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.
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
The summer forecast at the ASPCA is cats, cats and more cats! Monday, June 1, not only kicks off Adopt a Shelter Cat Month—it also marks the height of kitten season, which is the time of year when felines breed. The ASPCA Animal Hospital and kitten nursery are are preparing for a massive influx of homeless and newborn cats, while the ASPCA Adoption Center is hoping to find more forever homes for felines than ever before. If you’re looking to make a difference for cats during this critical time of year, here are some ways you can get involved:
Adopt. Kitten season creates a tremendous population explosion, and animal shelters around the country will soon be flooded with cats in need of a home. You can make a major difference this season by adopting a new feline friend. At our Adoption Center in New York City, we are waiving adoption fees for cats over three years old, and we will waive one adoption fee for adopters who bring home two kittens. If you’re not in New York, you can use our handy database to find adoptable cats in your area.
Take our Pledge. In honor of Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, we also teamed up with Jackson Galaxy, host of Animal Planet’s My Cat from Hell and creator of the Jackson Galaxy Foundation, to promote the awesomeness of rescued kitties. You can help show the world how great rescued cats are by signing our pledge to make adoption your only option and sharing your cat’s most adorable or wacky photo on social media using the hashtag #MyRescueCat.
Make a Gift. Kitten season is one of the most dangerous times of year for homeless cats and kittens. During this season, resources like food, money and space are stretched to the brink and virtually overnight, the number of cats begins to outweigh the number of available homes. The ASPCA is determined to make a difference, but your most generous donation today can support our efforts to curb kitten season and find a home for every animal. To help us save lives during kitten season and all year long, please consider making a gift to the ASPCA today.
Shari is a social and friendly cat who loves playtime—it’s no wonder she’s a staff favorite! This long-haired beauty would be thrilled to go home with an adopter who will keep her looking and feeling her best with plenty of grooming and daily playtime with her favorite mouse toy.
Shari likes attention, but at times she can be sensitive about being picked up. This pretty lady prefers to have all four paws on the ground. Sometimes when she’s in a playful mood, Shari may grab on to your hands or nip your fingers, but our Adoptions team can help you correct this behavior. Shari would do best with an experienced adopter who is good at reading cat body language, and she prefers to be the only pet in an adults-only home. Visit our Adoption Center to meet Shari today!
Shariis available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting Shari, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Shari, please visit her profile page.
Watch Shari in action at the ASPCA Adoption Center by checking out the video below.