by making a gift to the ASPCA today.