In the days after the ASPCA rescued Tyra from a Kentucky puppy mill, she was afraid of everything. When our behavior team touched the tiny Papillon during an evaluation, she shut down, paralyzed with fear. One glimpse of a child-size doll sent her reeling in terror. She was even too scared to eat.
Our behavior team knew it wouldn’t be easy, but they were determined to help Tyra. Our experts devised a program to treat her fear, hoping against hope that she would come out of her shell and learn to trust.
After a few months of treatment, the behavior team evaluated Tyra again. The results were thrilling, and we caught it on tape:
Tyra “seemed like a different dog,” remembers Kristen Collins, ASPCA Director of Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation. “She approached us tail wagging, clearly eager to interact. She seemed to enjoy petting, played with a toy and investigated the doll. In short, she had transformed into a dog that was ready to enjoy her new life in a loving adoptive home.”
Seeing Tyra’s improvement, Collins and her colleagues were inspired; they knew their rehabilitation methods were effective, and that the time was right to launch the rehabilitation center they’d wanted to create for years.
Last month we opened the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center in New Jersey. At this first-of-its-kind facility, we’re treating dogs like Tyra who are rescued from puppy mills and other cruelty situations, giving them the time and intensive support they need but can’t get anywhere else.
After her rehabilitation, Tyra was transferred to D.C.’s Washington Animal Rescue League for adoption. Though still a bit fearful, Tyra was ready to enjoy life as a family dog—and that’s exactly what she’s doing right now. Today she lives in Maryland and is cherished every day.
“Tyra is a wonderful dog!” her mom tells us. “I am so happy that ASPCA gave her another chance at life and to be happy.”
Sometimes pets come into our lives when we least expect them to. Sharon O’Connell shared the following story about rescuing two of her four special kitties, Dymphna and Pepper, when both were in desperate need of a safe and loving home.
On a summer Saturday three years ago, I went to drop off my recycling and garbage when a little furry kitty ran past me. I had never seen this kitty before, and the attendant said someone must have dropped her off the previous night. I tried to go up to her, but she kept running back and forth from recycling bin to bin. Frantic that I could not take her home with a busy day ahead, I vowed to come back.
That Monday after work, I put some tasty tuna fish in a cat carrier, waited for her to go in and eat, and then rushed her to the vet. After they took blood tests, they came back to tell me she was disease-free and in much need of fattening up. When I arrived home, I knew what I wanted to name her—Dymphna, after the princess Saint Dymphna of Ireland, because of her calmness and kindness. To this day, Dymphna is the sweetest kitty, constantly seeking love and attention from us and the other kitties. She is my littlest angel. She is kindest cat I have ever met in my life.
A year ago, I received a phone call from a local vet attendant pleading with me to find a home for a 14-year-old kitty—someone had dropped her off because she did not get along with their new kitten. I immediately called a friend, and she agreed to take the senior kitty. Soon, my friend moved, and Miss Pepper became mine! It took a few months to adjust, but she is doing fine with my three other kitties—especially Dymphna who was the first to accept her.
Pepper is now 15-years-old, and is experiencing so many new things in her later years. She is so soft, and even hugs me and holds me tight with her paws when I hold her. Every day we walk together in the yard, and to have been able to see her smell the grass and flowers—probably for the first time in her life—melted my heart. She is my comfort girl, and I vow to make her final years great ones.
We are thrilled to share with you that on Monday, Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Maria Cantwell (D-WA), David Vitter (R-LA) introduced the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act in the U.S. Senate.
This legislation, which is also being considered in the House, would make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight and impose additional penalties for bringing a child to a fight.
The Senate passed identical legislation during the last session of Congress, so we have high hopes that it will do so again—but we need your help! The bill didn’t become law last year because it stalled in the House, even with over half the House supporting it. We need to remind all Members of Congress that protecting animals from barbaric fighting ventures is important to their constituents.
Ask your two U.S. senators to support and cosponsor this important anti-fighting legislation! Please visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to send a quick email to your senators—as well as to your representative in the U.S. House—urging them to make this the year that we finally close a major loophole in our federal animal cruelty law.
Grab an orange party hat and all the birthday candles you can find—today is the ASPCA’s 147th birthday! We’re thrilled to celebrate 147 years of our work for animals, beginning when our founder, Henry Bergh, first spoke up for animals in Civil War-era New York. Bergh, a gifted speaker with friends in high places, rallied people to the cause and succeeded in getting the New York State Legislature to pass the charter incorporating the ASPCA on April 10, 1866. Nine days later, the first effective anti-cruelty law was passed and, with a team of three, the ASPCA began working to enforce it. By the time Bergh died in 1888, 37 of the 38 states in the Union had passed anti-cruelty laws.
At just 10 years old, Ayden P. of Las Vegas, Nevada, has already made a huge impact for animals. For his birthday this year, Ayden decided to use his birthday party as a fundraiser for the ASPCA, and asked that his friends and family members donate to our organization in lieu of gifts. This special young philanthropist raised $600 for animals during his birthday fundraiser!
We couldn’t be more honored that Ayden chose to support our life-saving mission for animals in need. This was Ayden’s fourth birthday party fundraiser: Since 2010, he has raised funds for the Red Cross, the Shade Tree, a local shelter for women and children, and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Ayden also shows his commitment to animals by visiting a local pet rescue shelter, Little Friends, with his Aunt Pauline. He has previously volunteered with PetSmart’s PAWS program, an adoption program for cats. Ayden also has a plump yellow Lab named Fudge.