1. Puppy Mill Survivors on the Road to Adoption
On February 7, 34 dogs who once endured terrible living conditions in a notorious puppy mill operation in Holly Springs, MS, were transported to the Big Apple in search of new forever homes. The dogs, many of whom are small breeds, are not the cute, cuddly pups often displayed in pet shop windows, but mothers and fathers who were used as breeding stock at the puppy mill.
Earlier this month, members of the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response Team, at the request of the Marshall County (MS) Prosecutor’s Office, led the effort to rescue a total of 96 animals from overcrowded conditions at this notorious mill. Several other organizations, including the Atlanta Humane Society, the Marshall County Humane Society, the Olive Branch Animal Shelter and MS State University’s Homeward Bound program, all stepped forward to take some of the rescued animals. Many of the lucky pups, including several Chihuahuas, Dachshunds and Yorkies, are now ready for adoption at the ASPCA Manhattan Adoption Center.
These special pups have spent their entire lives confined to tiny wire cages, which inhibit natural behaviors like running, playing and even stretching. Trading the stark environment of a puppy mill for novel sights, sounds and sensations can be tremendously overwhelming for these sheltered animals. Simple behaviors like potty training, sitting on laps or even walking on a leash are challenging activities. Ample recovery time helps, so too does the dedication of a very special adopterone who will provide lots of love and unconditional acceptance.
Think you have what it takes to care for one of these special pooches? Meet of a few of our extraordinary puppy mill survivors who are just waiting for laps to call their own.
2. ASPCA Happy Tails: Moose Face
On November 21, 2009, Beth Train of Hoboken, NJ, became the lucky pet parent of Walter, a handsome, two-year-old kitty with sparkling green eyes. We recently caught up with the new pet mom and her furry fella to see how Walter’s enjoying his new home.
ASPCA: When did you first meet Walter?
Beth: I met Walter in October after I saw his video on the ASPCA’s website. He stood out to me because he reminded me of a friend's cat whom I adored. I went to the shelter to meet him and a few other standouts, but I wasn't sure my schedule would allow me to have a cat. I couldn't stop thinking about him, though, and just felt like he was meant to be my kitty. So I went back in November and brought him home.
ASPCA: Tell us about the name “Walter.”
Beth: I love people names on cats and he just looks like a Walter to me. Sometimes I also call him Moose Face because his lips remind me of a moose's.
ASPCA: How has Walter settled into his new home?
Beth: Walter settled into our home immediately. He's got a spot at the end of the couch that belongs to him, and he complains if anyone else sits there. He has some fun toys, and his favorite thing is to chase his nemesis, the laser pointer.
ASPCA: Does Walter have any funny, eccentric, or endearing habits?
Beth: Lately, he's started going up to anything glass, standing on his hind legs, and scratching with his front paws like crazy as if something horrible is chasing him. He also likes to hang out between the curtains when I take a shower. If I'm getting ready for work, he zooms up and down my apartment so he can pounce on me. He also talks to me a lot in little chirpsand I'm getting better at figuring out what he means.
ASPCA: What else do you love about Walter?
Beth: My favorite thing is he always wants to snuggle for a bit when I get home from workI think he misses me when I'm gone.
ASPCA: What’s the best thing about adopting a pet?
Beth: It's wonderful to come home and have someone who's happy to see me and makes me laugh. Sometimes he gets on my nerves and keeps me up at night, but it's always by doing things that eventually make me laugh! One day when I have a bigger apartment, I'm going to adopt a dog from the ASPCA to make my family even more complete.
3. So You’re Thinking about Getting a Bird?
Congratulations! Welcoming a pet bird into your home means a world of cheerful song and brilliant plumagebut remember, potential parents, adding a feathered friend to your family is not to be taken lightly. Birds are not easy starter petsin fact, they require specialized housing and diets, and their veterinary care can be quite costly.
The ASPCA recommends Canaries, Finches, Cockatiels, Parakeets and Lovebirds as good choices for first-time bird guardiansbut please do not buy him or her from a pet store! Like other exotic pets, millions of birds are taken from their native homes each year to be sold in pet stores. If adoption is not an option, be sure to seek out a reputable bird breeder.
To help get you on the happy road to bird parenthood, our experts have created a list of the top 10 things you should know before getting a bird. Here’s a sneak peek at their advice:
Birds are social butterflies. Birds can be every bit as loving and affectionate as dogs or cats. In fact, they should be taken out of their cages and handled every day for at least an hour. Daily exercise and ample out-of-cage time are the keys to a happy, well-adjusted bird.
Birds can be noisy. Birds sing and chirp, but they also squawk and screech. Not all vocalizations are soothing and pleasant; some can be downright ear-splitting. Take this into consideration, especially if you live in an apartment building.
Birds are naturally clean. Like cats, birds are self-cleaners, and they preen their feathers daily. No smelly shampoos or flea baths for this feathered pal, keep up your bird’s good looks with a simple nail trim.
Birds are sensitive to their environment. It is important to place your pet’s cage in a warm, bright area, close to where the action is but away from drafts and direct sunlight. Avoid kitchens at all costsbirds are extremely sensitive to fumes from self-cleaning ovens and Teflon-coated cookware.
To read our complete list of top 10 bird tips, visit ASPCA.org.