Eva Podietz is one of the ASPCA’s most dedicated volunteers. Scores of ASPCA animals have benefited from Eva’s care, and the most recent addition to Eva’s furry family is Bentley, a little Shih Tzu who suffered immensely before starting his new life.
Bentley came to us after a devastating kick to the head that left him with a dangerous brain hemorrhage, broken jaw and a broken skull, threatening to destroy his tiny brain stem. He could barely stand or move his legs.
Any sudden movements could have killed Bentley in those early days. ASPCA veterinarians provided critical head trauma care, medications to reduce fluid build-up in his brain, and comprehensive pain management. Our hospital staff could tell that Bentley was a fighter. He survived those initial days. Then the first two weeks. As soon as he could, Bentley began lifting his neck and wagging his tail to greet staffers. And one day, Bentley began to regain use of his legs!
But Bentley was still a bit scared of people, and he wasn’t eating as well as they’d hoped. They placed him in foster care with Eva, and he quickly gained a pound and started to open up. “After a month it was clear it was an adoption, not a foster,” Eva tells us. Now he is showered with love, attends doggy daycare and, despite everything he’s been through, “doesn’t seem to hold a grudge.”
Bentley isn’t Eva’s first ASPCA rescue. Back in 2006, Cloudy came to us severely matted and suffering from multiple infections. He was also blind and had several back problems. We knew he needed a special home, and he found it with Eva, who has given him the best life possible. That’s why we’re extra glad to see Bentley earn a spot in such a wonderful home.
“They’re the ASPCA’s dogs; I’m just their caretaker,” Eva jokes. “They’ve got lots of admirers and people who love them at the ASPCA. And everywhere! But especially at the A.”
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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.”