- 1. ASPCA Happy Tails: Trust in Me
- 2. Best New Laws for Animals in 2010
- 3. 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge Launches to Save More Lives
- 4. How to Solve Kitty’s Destructive Scratching
1. ASPCA Happy Tails: Trust in Me
When Kiara arrived at the ASPCA in 2007, she was about eight years old and terrified of just about everything and everyone. But from the moment Alison Silverglad met the small Shepherd mix, she saw only potential. “She was so, so cute!” says Alison. “And her personality—she was just so sweet and seemed ready to be loved.” Within minutes, Alison knew she wanted to bring Kiara home.
ASPCA Adoption Center staff members told Alison that Kiara might be a challenging first dog because her life had been filled with traumatic experiences, including living cheek by jowl with a hoarder and about 30 other dogs in a New York City apartment.
But, Alison says, “I’m always up for a challenge, and her hope for love touched my heart.”
Bringing Kiara home was just the first step toward earning her trust. At first, Kiara didn’t bark at all, leading Alison to believe that she was mute. She was also afraid of having her tummy touched and cowered from most people.
Then, after about two weeks, Kiara rolled over and allowed Alison to rub her belly. Next, she started jumping up excitedly when Alison, a teacher, came home from work. Slowly but surely, Kiara learned to place all her trust in Alison. “She just clings to me like a little kid,” Alison says. “If she’s scared, she’ll rub up against me and come to me for comfort.”
Today, Kiara loves going for long walks, visiting restaurants with outdoor seating and getting belly rubs. She’s proved to be very smart, and Alison says she’s actually “kind of easy—she’s such a good dog! She brings joy to a lot of people, not just myself.” She’s still afraid of many things—but now she knows she can count on Alison to protect her. In turn, Kiara has changed Alison’s life for the better, too.
“It’s been three years, and I can honestly say, I don’t know how I got along before Kiara. Sure, she has a few fears and can be very shy, but knowing her and loving her have made me a better person,” Alison says. “She embodies loyalty, love and concern, and has truly taught me what love is. We were very lucky to find each other.”
For more heartwarming stories of successful adoptions, visit our Happy Tails archive.
2. Best New Laws for Animals in 2010
Looking back at our accomplishments in 2010, champions of animal welfare have plenty to celebrate! From the federal Crush Act to Prop B in Missouri, check out the Legislative Year in Review feature on ASPCA.org for a roundup of last year’s animal-law accomplishments nationwide.
Did your state score a Greatest Hit? Did you know that you can help it do so this year? To help the ASPCA enact laws that help animals, join our Advocacy Brigade, a free service that allows you to take action for animals right from your computer.
3. 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge Launches to Save More Lives
We’re baaaack! The 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge kicked off this week for round two of the most immense shelter competition in the country. We launched the $100K Challenge in 2010 to inspire local shelters to save more animals than they did the previous year. We were absolutely floored by the results: 44 shelters and thousands of supporters saved 48,779 animals in just three short months!
And this year promises to be bigger and better than ever. The 2011 Challenge will award more than $300,000 in prizes at the local, regional and national levels, including a grand prize grant of $100,000! To qualify for the grand prize, shelters must save a minimum of 300 more cats, dogs, kittens and puppies from August through October 2011 than they did during the same time period in 2010. Beyond that, the winner will be the contestant that saves the most additional cats, dogs, kittens and puppies from August through October 2011. The ASPCA will also grant $25,000 to the shelter that most inspires and engages its community to get involved in promoting pet adoption and reuniting lost pets with their guardians.
In addition to boatloads of new awards and special surprises this year, we’re also introducing a qualifying heat to encourage you to get behind your favorite shelter from the very beginning of the contest. During the two-week heat, which officially launches on April 4, you'll have the opportunity to determine which 50 shelters get a chance to compete for the $100K grand prize.
So, hurry and spread the word to your local shelter! We're accepting applications for only 48 hours, from noon ET on March 16 through noon ET on March 18.
The official competition period is August 1 through October 31, and winners will be announced in November.
To read all 2011 Challenge rules, please visit http://challenge.aspcapro.org.
4. How to Solve Kitty’s Destructive Scratching
As all cat lovers know, our feline friends love to use their claws in all sorts of interesting ways. As part of their daily rituals, cats instinctually pull the claws on their front paws through surfaces that offer resistance. Cats who live outdoors favor logs and tree trunks for this purpose. Unfortunately, in a domestic setting, this instinct often translates to scaling the drapes or reupholstering a nubby sofa.
So what do you do if Fluffy is determined to redecorate your house in the latest version of feline-scratch chic? First, what not to do: Please do not declaw your pet. The term “declaw” is a misnomer, as it implies the removal of a cat’s claws only. In reality, declawing involves amputating the end of a cat’s toes, and is comparable to removing your own fingernails as well as the bones to which they are attached. Ouch!! Declawing surgery also includes many risks, and is accompanied by severe pain.
The ASPCA is strongly opposed to declawing—and other elective surgeries such as debarking dogs—for the convenience of pet parents. One effective way to treat your cat’s penchant for destructive scratching is to provide her with appropriate surfaces and objects to scratch, such as scratching posts made of cardboard, carpeting, wood, sisal or upholstery. Check out these other helpful tips from our behaviorists:
- Encourage your cat to investigate posts by scenting them with catnip.
- Discourage inappropriate scratching by removing or covering attractive objects.
- Clip your cat’s nails regularly.
- If you catch your cat in the act of scratching an inappropriate object, try startling him by clapping your hands or squirting him with water. (Use this procedure only as a last resort, because your cat may associate you with the startling event and learn to fear you.)
For more information about helping your pet overcome destructive scratching, please visit our Virtual Behaviorist.