- 1. Sago Palm Plant Kills Puppy
- 2. ASPCA Job of the Week
- 3. Calling All Kids: It’s Time to Go Orange for Animals!
- 4. ASPCA Pet of the Week: You Gotta Have Friends
- 5. Top 10 Tips for Getting Your Pet Into Showbiz
- 6. ASPCA Adoption Center Success Story: Mikey Likes It!
- 7. Ask the Animal Poison Control Center: Live Chat Today
1. Sago Palm Plant Kills Puppy
It’s hard to believe a houseplant could harm a tough cookie like the Woytek family’s Lab mix, Amber. A survivor of Hurricane Ike, the young pup was diagnosed with distemper in the months after her adoption from the Houston SPCA in September 2008. But according to Laurie Woytek, Amber defeated the often fatal virusand went on to form a tight bond with her canine “sister” and partner-in-crime, Scout, a one-year-old Rhodesian ridgeback mix.
Early last month, Laurie discovered that Amber had eaten parts of a sago palm plant. Sago palmwith its dark green leaves and hairy trunkhas become a popular houseplant in recent years, but unbeknownst to many green-thumbed pet parents, it’s also highly toxic to cats and dogs.
Immediately ill, Amber was hospitalized at a nearby emergency clinic. Says Laurie, “I was very scared, but thought, ‘She's toughshe'll make it through.’” After several days in the hospital, the emergency veterinarian delivered the heartbreaking news to the WoyteksAmber had developed jaundice and life-threatening liver failure.
“We took Amber to our regular veterinarian to discuss our options with him,” explains Laurie. “She suffered seizures in the car on the way, and we ultimately made the very difficult, yet humane decision to let her go.”
Sadly, Amber’s story is all too common. Since 2003, the ASPCA has seen an increase by more than 200 percent of sago palm and cycad poisonings, and 50 to 75 percent of those ingestions resulted in fatalities. According to Dr. Sharon Gwaltney-Brant, veterinary toxicologist and vice president of the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center, all parts of the plant are toxic, not just the seeds or nuts, and common signs of ingestion include vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, depression, seizures and liver failure.
Before the Woytek family said their final goodbyes to Amber, they took her home to see her best buddy, Scout. “As Amber lay still on the floor, Scout kept nudging her as if to say, ‘C’mon, get up,’” Laurie says. “They weren’t just 'sissies'as we referred to themthey were best friends.”
“It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do,” reflects Laurie. “Amber is truly missed and will forever be in our hearts. She was our little princess.”
In memory of Amber, and to mark the end of National Poison Prevention Week, March 15-21, the ASPCA reminds all pet parents to stay informed about protecting pets from accidental poisonings. Please read our poison prevention tips online.
2. ASPCA Job of the Week
The ASPCA is looking for a Member Support Assistant to answer membership inquiries, process donations and update our monthly donor files. Our ideal candidate has at least one year of customer service experience, excellent computer skills and a solid understanding of the nonprofit donor database, Public Interest Donor, Inc. If you’re a top-notch communicator and time management whiz, we’d love to hear from you!
The ASPCA offers generous benefit packages for full-time employees. Please submit your resume and salary requirements for our prompt consideration.
3. Calling All Kids: It’s Time to Go Orange for Animals!
Know any young animal lovers? Please pass this message on to them:
Hey kids, have you heard the word? It’s time to put down those pencils and pick up some orange markersthere’s work to be done! We need you and your friends to go orange for animals for the entire month of April. That’s right, this is your big chance to tell the world how much you love animals and don’t want to see them hurt. Cool beans, eh?
Here are a few things you can do:
Join the Club
Wish there was an animal club at your school? Now’s the perfect time to start one. Ask your favorite teacher to be your advisor, and at your first meeting you can discuss all the cool things you can do to help animals.
Open your closet and get out those bright orange pants, hats, caps, bandannas, shirts, sneakers and socks! No worries if the orange clothing fairy passed you by, thoughorange nail polish makes quite a statement, too!
Show Your Shelter Some Love
Ask your teacher if your class can send letters to your local animal shelter, thanking the staff and volunteers for taking care of the animals in your neighborhood who don’t have homes.
So what are you waiting for? Go check out our fun and easy Ways for Kids to Go Orangeand remember, even little kids can create big change when it comes to helping animals.
P.S. A very special shout-out to Mrs. Ferro's class for hosting lunchtime bake sales and making super-cool ASPCA posters to hang around their school!
4. ASPCA Pet of the Week: You Gotta Have Friends
Christopher is such an amiable fellow that Katie Watts, ASPCA Senior Feline Behavior Counselor, often employs him to interact with other cats and determine whether they can live in a habitat with cat-mates. “He adores other cats as much as he loves people!” Watts says.
This cuddle bug has been around the block when it comes to medical issues. Before Christopher came to us last October, he was mistaken for a femalethe truth came out during an aborted spay surgery! He’s also missing most of his teeth, is on a special diet for colitis and, if that weren't enoughwe removed a benign tumor from his ear. “But he's good as new now and doing great!” Watts reports.
As you can see, kitty could use a break! At eight years old, Christopher is more than ready to settle into his forever home. “He's a laid-back guy who loves cuddling and attention. He’s perfect with other cats.”
Got spare room on your lap and in your heart? Please consider filling the void with the sweetest cat we know! If you’d like to meet Christopher, please call (212) 876-7700, ext. 4120. To see other animals who are waiting for homes, please visit the ASPCA Adoption Center online.
****Got Facebook? Won’t you please donate your status to Christopher today? Just copy and paste the following message onto your profile status to help spread the word that Christopher needs a home!
[Name] is donating his/her status to Christopher, an excellent addition to anyone’s lap. http://www.aspca.org/christopher
5. Top 10 Tips for Getting Your Pet Into Showbiz
“Woof, woof…Bark bark bark!! Woof…er…line?”
As you can see, the thought of a dog rehearsing for his next movie role brings us great amusement! Have you ever fantasized about seeing your pet’s name in lights? (Don’t deny it, you know you have!)
For the scoop on animal actors, we talked to Victoria Wells, ASPCA Manager of Shelter Behavior and Training, who has worked as a trainer on commercials for the SciFi channel and music videos, including Eve and Sean Paul’s “Give It to You.” Wells shares her advice on what you need to get started and what types of pets have the best shot at stardom in our Top 10 Tips for Getting Your Pet Into Showbiz. Check it outand don’t forget to invite us to the premiere!
6. ASPCA Adoption Center Success Story: Mikey Likes It!
Remember our fab five poodles? They were the special pups who needed extra loving care, after being rescuedwith nearly 30 other poochesfrom a home in Queens, NY. We’re happy to report that all of the poodles found homes, and we recently caught up with Richie, the group’s elder statesman.
Now known as Mikey, the wee ten-year-old was a favorite at the ASPCA. He easily won the heart of Vicky Tierney of Hudson, MA, too, who first read about Mikey on our website. Vicky saw our video of the petite pooch preening and indulging in a cool drink of water, and knew she had to adopt him. Partially blind and afflicted with the same dental disease shared by his fab five brethren, Mikey required an attentive pet parent with a heart of gold.
But Vicky wasn’t daunted by his needs. “I’m at home all day," she says, "so I can look after him and give him special attention.” Now Mikey spends the day sitting on Vicky’s lap while she works, and greets her at the door by lifting his front paws off of the ground in a little jig.
Mikey was also heartily welcomed by Vicky’s happy fur family, which includes two Yorkshire terriers and four cats. The Yorkies first met Mikey at the ASPCA’s Adoption Center in Manhattan, and now the three amigos are the best of pals. “Mikey always stands in between the other two, like when I’m cooking dinner,” says Vicky. “He definitely knows how to beg! He drinks a lot of water, and the other dogs have started to join him for ‘group waterings.’”
“Angel, our Himalayan, has also taken a shine to Mikey, and is very curious about him,” Vicky tells us with a laugh. “She stares at him as if to say, ‘What is he?’ and occasionally puts her paw on his head.”
7. Ask the Animal Poison Control Center: Live Chat Today
To celebrate National Poison Prevention Week, which runs through Sunday, we’re holding a special live chat with Dr. Eric Dunayer, Veterinary Toxicologist from the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center He will be on hand today, March 20, to answer all your questions about protecting pets from harmful substances. Head to the ASPCA Online Community from noon to 2:00 P.M. to participate.