At the ASPCA, helping horses isn’t just something we preach—it’s something we practice in our work every single day. Intelligent, sensitive, and true American icons, horses have been at the heart of our mission since the very beginning, and in honor of our second annual National Help a Horse Day, we wanted to share the amazing story of Benny.
We first heard about Benny from our friends Joyce and Nona at Last Stop Horse Rescue in Prentiss, Maine. Last Stop is the recipient of an ASPCA grant: every three weeks, our grant funds the delivery of 20 bales of hay to Last Stop to feed the rescued horses.
We recently checked in with Last Stop, and that’s when they told us Benny’s story. Starved, emaciated and close to death, Benny arrived at Last Stop in August 2013. The four-year-old gelding showed clear signs of abuse and neglect, and was so weak that he could not stand on his own legs. The day of his arrival, he weighed just 562 pounds.
The staff at Last Stop spent several days trying to keep Benny standing, but ultimately, the best option was to place him in a sling hanging from a beam in the barn. At the recommendation of Dr. Ron Miles Benny was introduced to food slowly and in small amounts.
Slowly but surely, Benny gained strength. Over the 12 days that he was in the sling, Joyce says “we saw improvement each day with signs of brighter eyes, moving his feet more, and being able to consume more of the food that was being offered to him.” The team at Last Stop fed him every hour around the clock, setting an alarm to ensure that he got meals throughout the night as well.
After nearly two weeks in a sling, Benny stood for the first time on August 15. It was a joyous day for all involved.
It has now been over six months since Benny arrived at Last Stop. He currently weighs 930 pounds, and uses his newfound strength to gallop around the pasture with his fellow horses. Despite years of abuse and neglect, Joyce says, “Benny is our miracle boy. Food and love was all he needed.”
Stories like Benny’s are what inspired us to create National Help a Horse Day. All too often, these amazing animals are mistreated, neglected, or even sent to slaughter. The ASPCA is determined to spread education and activism on behalf of equines everywhere, and Benny is proof that every horse is worth helping. Looking back at Benny’s recovery, Joyce says, “This is what you have done for these horses with the grant from the ASPCA. Thank you!”
To see Benny in action, please watch Last Stop Horse Rescue’s video of his recovery. Be sure to visit our Help a Horse page for information about events in your community. The ASPCA is awarding $10,000 grants to the top five equine organizations whose events inspire the most community engagement and support.
As the nation’s second-largest animal welfare grant maker, there’s nothing the ASPCA loves more than to see our grantees succeed. That’s why we were so thrilled to meet Wiley, a wolf-dog hybrid who stopped by the ASPCA office in New York City as part of an educational visit from Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC).
Last October, the ASPCA provided LARC with a $50,000 grant to shelter 25 wolf-dog hybrids. The wolf-dogs were rescued from Dancing Brook Wolf Lodge, a sub-standard so-called “sanctuary” in Bristol, New Hampshire, after the owners were evicted from the property. Since wolf-dogs are not adoptable to the public, they needed a safe place to live and thrive. Through LARC’s “Warriors and Wolves” program, these giant canines have received daily care and rehabilitation from veterans, helping them heal from their respective traumatic experiences.
Visit newarc.org to learn more about how the rescued wolf-dogs are doing!
Please note: The ASPCA does not support exotic pet ownership. In most states, wolf-dog ownership is either illegal or restricted. We are grateful to organizations like LARC who provide these animals with much-needed sanctuary.
Nearly 100 lost and stray dogs brought to Louisville Metro Animal Services (LMAS) in Kentucky each month find their way back to their pet parents, thanks in part to the efforts of a new lost and found coordinator funded by the ASPCA.
“That’s a 40% increase over what we’ve had in previous years,” says Margaret Brosko, senior manager of special initiatives and communications for LMAS. “But the data doesn’t even begin to tell the story.”
LMAS is one of three partner agencies (along with the Kentucky Humane Society and Alley Cat Advocates) comprising the ASPCA Partnership in Louisville. Last July, with a grant from the ASPCA, LMAS hired Lost and Found Coordinator Megan Fox, a former customer service representative, who once dreamed of becoming a large animal veterinarian.
Since Fox’s hiring, the abundance of happy endings and reunions have been bringing tears of joy to pet parents, LMAS shelter staff and volunteers alike.
There was the Boxer, Rocky, from Jeffersonville, Indiana, who ended up at LMAS 10 days after disappearing on July 4, 2013. Fox spotted a posting for a lost Boxer on Craigslist, and days later noticed Rocky in LMAS’s kennels.
“When I contacted Rocky’s owner, he was hesitant to come in because of the distance; he figured his dog was gone forever,” she said. “But it was him!” When she spoke with the owner recently, he said Rocky is “fat, happy and crazy.”
There was a Husky, Sheba, who had been missing for two years. On November 1, 2013, she arrived at LMAS as a stray. Her microchip enabled shelter workers to trace her back to her pet parent, who picked her up that very day.
The LMAS website allows citizens not only to register lost and found pets, but also to view the latest lost and found pet entries. The public is also encouraged to call or visit the shelter if their pet is lost.
“We’re lucky to have several really good resources for lost and found pets in our area,” adds Fox. “The people are dedicated and post sightings of lost or found pets. I’m in daily communication with them and try to be the keeper of that information.”
With the spring and summer months ahead, LMAS is bracing for a high intake of strays. But Brosko is hopeful. “We’re lucky to have so many people who care about getting them back home. Our entire team helps people fill out reports, walk through our kennels and share information. We are continually evolving and improving—and people really feel like they’re part of the process.”
That’s especially true for Fox: “I absolutely love being a part of this team of amazing, compassionate, dedicated people, and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to help animals every day!”
We love to hear success stories from ASPCA grant recipients who are able to make a great impact on the lives of animals. A recent and inspiring update comes from Humane Alliance, an organization that focuses on remedying pet overpopulation through high-quality, low-cost spay/neuter services. The ASPCA pledged more than $2.5 million, along with support from PetSmart Charities, to Humane Alliance over a five-year period to help expand the organization’s services.
Founded a decade ago as a small clinic in Asheville, North Carolina, Humane Alliance performs spay/neuter operations on an average of 120 pets day. Humane Alliance’s transport program works with shelters and animal control organizations across 20 counties to arrange pickups for both shelter animals and owned pets. The organization performs spay/neuter surgeries and returns the pets to the same location the next day.
Looking to expand beyond Asheville, Humane Alliance developed a mentorship program to replicate their success and open new clinics across the country. With help from the ASPCA, Humane Alliance has opened 127 clinics across 40 states, providing spay/neuter services to 3.8 million animals. Communities such as Springfield, Illinois have already seen decreased intake at local shelters, due in part to Humane Alliance’s spay/neuter efforts.
Humane Alliance also offers continuing education classes for veterinarians to help them improve their surgical techniques and provide better patient care. The organization also operates an externship program to provide veterinary students hands-on instruction and offer them valuable real-world surgical experience.
If you attended the ASPCA and Animal Planet’s Puppy Bowl Experience in Times Square last month, you may remember a four-month-old boxer/hound named Gambit. The lil’ linebacker spent most of his time at the football event winning hearts—until he was adopted straight off the field! In this week’s Happy Tail, we check on Gambit and his new dad, Dennis, to find out how the pup’s life has been since he left the sidelines behind.
For Gambit, life wasn’t always fun and games. He and his four siblings were born in Tennessee, in an area where dog adoptions are scarce. Knowing that they would have a better chance at finding homes in New York, their local shelter transferred the puppies to the ASPCA. They arrived in the city ready to hit the ground running, and that’s exactly what they did on Team “Puppy Bowl.”
Dennis was at The Puppy Bowl Experience, and though there were many dogs in the game, he was immediately drawn to Gambit. He says, “It was so exciting to go to the events and see Gambit play and interact with people, kids and the spotlight.” He and his wife agreed that the timing was perfect for an “interception,” and the puppy went home with them on the day of the big event.
In the weeks since his adoption, Gambit has loved being the star player in his new family. Dennis tells us that “he was almost completely trained within a week,” and that “he has been making fast friends throughout our neighborhood.” In fact, he is such a crowd-pleaser that he’s been nicknamed Mayor Gambito because he loves to say hello to everyone.
While the Puppy Bowl Experience was a touchdown for Gambit, we are also glad to announce that all of his siblings have since been adopted as well. After a rough start to life, these five super pups won the ultimate prize: a forever home.
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