Guest blog by ASPCA President and CEO Matthew Bershadker
When I separate those two words—"thanks" and "giving"—I can't help but think of all the animals we love, rescue and fight for, and the appreciation we owe them.
Pet owners are often portrayed as rescuers, with their newly-freed animals seen as rescued. But that exchange of generosity and appreciation goes both ways. We give to animals because what we get in return is immeasurable. We also owe them our thanks because, frankly, we've failed them in many ways, some horrifically.
Animals make us feel alive; they make us feel needed. They give us trust and affection without hesitation. They deliver complete loyalty and unconditional love, and respond to us with affection even when we sometimes fail them.
These are priceless things.
Just ask Staff Sgt. Jesse Knott, whose cat Koshka got him through the darkest days of his tour in Afghanistan, especially when a suicide bomber killed two close friends. Koshka gave Knott a reason to live. When he returned home to Oregon, Knott arranged for the cat to join him there. Just last week, Koshka was named "Cat of the Year" at our annual ASPCA Humane Awards Luncheon, and rightfully so.
Also consider our "Dog of the Year," a pit bull puppy from Georgia named Xena who was found so abused and neglected that no one expected her to survive. Xena miraculously rebounded and was adopted by the Hickey family, including eight-year-old Jonny, who suffers from Autism. Before Xena came into his life, Jonny rarely communicated with others, and only found comfort in solitary activities. But Jonny forged a miraculous connection with Xena that brought out his personality, and reconnected him to the outside world. The Hickeys could not be more thankful.
The Henry Bergh Award, named after our founder, was given to Colorado's National Mill Dog Rescue founder Theresa Strader, who's dedicated her life to saving breeding dogs destined for death in puppy mills. Kept in deplorable conditions, these dogs' sole purpose is to pump out sellable pups; when the mothers can't continue, they're typically killed. Strader's operation has rescued and placed over 8,000 puppy mill survivors since 2007, but it's Strader who sounds thankful. Animals gave her life meaning and purpose.
Could there be bigger gifts than these?
This Thanksgiving, remember there's no limit on the amount of thanks you can give. And chances are, there's someone in your home—maybe looking longingly at the platters of hot turkey (or tofurkey) on your table or just warming a corner of your bed—who deserves all of it and more.
Whether you’re already camped out for the Black Friday sales or avoiding the crowds like the plague, there’s one promotional event happening this Friday that we can all get behind—Cat Friday at the ASPCA!
If you attend Friday’s event but don’t meet your feline match, you’ll receive a voucher for $20 off cat adoption fees, valid for three months. Consider skipping the lines and crowds to meet your new best furry friend this Friday!
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Tito is a super-affectionate canine who’ll stick to you like glue once he gets to know you. He is known to form very strong bonds with his people. He also enjoys playing with other dogs, but needs a bit of guidance to learn to play with good manners. Tito already knows Sit, and would love to have you spend some time teaching him cool new tricks.
As adorable as Tito is in photos, we think he’s even cuter in person! This special pup would do best in a home with experienced dog people and teens 15-and-up. Adopt Tito today!
Tito is available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting please call our Adoptions department in New York City at (212) 876-7700, ext. 4900. To learn more about Tito, please visit his page.
When Liz D. went to the Orlando SPCA, she wasn’t expecting to leave with a dog. But Elsie the pit bull was special—a 10-12 year old girl who proves that senior pets can be the perfect addition to any family. Celebrate the end of Adopt a Senior Pet Month with their touching story, as told by Liz:
About two years ago, I was recovering from the loss of my senior German Shepherd. I found myself on the Orlando SPCA website when the photo of a senior pit bull caught my eye.
When I called about “Baby Girl,” I was told she was in the infirmary for kennel cough, and I couldn’t see her for two weeks. When I finally went to the shelter, I expected to meet her and leave. Instead, she came home with me that day! A few days later, we changed her name to Elsie.
Elsie is incredible! From the moment I got her home, it was as if she had grown up there. She is smart, funny, and so loving and sweet. I trust her with ALL my dogs, cats and livestock.
Elsie is between 10-12 and has elbow dysplasia, so she has difficulty walking and getting up. But I am so grateful that I got the chance to adopt Elsie and I have never looked back. Seniors are awesome. She has a “been there, done that” attitude, is housebroken, and is just a perfect dog!!!
Have you adopted a pet? Email us your story firstname.lastname@example.org, and we might feature it on the blog!
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The ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team is currently on the ground in Spokane, Washington, assisting Spokane County Regional Animal Protective Services (SCRAPS) with the sheltering and daily care of 63 horses seized Nov. 15 as part of an animal cruelty investigation.
ASPCA responders will remain in Spokane, an ASPCA Partner Community, for at least the next 30 days to nurse the horses to health before their placement with various rescue groups for adoption. The ASPCA is also providing a $5,000 grant to SCRAPS to help cover expenses related to the horses’ care.
SCRAPS officials discovered the severely emaciated and dehydrated horses, who had no access to water or acceptable food, on an abandoned property. Eleven horses in critical condition were taken to a local veterinarian for immediate medical attention. The remaining horses are being cared for at the Spokane County fairgrounds by SCRAPS and ASPCA responders. Agencies assisting the ASPCA with care and sheltering include: Days End Rescue (Woodbine, Maryland); Code 3 (Longmont, Colorado); Equine Emergency Rescue Unit (Overland Park, Kansas); and Washington State Animal Response Team (Enumclaw, Washington).
Local authorities have issued a warrant for the arrest of the property owner on charges of animal cruelty in the first degree and transporting or confining animals in an unsafe manner. The suspect has a history of animal cruelty charges, but has ceased appearing in court for proceedings related to these prior charges. Her current whereabouts are unknown.