When an animal survives a harrowing ordeal, it makes it that much more meaningful when they find a loving home. For a tiny Maltese/Yorkie named Chali, a freezing January morning set the stage for a warm, cozy future, and we can’t help but think that his “Happy Tail” was written in the cards. Here is his story.
On January 5, 2014, Chali was found wandering as a stray in Crotona Park in the Bronx, New York. It was the height of the “Polar Vortex,” and temperatures that day hovered in the low 20s. A Good Samaritan spotted Chali lost in the snow and brought him to the ASPCA. At only seven pounds, the four-year-old pup was shy, shivering, and in desperate need of a home.
At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Chali received a medical exam and was deemed healthy. He was soon neutered and placed into our office foster program so he could recover from his surgery in the care of our staff until he was ready for adoption.
While all of this was happening, an ASPCA employee named Missy G. was working on plans for the ASPCA Bergh Ball, an annual fundraising event in New York City. A member of our Special Events Department, Missy was coordinating a photo shoot for a custom deck of playing cards featuring adoptable animals from the ASPCA. By chance, the day of the photo shoot was the same day Chali came to the Adoption Center.
“I picked him up and brought him to the shoot,” Missy recalls. “He was the first dog we shot and he ended up being the Ace of Clubs.” While Missy worked on the project over the next few weeks, she continued to visit Chali, and slowly but surely, he stole her heart. “On the last day of shooting, I decided I couldn’t just leave him behind and I brought him home with me,” she says.
Missy changed Chali’s name to Rocky, and in the year since his adoption, the pair has become inseparable. He still comes to the ASPCA office for regular visits. “From the moment he walked into our home, it was like he had always been there,” Missy beams. “He was the perfect addition to our family and I love him more than anything.”
It’s hard to believe that anyone could abandon a dog like Rocky, but it’s clear that he is finally where he was always meant to be. He may have been the “Ace of Clubs” in our deck of cards, but to Missy, he’s the King of Hearts.
Kittens and puppies are cute as can be, but there’s something about senior pets that is undeniably special. Older animals often have a calm wisdom that their younger counterparts lack—but their age can make it more difficult to find them a home. Such was the case with Adrienne, a sweet senior cat who was adopted and returned to the ASPCA after eight years. Though it’s heartbreaking to see an animal lose their family, it made us that much more determined to find her a home that would last. Fortunately, Katherine D. showed up and gave her the “Happy Tail” she deserved.
Adrienne was adopted in 2005 when she was a little over one year old. In September 2014, after eight years together, her previous owner returned the fetching feline because she was moving to a place that didn’t allow animals. Adrienne was now ten years old—officially a “senior”—and in need of a new home. She was diagnosed with untreated asthma and bronchitis and began a steroid prescription to alleviate her discomfort. After five weeks of treatment, she was ready for adoption, and luckily, Katherine D. walked through our door at just the right moment.
Katherine grew up with many pets from shelters like the ASPCA, but it had been a number of years since she herself had been a pet parent. Once her son grew up and moved into his own apartment, the timing finally felt right for her to adopt. “Now that things are calmer, I thought it would be nice to have a pet again,” she said, so she began browsing adoptable cats on the ASPCA website. That’s when she spotted Adrienne.
“I saw Adrienne on the ASPCA website and I loved the way her face looked,” Katherine recalls. “She looked mellow and sweet and had beautiful eyes.” Katherine was also drawn toward Adrienne’s age, thinking that an older cat might enjoy lots of petting and be a good lap-cat. So she headed to the ASPCA Adoption Center with Adrienne “at the top of her list.”
Katherine’s first meeting with Adrienne did not disappoint. She recalls, “I could tell she was calm when we opened her habitat. She had the sweet face I’d seen on the website, and she didn’t seem jumpy or nervous.” Vets at the adoption center informed Katherine of Adrienne’s asthma and told her that she would need a once-daily pill for the foreseeable future. Adrienne said, “I was happy to look after her and give her medicine, and since she was older and had been returned, I knew she really deserved a quiet home where she could rest and be un-stressed.” She adopted Adrienne that day.
At Katherine’s Brooklyn apartment, Adrienne settled in right away. “When she came out of her carrier, she didn’t even try to run and hide,” Katherine recalls. “I just sat on the floor with her and she immediately wanted me to pet her…a lot.” It was the perfect fit, and in the weeks that followed, Katherine and Adrienne’s bond only grew. She now often calls her “Lady Adrienne,” as she acts very regal and thinks she’s a Queen!
“I think Adrienne is happy in her new home,” Katherine says. “She sleeps in the sun, hops up to come see me when I get home and basically sits near me wherever I am. She’s the perfect cat for me.” Though it took Adrienne eight years to find Katherine, we’re pretty sure this is one “forever home” that will truly last forever.
If you’re interested in adopting a senior pet, check out the ASPCA’s dogs and cats over the age of three.
When an animal is rescued from cruelty, the road to recovery is not always easy. A dog or cat exposed to abuse wouldn’t be blamed for wanting to shut down and avoid the world, but more often than not, the animals we meet prove to have an unrivaled resilience—a strength and spirit that shines through despite the darkness of their past. We are inspired by these animals every day, and we are so proud to share their stories. Here is the Happy Tail of one such animal, a Pit Bull named Stella.
On July 31, 2014, the ASPCA and the NYPD joined forces to rescue 20 dogs from a dog fighting operation in Queens, New York. Multiple dogs, many of whom were emaciated, scarred, and wearing heavy chains, were found without access to food or water. A bloody treadmill, weighted harnesses, steroids, syringes and other dog fighting paraphernalia were also found on the property. Stella was one of the canine victims rescued that day.
After her rescue, Stella spent a month at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where she received immediate medical attention and an eventual spay surgery. After her recovery, she was transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin her search for a forever home. In early October, she hit the jackpot in the form of Katelyn E. and her boyfriend, Jesse.
Kate and Jesse had been talking about dog adoption for a while before they met Stella. Kate says, “We were looking forward to having a pet in our family—someone to always keep us company and brighten our day. We also knew that there are so many dogs in shelters looking for a home, so we definitely wanted to adopt!” They met a number of dogs at the Adoption Center, but Stella stood out as the perfect match.
“We knew Stella was the right dog for us after our first meeting,” Kate recalls. “Her tail was wagging and she was just happy to be able to play with her toys.” They adopted the 40-lb. pooch and brought her home that same day.
Though we were thrilled to see Stella find a forever home, we knew that her painful past was still a fresh memory. Fortunately, Kate and Jesse were eager and willing to put in the effort to help sweet Stella adjust. “When we first brought Stella home she was very shy and scared,” Kate recalls. Everything was new for Stella—she huddled in her crate and was fearful of the apartment’s stairs. For the first few days, Kate and Jesse carried her up all four flights. But once she realized that Kate and Jesse’s home was now her home, too, Stella transformed.
“After the first few nights, Stella was like a new dog,” says Kate. “She is so happy to be with her new family. Every day we wake up to her wagging her tail—she literally jumps into our laps and kisses our faces to say good morning.” Stella now handles the stairs with ease and eagerly awaits snuggle time with her family. “Every new experience is so exciting for her,” Kate marvels. “She loves getting new toys, bones, and lots of hugs. She is such a sweet dog, and by far the best decision we have made. We are extremely happy with Stella.”
After a lifetime of pain, Stella’s new home probably seemed too good to be true. But she eventually realized that it is in fact the opposite—it’s everything she has always deserved. We couldn’t be more grateful for her very happy ending.
Just because two animals are bonded—or siblings, for that matter—doesn’t mean their personalities are the same. In fact, in the case of two brothers named Nathan and Troy, they couldn’t be any more different. But these kittens rely on each other, and fortunately, they found one loving home eager to take them both in. Here is their Happy Tail.
When Nathan and Troy came to the ASPCA at the tender age of five months, both were suffering from a severe case of ringworm. They had been transferred from the local city shelter and were admitted for treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where their distinct personalities quickly became clear. Orange tabby Nathan was shy and sensitive and preferred quiet, gentle attention, while grey tabby Troy was more of a show-off. Though they were opposites in many ways, these two tiny brothers stayed by each other’s side during their entire four-month stay in our Hospital. By September, the bonded duo was healthy and ready to find a forever home—provided they could find one together. Fortunately, adopters Matthew and Gina walked through our door on October 11.
Matthew and Gina came to the ASPCA after losing their beloved cat, Louis. His brother, Charlie, had passed two years before. The couple had adopted from us before and was eager to expand their feline-family. “We have always had cats in our lives,” Gina said. “If we could manage, we would adopt 10 or more!” As they toured the available animals at the ASPCA Adoption Center, they spotted Nathan and Troy and, in Gina’s words, “It was love at first sight.”
“We saw Nathan and Troy playing in their habitat,” Gina recalls. “Troy came over right away, Nathan was a little shy,” she adds, their personalities already shining. “But we knew they were the ones for us, and we were so happy to hear they were bonded.” The couple adopted both kitties that day and changed their names to King Harold and King Midas (Harry and Midey for short), and the foursome headed back to Brooklyn to begin their new life together.
Despite their differences, the inseparable kitties adjusted easily to their new home. “Harry and Midey are comfy-cozy and we’re all best of friends,” says Gina. “We feel like a big happy family all sleeping in the same bed.”
After a tough start to life—and a long stay in the hospital—we’re so glad that these baby brothers have found a home that fits them both. “They are so happy together,” says Gina. “Matthew and I are in love with them.” We think these two got more than just “kingly” names—they finally got the royal treatment they deserve.
At the ASPCA, animal adoptions are at the heart of what we do. There is no better feeling than rescuing an animal from abuse, neglect or cruelty and helping them find the forever home they deserve. We work 365 days a year to create these “Happy Tails,” and in 2014, our New York City Adoption Centerhelped over 3,500 animals find loving families.
To celebrate these new beginnings, we’re taking a look back at the year’s ten most popular Happy Tails. These were the most read, most shared adoption stories of the year, and we are so thrilled to celebrate them here today:
Cher was abused, shoved into a garbage bag and abandoned in a grocery store parking lot. After the ASPCA rescued her, our long-time volunteer Susan H. decided to give her the forever home she deserved. Now she spends her days happy, playing, and, most importantly, loved.
After being rescued from mysterious circumstances, Shepherd/Collie mix Escher was shy, fearful and very wary of humans. But an ASPCA photographer recognized that underneath the pain, this timid dog was eager to love and be loved. Now he is thriving in his new home.
Brewster the pit bull was rescued from an abusive situation. Though he was timid and nervous around people, he and Joshua connected right away. Joshua adopted him, and these two best friends now spend their days at the dog park, running, playing and exploring their neighborhood.
Leia was underweight and very tiny when Emily took her in as a foster. After syringe-feeding the sweet kitty for two weeks, Emily realized that she had stolen her heart. Leia is now happy, healthy and loving life in her forever home.
When Vivian adopted Blue, she knew nothing of the horrors the nine-month-old pup had endured at the hands of dog fighters. One of 77 dogs rescued in a multi-state dog fighting raid, Blue refused to be defined by his past. He now spends his days snuggling with Vivian, going for car rides and enjoying delicious home cooking.
Hunan and Adore were found as strays, and both were suffering from serious eye damage. They were adopted by two roommates who quickly learned that when you combine one home, two friends and countless whiskers, you can create one big loving family!
When a Vet Tech at the ASPCA Animal Hospital met a pit bull named Domingo, she thought he was just another one of her patients. But months of working with the traumatized dog brought him out of his shell and he slowly won her heart. Now, Domingo is living a life fit for a king in Alaina's home.
When Seymour arrived at the ASPCA, we could tell that he had been through a lot. Timid and shy with a face full of scars, this 70-lb. Catahoula Leopard mix needed a special adopter to bring him out of his shell. Fortunately, that perfect person came along—and our gentle giant found his perfect forever home.
Many of you followed the story of King, the one-year-old cat who was shown being brutally kicked in an online video. After recovering at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, King was adopted and is now getting the "royal treatment" in his new home.
Spike the pit bull has been through a lot. Rescued from horrific abuse and rehabilitated at the ASPCA, he waited two years for a forever home. Finally, on Christmas Eve 2013, two brothers showed up to adopt him. Spike now spends his days at their racing shop in New Jersey. He spends his nights in their warm, loving home.