At the ASPCA, we often encounter heartbreaking cases of abuse, cruelty and neglect. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of the work that we do. But with that heartbreak comes a silver lining: inspiration. Nearly every single day, we watch in awe as the incredible animals we serve overcome their pain and suffering and go on to become happy, loving pets. Their resilience is what keeps us going, so when we heard the story of Waffles the pit bull, we knew it was too good to keep to ourselves. Here is Waffles' Happy Tail.
It was a frigid day in January 2015 when the ASPCA rescued Waffles from cruelty. He and his sister, Flapjack, were only six months old at the time. Shivering and covered in skin mites, they were rushed to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for immediate care. Over the next four weeks, they received medical treatment including skin baths, antibiotics and spay/neuter surgeries until they were strong enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center.
Though his health was on the mend, Waffles’ skin was patchy and he had not yet been housetrained. He also displayed signs of fear and anxiety, but we were hopeful that the right adopter would come along and see his potential. Fortunately, in March, Katharine F. and her girlfriend walked through our door.
A lifelong dog lover, Katharine says she “grew up valuing the special relationship that exists between dogs and people.” After her beloved yellow Lab passed away in 2011, it took a few years for her to prepare to adopt another dog, but once she was ready, the ASPCA was high on her list. “With all of the homeless dogs sitting in shelters waiting for their forever homes, I wanted nothing more than to share the extra space and love that I have with a new friend.”
Katharine and her girlfriend met a few wonderful dogs at the Adoption Center, but none of them felt like the perfect fit. That’s when they spotted Waffles. “As soon as we saw him sleeping on his cot with his tongue out, we knew there was something different about him,” she recalls. “He woke up and trotted over so excitedly, put his paws on the glass and looked at us like we’d known each other for a long time. I felt like he wanted to be with us just as much as we wanted to be with him.”
We filled the couple in on Waffles' history, including his medical and behavioral issues, but they remained certain of their decision. Katharine says, “He was missing the majority of his fur, he was terrified of the outdoors, he wasn’t housebroken and he only knew ‘sit’…We knew immediately that he was the one.”
On March 6, Katharine officially adopted Waffles and changed his name to Milo, because, as she says, “he was starting over with a new life that would be nothing like what he went through before.” And she couldn’t have been more right: In the months that followed, Milo transformed into the perfect pet.
In a recent update, Katharine reported: “I am so proud of Milo and how far he has come. He has all of his fur, has made huge progress in his house training and absolutely LOVES the outdoors. Whereas before he would walk ten feet and then stop and tremble in fear, he now excitedly leads us up the street to the dog park to freely run and play. He is the most outgoing and beloved dog in my apartment building and gets compliments on his loving and mellow nature, his good manners and handsome new fur almost everywhere that we go!”
Milo has also fallen in love with the couple’s cat, and he has learned tons of new tricks including “come,” “paw,” “lay down,” and how to stand on two legs. His confidence is growing every day, but Katharine says, “Despite how active and excited this puppy is, he is never happier than when laying in a lap with a bone in his mouth. He is truly a representation of the forgiving and resilient nature of dogs who were mistreated and then given a second chance.”
We were thrilled to learn that the sick, scared puppy we met in January has come so far and forgotten the cruelty he suffered in the first months of his life. Katharine says, “We are so grateful for all of the love and help Milo received from the ASPCA,” but we are also grateful to her for giving this precious pooch the happiest home he ever could have dreamed of!
As high school and college graduates across the country gather to commemorate their academic achievements, we’re celebrating an extra-special group of our own canine grads. These pups have completed treatment at the ASPCA Behavioral Rehabilitation Center, where we work to prepare fearful, undersocialized dogs to be adopted into loving homes. We’re so happy to announce that Bud, Dermott, Janet, Joe, Katniss, Patrick and Penny have been placed with rescue groups and are waiting to go home with adopters.
If you live in the Tri-State area and are thinking about adding a furry addition to your family, please consider these adorable graduates:
Bud, a 2-year-old male Australian Shepherd mix, is available for adoption at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey.
Dermott, a 6-year-old male Shepherd mix, is available for adoption at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey.
Janet, an adult female Akita, is available for adoption at Sammy’s Hope Animal Welfare & Adoption Center in Sayreville, New Jersey.
Joe, a 2-year-old female Hound mix, is available for adoption at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey.
Katniss, a 1-year-old female Lab/Boxer mix, is available for adoption at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey.
Patrick, an adult male Jack Russell/Rat Terrier mix, is available for adoption at Sammy’s Hope Animal Welfare & Adoption Center in Sayreville, New Jersey.
Penny, a 2-year-old female Collie/Lab mix, is available for adoption at St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey.
“We were thrilled to see these dogs succeed in our program, and we're so grateful to St. Hubert's Animal Welfare Center and Sammy's Hope Animal Welfare & Adoption Center for making their next steps on the road to recovery possible,” says Kristen Collins, ASPCA Senior Director of Anti-Cruelty Behavior Rehabilitation. “Happy endings like these are a great example of the powerful work animal welfare organizations can do when we join forces to save lives.”
Not in the New Jersey area but interested in pet adoption? Visit our Adopt section to find available dogs and cats in your area.
Today is National Running Day, celebrating one of the best ways to get healthy and stay in shape. Although many people prefer to run solo, you might have an eager running buddy right in your own home! Besides keeping your pet in good shape, a healthy dose of daily exercise also helps prevent behavioral issues in dogs such as chewing, hyperactivity, and rough playing. Going for a brisk walk or run is also a great way to bond with your pup, and there are even 5Ks that cater to the canine fitness crowd!
Here are a few of our top tips for bringing your dog along on your next morning run:
1.Young pups on the run: While energetic young dogs might seem to be the perfect running partner, dogs under 18 months of age should not participate in sustained periods of jogging or running since their bones are still growing.
2.Prevent chronic pain: Rule out any health or joint issues with your vet before taking your dog on the road or trail, and keep an eye out for any signs of soreness or discomfort both before and after an exercise session.
3.Conditioning for canines: Just like humans, dogs need to work their way up to longer runs, too! Start off slow, adding an extra few minutes each week to build up your pup’s endurance.
4.Keep it cool: Consider the weather before taking your pooch out for a run. Sunny sidewalks can scorch your pet’s feet and hot, humid days prove an extra challenge since dogs can’t sweat to stay cool. Bring a portable water bowl for your dog and move your run to early morning or after dusk hours on hotter days.
5.Stay safe & in control: Dogs should always wear a collar with identification and stay on a leash when on a run. Additionally, giving your dog a few minutes at the beginning of your workout to sniff and explore for a bit helps him warm up and will help you avoid having to stop at a tree every minute along the way!
Having a canine companion on your workout can turn that dreaded dose of cardio into a fun bonding activity for you and your dog that you’ll be sure to commit to. Learn more about the benefits of exercise for your dog and find out how you can help other pets in need while running for Team ASPCA.
Yesterday, Foster Farms—one of the country’s largest chicken producers—announced that it is aiming to remove from its chicken flocks all antibiotics that are also used in humans (barring exceptional cases). This follows similar announcements by other companies like Tyson, Perdue and McDonald’s.
While chickens sometimes need antibiotics to overcome illness, the chicken industry relies far too heavily on antibiotics as a crutch to compensate for the crowded, unsanitary, and stressful conditions that, sadly, are standard on today’s chicken farms. You can learn more about this, and take action, through our Truth About Chicken campaign.
Some companies are removing all antibiotics, some just those used on humans, and some only those used for certain purposes. But while each case differs, the overall principle remains the same: Removing antibiotics without improving underlying conditions is like taking off a bandage and leaving a wound exposed. As chicken companies reduce or remove antibiotics, they must improve the animal welfare problems that often lead to antibiotics use in the first place.
Luckily, the ASPCA has a set of recommendations to improve the welfare of all chickens, no matter the antibiotics policy. These include common-sense practices like offering more space, better sanitation, enrichment, more natural lighting, and healthier genetics. Learn more and take action here.
In honor of National Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, the ASPCA conducted a survey to identify what makes a cat the purrfect pet. The results showed that while those with cats have overwhelmingly positive experiences with their feline friends, non-pet owners lack an understanding of the benefits of having cats as pets.
Of the American adults surveyed, only 47% of non-pet owners believe cats make great companions, compared to 73% of cat owners. Additionally, fewer than half (46%) of non-pet owners agree that cats are low-maintenance, compared to an overwhelming 82% of cat owners. The survey also found that a vast majority of cat owners believe that cats are intelligent (77%), quiet (77%) and independent (71%).
“This survey further confirms what many of us already know—cats are intelligent animals that make excellent companions,” says Dr. Emily Weiss, ASPCA Vice President of Research & Development. “We hope that the public learns from the experiences of current cat owners that there are many benefits of welcoming a cat into your home.”
With 3.4 million cats entering shelters every year, we also hope that these survey results encourage the public to consider adopting a feline friend of their own. To find out how else you can make a difference during Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, check out our list of ways to get involved