Many of you may remember the story of Chuck. In 2013, he was abandoned with hind leg fractures outside of a New York City park. It was a frigid December day, and Chuck, unable to walk, had been left for dead. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the 2-year-old pit bull received surgery and underwent intensive physical therapy, and by the summer of 2014 he was ready for a forever home. It was an inspiring recovery, and today we are thrilled to bring you Chuck’s Happy Tail.
The first few years of Chuck’s life were anything but easy. At the time of his abandonment, he was suffering from an untreated joint disease in addition to the painful hind leg fractures. But his rescue from the cold was just the beginning of his journey: It took six months of surgery, hydrotherapy and treadmill work to help him regain the use of his legs, only after which we could begin the search for his forever home. Chuck was a happy, energetic pup, but his needs were extensive and we knew it might take some time to find a dedicated adopter. We decided to share his story with the world, and fortunately, fiancés Joan and Christian heard our message loud and clear.
Joan recalls her first impression of Chuck fondly. “Christian and I saw him on the ASPCA website and cried at his story,” she says. “Within minutes of reading about him and watching his video, we decided to adopt Chuck.” For Christian, the connection was personal. He says, “Chuck’s story hit home with me. I’ve had a few surgeries on my leg and I have a big pin in my hip…I gravitated right to him.”
Neither Joan nor Christian had been to the ASPCA before, but they couldn’t wait to get to the Adoption Center and meet the 40-lb. pooch in person. “We knew we loved Chuck as soon as we met him,” Joan says. “We wanted to give him a loving home and a chance for a happy life.” Although Chuck had made amazing progress during his six months in our care, he would always have special needs, so we made sure the couple was fully aware of his requirements. They were unshaken. “Who could resist that face?!” Joan laughs.
At the couple’s apartment in Queens, New York, Chuck made himself right at home. “It was as if he’d lived with us forever,” says Joan. The sweet pup is loving his new life and seems to have forgotten all about the hardship he’s been through. He’s got a constant smile and wagging tail, and Joan says, “Christian and I couldn’t be more in love with him. We were meant to be.”
To see Chuck in his happy new home, check out the video below. Congratulations, Chuck!
We need to reach this goal because there is still so much work to be done. In the first half of 2015, we launched major campaigns against dog fighting and farm animal cruelty, rescued more than 230 dogs in back-to-back raids of a puppy mill and an overrun shelter, facilitated over 1,100 animal adoptions—and that’s just scratching the surface.
But 500 is more than just a number. It represents a network of friends, supporters and animal-lovers who can come together and make a profound difference in the world. So please become a Guardian today. We—and the countless animals whose lives you will touch—will be forever grateful.
During the first week of May each year, we celebrate Be Kind to Animals Week. This year marks the 100th Anniversary of this very special occasion, and we’re excited to spend this week going the extra mile for animals in need. While we know our supporters are “kind” to animals year-round, we wanted to share a few ways to get involved now:
Join Team ASPCA to Help Animals in Need: "Create a personal ASPCA fundraising page for an important event in your life and share it with your friends and family. Whether you donate your birthday, honor the memory of a beloved pet or decide to run a 5K with Team ASPCA, the money you raise can make a big difference for animals in need nationwide.
Volunteer at Your Local Shelter: From walking dogs to fundraising, there are tons of ways you can get involved with your local animal shelter. Use our shelter finder to find a shelter or rescue group near you.
Adopt a Pet: There are countless dogs and cats across the country who are waiting to find loving homes. If you’ve considered adding a furry friend to your family, now may be the perfect time to visit your local shelter! Visit our Adopt section to find available dogs and cats in your area.
Sign Up for the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade: When you join the Advocacy Brigade, you’ll receive important alerts from the ASPCA. We’ll contact you when we need your help fighting for laws against animal cruelty.
Thanks for helping animals in need this week, and every week.
We can’t go back in time to protect animals before they become victims of neglect and cruelty, but there is a next best thing. At the ASPCA, we call it Cruelty Intervention Advocacy (CIA), a holistic intervention approach that takes into account how the societal challenges pet owners often face—including poverty, housing restrictions, lack of transportation, and limited resources—profoundly affect the animals under their care.
As we commemorate the 5th year of our CIA program, which started in New York City, I’d like to share why this uncommon approach is so necessary to keep animals alive.
Typically—and especially in the media—we focus on homeless animals at shelters, in foster homes, or on the streets, concentrating our efforts on rescue and adoption. And that’s certainly very important.
But imagine starting much sooner, when pets are still in homes but on the verge of being relinquished to shelters or abandoned to the street because their owners don’t have the financial, logistical, or other personal means to take care of them. In addition to becoming homeless, these animals can end up being hoarded, neglected, or abused.
This is the moment when targeted interventions can make a big difference—talking to people in underserved communities about their pets and the barriers they face, in order to connect them to support and resources.
The next step can take many forms, including:
Providing free or low-cost spay/neuter, vaccination, and other veterinary treatments
Making emergency veterinary care available for pets in need
Distributing free insulated dog houses to protect dogs who live primarily outdoors
Intervening in hoarding situations to help individuals reduce the number of animals in their homes, and to provide necessary care to those animals.
Connecting families to social services that may help them improve their overall conditions, which in turn helps animals.
This owner-aware approach is also very beneficial to shelters. When more pets are kept with their families, more shelter space opens up for animals who need it most, and shelter staff can spend more time and energy adopting out each animal in their care.
Our own successes help put these interventions in perspective. Since the CIA was formed in 2010, over 1,600 ASPCA financial grants have been gone toward emergency veterinary care for low-income pet owners, nearly 2,000 animals have been spayed or neutered, and crucial services have been provided in over 200 hoarding cases.
In June 2014, the CIA program expanded to Los Angeles, where our services have prevented over 1,600 pets from entering Los Angeles County shelters. In addition, hundreds of animals have been provided with vaccines at disaster preparedness events in low-income areas of New York City.
One such beneficiary is Patty, who in 2014 moved with her husband, their two daughters, and their 5-year-old terrier, Abby, from Florida to New York City so Patty’s husband could take a new job. But the position never materialized, leaving both Patty and her husband unemployed, with dwindling savings.
The family ended up at a homeless shelter, and though they tried to sneak Abby in, her barking made it impossible for them to stay. Desperate, Patty put Abby in a crate in their car. A passerby noticed and called the NYPD, who retrieved Abby and took her to the ASPCA.
This story could have ended with Abby going to a shelter, taking up precious cage space, as well as the shelter staff’s time, energy, and resources. But in Abby’s situation, the CIA team took over the case and met with the family. No citation was issued, and a foster home was found for Abby until the family could find longer-term housing. After several months, the family managed to find an apartment in Brooklyn, New York, and was reunited with Abby.
It’s remarkable that Patty was able to stay connected to Abby during the most challenging of situations, but we hope to make that outcome less remarkable over time. There’s simply no safer place for an animal than in a home with responsible owners. With the help of supporters, advocates and humane leaders, we can provide pet owners with resources that will keep families intact and stop suffering well before it starts.
One of the most effective ways to help shape laws is through in-person lobbying of legislators—and New Yorkers always step up! Nearly 100 animal advocates from across the Empire State gathered at the state capitol last Wednesday to make their voices heard at the ASPCA’s third annual New York Voices for Animals Day.
The day provided opportunities for animal advocates to speak directly with their legislators and staff in support of passing stronger animal welfare legislation, including measures that would provide relief to animal control agencies and taxpayers during animal cruelty cases, improve protections for animals during natural disaster responses and fighting investigations, and enhance trap, neuter and release (TNR) programs for the state’s free-roaming cats.
“While phone calls and emails are effective ways to communicate with lawmakers, face-to-face meetings make the most powerful impact, by far,” said Bill Ketzer, the ASPCA’s Senior State Legislative Director for the Northeast region. “An in-person meeting is the perfect way to show lawmakers that the constituents they represent are serious about animal protection.”
Before setting off to meet with legislators, advocates heard from several New York State lawmakers on the importance of animal welfare legislation. Senator Jeff Klein spoke passionately about the need for full-service shelters in the Bronx and Queens; Senator Kathy Marchione discussed the need to support life-saving and cost-saving TNR programs. Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal highlighted legislation offering a tax credit to adopters, and Assemblymember Deborah Glick called for assistance from out-of-state veterinarians during disasters and large-scale cruelty cases.
Event attendees ranged from first-time citizen lobbyists to experienced advocates—but all of them were dedicated, and some were even willing to forgo sleep to be a part of the important day!
Filmmaker Joe Whelski of Manhattan had been up late working on a client video but awoke at 4:30 A.M. in order to catch the ASPCA-chartered bus to Albany, which departed just an hour and a half later.
“I was just [in Albany] in March and got a nice reception from lawmakers,” said Joe. While we may not immediately know all of the results from lobbying, “It’s worth it even if a bill doesn’t pass, just to show the extent of support for animal causes.”
Adding to the excitement, two priority bills successfully passed through committee during the day’s events, bringing New York closer to having more resources for spay/neuter programs and better protecting animals in cruelty cases and during disasters—and proving that it’s when we come together as a unified voice for animals that real progress on legislation can be made.
The ASPCA fights to make sure the strongest laws are in place to protect animals across the country, but we can’t do it without dedicated advocates. “We work hard to pass animal-friendly legislation, but it’s the grassroots advocacy by constituents that can provide the tipping point,” said Michelle Villagomez, the ASPCA’s New York City Legislative Director.
We want to thank all of our New York advocates and our supporters nationwide for standing beside us as we continue to fight for animals here and across the country.
Don’t miss your state’s next lobby day! Sign up to receive ASPCA Advocacy Alerts to stay up-to-date on fun and informational events near you.