For tiny tabbies Blair and Garrett, the road to adoption was not always easy. The young siblings were rescued as strays and spent nearly two years bouncing from home to home, partially because big brother Garrett’s rambunctious personality was more than most adopters could handle. But through it all, his sister stuck by his side, and now these sweet cats are living the good life together in a loving home. Here is their Happy Tail.
Blair and Garrett first arrived at the ASPCA in October 2013. Just tiny kittens at the time, they were quickly adopted into a home where they stayed for nearly two years. In January 2015, however, the adopter was forced to return them when she moved to a place that did not allow pets.
In the time since we had seen them last, Blair and Garrett had grown into friendly, social cats, but they were reliant on one another and needed to find a new home where they could stay together. We were thrilled to see them adopted in February—only to be dismayed by their return three days later. Then they were adopted a third time and brought back after five days. In both instances, the adopters reported that Blair was calm and sweet while Garrett was prone to boyish antics and loud vocalizations. We began to worry, but then, almost as if on cue, Sally F. walked through our door.
After losing her cat, Pablo, in January, Sally was bereft. “I thought it would be good to take a break—to live without the litter dust and those pre-dawn wake-up meows,” she says, “but I was totally miserable.” Missing the companionship of a feline, she and her boyfriend decided to stop by the ASPCA Adoption Center while running errands on Valentine’s Day.
Sally swore that it would just be a quick visit, but her plans went out the window the moment she met Blair and Garrett. “I thought they were beautiful, friendly and sweet,” she says. “Having planned to just ‘look’ at adoptable cats that day, I somehow walked out with two!”
Sally renamed the siblings Penny and Scooter, and in an email update a few months later, she wrote: “For the first few days, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could ever return such perfect cats. They were social, affectionate and lots of fun. Then Scooter’s mischeiv0o9==============.”
Scooter had stepped on the keyboard just Sally wrote that his “mischievous side came out.”
Yes, true to his reputation, Scooter was up to his old tricks. Sally told us that he had rearranged the art on her walls and thought everything in her home was a toy. “He was an active little boy who didn’t like me to get more than two hours of sleep at a time,” she says, “but luckily, I had fallen in love with them so I knew there was no way they were going back.”
Sally’s patience (and a little bit of redecorating) paid off, as Scooter soon settled down and relaxed into his new life. “He’s so much better now,” she says. “Scooter and Penny are so sweet and loving, and I can’t stop taking pictures of them snuggling together.”
Though it took multiple attempts, this brother and sister are finally happy and safe in a loving home. In closing, Sally tells us, “You can rest assured that this adoption is going to stick. They’re here forever.”
Some animals are people-pleasers: they love everyone they meet and aren’t afraid to show affection. Some animals are shy, and instead prefer to devote themselves to one or two close confidantes who have earned their trust. Cheerio, a one-year-old Maltese rescued from cruelty, was the latter. Fortunately, she found the perfect companion to share her life—and her love—with after being rescued by the ASPCA. Here is her Happy Tail.
When Cheerio was rescued in February 2015, she had a hair band embedded deep in her neck and head. Although her skin had started to repair itself, the band had caused damage to her left ear canal. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Cheerio received medical care, along with dental and spay surgeries, before heading to our Adoption Center to search for a home.
But the abuse Cheerio had endured left her emotionally drained—she was nervous around strangers and other dogs and cried when left alone. Underneath the scared exterior, though, Cheerio was a sweet pooch eager for affection. Once she warmed up to someone, she would stick right by their side. The true definition of a “lap dog,” she loved to be stroked and cuddled. We knew that some adopter would be very lucky to have her, and fortunately, we met Jacqueline A. just a few months later.
Jacqueline admits that she wasn’t always eager for a new furry friend. “When our Bichon Frise passed away after being part of the family for 16 years, I decided to never have a dog again,” she confesses. The heartbreak was more than she could handle. But Jacqueline’s son had a different point of view. “He argued that our dog, even though a family dog, had been rather mine,” she says. “He said he wanted to go through the experience of adopting a dog and having a dog that would follow him, like my dog followed me around the house. A dog that he could call his own.”
Moved by her son’s request, Jacqueline began “window shopping” on the ASPCA website, and less than a month later they were at our Adoption Center meeting available pups in person. “We wanted a small dog that could come with us everywhere we went,” Jacqueline says, and it wasn’t long before they spotted Cheerio. “As we walked through the ASPCA, we saw her through a glass wall, all curled up and shaking. We couldn’t see her face, just a number of gray, black and taupe spots on her shaved, white body.” Cheerio had just been released from the Hospital and wasn’t ready for adoption yet, but Jacqueline’s son took one look and said “THAT ONE” without hesitation. “We decided to wait as long as it took for her to be ready for us.”
On April 10, Cheerio was finally ready. Jacqueline and her son adopted her and gave her a new name, Piccola, which means “small” or “little” in Italian. Jacqueline says, “From the moment she came home, she displayed a great personality. She is friendly, vivacious, sometimes naughty, and so cute that we can’t take a walk without being stopped every few steps with a petting request.”
What’s more, Jacqueline adds, “From the first day, she determined that my son was her ‘person.’ Even though I am the one who feeds her and bathes her, it is my son whom she follows around the home.” In other words, it sounds like both Cheerio and Jacqueline’s son got exactly what they both wanted: a best friend to call their own. Congratulations to this happy new family!
While cats and dogs are known to behave like, well, cats and dogs, the truth is that some animals are a lot like people. They have distinct personalities, quirks and needs, and occasionally, they find someone with whom they really “click.” That seems to have been the case for Spencer, a sensitive cat who was lucky to find equally sensitive adopters. It was a perfect match, and shy Spencer soon blossomed into a perfect furry friend. Here is his Happy Tail.
One-year-old Spencer came to the ASPCA after being abandoned near a cat colony in Astoria, Queens, last November. The handsome black-and-white cat enjoyed quiet, gentle attention, but was nervous around new people and had a tendency to act defensively when approached too fast. At the ASPCA Adoption Center, our expert Behavior team spent some time helping Spencer come out of his shell, and he was soon ready for adoption. In January, he met Linda and Stuart Miller.
The Millers’ 16-year-old cat, Max, had been with them since he was four months old. When he passed away in October, they were devastated. “He really was the king of our house and our baby,” she says. In the months that followed, Linda and her son, Jake, visited adoption events every weekend in the city, but she wasn’t entirely sure how she wanted to proceed. “I knew that getting over Max would never get easier, and I missed the love in our house that a pet created. But the bottom line was that my husband didn’t feel he was ready for a new pet yet,” she says.
As the months went on, Linda’s desire for a new pet grew but Stuart remained steadfast. “I continued to look online for pictures of cats for adoption, but not until many, many times of enticing my husband—where he did no more than glance at the photos—did he pay attention, until I showed him Spencer,” she recalls. As it turns out, Spencer reminded them of Max—so much so that Stuart immediately agreed to meet him.
At the Adoption Center, the couple learned about Spencer’s history and his nervous tendencies. Fortunately, they were perfectly-equipped to handle Spencer’s unique set of needs: “My husband and I both work with developmentally challenged babies, children and teens, so we are good with being patient, calm and extremely nurturing. We were okay with letting Spencer take his time,” she says. Their patience paid off, and the cat slowly allowed the couple to approach him, offer treats and even play a bit. “I knew my husband was hooked,” Linda laughs.
On January 28, the Millers adopted Spencer and changed his named to Marty, which was soon expanded to “Marty Pants,” due to his love for sitting on a pair of Linda’s sweatpants. And although Marty Pants had big kitty shoes to fill, he proved to be the ideal match. Linda recalls, “From the very first night in our home, we have never looked back.”
Within a couple of weeks with his new family, Marty grew into a much happier, more confident cat. “He has continued to blossom every week,” Linda says proudly. “He gets the best food, both canned and home cooked, and comes running when called, has lots of toys, settled into our home routine and is now giving and receiving lots of love. Marty is a perfect fit in our home.”
Although Marty Pants is still working on his nose-to-nose kissing skills, he has come a long way from the nervous nelly he once was. Linda says, “We play, he talks, knows his routine and is really happy. We all are.” Congratulations to Marty and the Millers for finding the perfect fit!
Although we treat victims of cruelty nearly every single day, Bea’s story is particularly heartbreaking. After being rescued by the NYPD in January, the two-year-old pit bull arrived at the ASPCA with a horrific head wound. She was extremely shy and very nervous around people, and it was apparent that she had suffered grave abuse. We vowed to find Bea a loving home where she could forget her previous pain, and fortunately, it wasn’t long before we did just that. Here is Bea’s Happy Tail.
When Bea arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, she had a large, bloody gash on the top of her head. It was a suspected stab wound. She received immediate treatment, including multiple stitches, and spent over a month recovering in the Hospital. By early March, she was ready to begin her search for a forever home, but it was clear that her emotional wounds ran much deeper than the physical wound on her head.
During Bea’s Behavioral evaluation, we saw first-hand how the sweet dog had been impacted by the abuse she suffered. Bea was incredibly shy, nervous and fearful; she needed encouragement just to walk past things that frightened her. But despite her timidity, Bea was sweet and affectionate with people she knew. Once someone earned her trust, she would gladly jump into their lap and relish their attention. We knew she just needed patient adopters who would take the time to make her comfortable, and fortunately it wasn’t long before we met Molly and Daniel.
Although Molly and Daniel dreamed of adopting a dog for nearly five years, the couple was juggling multiple jobs and full-time graduate school, which made it difficult to think about bringing a pup into the mix. But Molly says, “All that changed when we met Bea. We fell in love with her and just knew we would figure out a way to make it work.”
On their first-ever visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center, Molly and Daniel were drawn to Bea (or “Beezus,” as they call her) and wanted to meet her. “She was really shy at first,” Molly recalls, “But I could just sense that she was special.” We filled them in on Bea’s story and worked out a course of action: To avoid putting stress on Bea, the couple decided to spend a week visiting her at the Adoption Center to build trust and a connection.
“Beezus was the happiest dog with a great personality,” says Molly, “but she was really shy at first and it took a number of visits before she would even come over to us.” Fortunately, their patience paid off—after a week of visits, Bea had fallen for them just as much as they had fallen for her. “I had a feeling that once we showed her love, her trust in humans would rebuild—and we were right!” Molly says. On March 27, they officially adopted Beezus and brought her to her new home in Brooklyn, New York.
In an update a few months later, Molly was proud to report that Beezus loves her new life. “She settled in better than we ever could have imagined. She is right at home here.” The couple was also happy to learn that Beezus is exceptionally well-trained, which Molly calls “an unexpected gift.” She says that Beezus loves all of her neighbors, loves riding in the elevator and loves playing with the little dogs in the neighborhood. “She also adores tennis balls, her Monkees blanket and endless cuddling.”
It take a special kind of adopter to see beyond an animal’s pain to their true potential, and Molly and Daniel could not have been a more perfect fit for sweet Bea. Molly says, “Some dogs love everyone they meet, which is great, but with Beezus, you have to earn the love and it makes it that much more special.” We know that Molly and Daniel earned Bea’s love, and we are so grateful that this precious pup has finally found the home of her dreams.
Animal hoarding is a complex animal welfare issue that can involve mental health and public safety concerns. Hoarding occurs when an individual has more animals than they can adequately care for, and in some cases—like that of kittens Hilary and Wendy—it can lead to some serious physical impairments. But old wounds weren’t enough to dampen these sweet cats’ spirits, and the bonded duo was eager to find a loving home where they could stay together. It took nearly a year, but they finally got the Happy Tail they were waiting for. Here is their story.
Hilary and Wendy came from an apartment with 14 cats and two dogs. The dogs lived in a partially-finished basement, while most of the cats lived outside and slept on and around the owner’s front steps. None of the cats were spayed or neutered, many were in poor health and some, including Hilary, had upper respiratory infections.
After their rescue in July 2014, Hilary and Wendy were taken to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) for further examination and treatment. It was there that we discovered the full depth of their suffering: In addition to stunted growth, both Wendy and Hilary were diagnosed with severe eye issues. Hilary, who is four months older, was nearly blind and, in addition to the aforementioned respiratory infection, arrived with an ear infection and chronic rhinitis. Wendy, who appears to have no eyes, actually does, but they are congenitally small, a result of the conditions in which she was born. She is blind.
Despite their hardships, the kitties had developed loving, distinct personalities. “Hilary’s like the big sister and Wendy is the little sister,” said Liliana Gomez, a Veterinary Technician who cared for the duo. “Hilary’s the leader, Wendy’s the follower. But they’re both very affectionate.”
William Rivera, an Animal Care Technician, remembers working at AAH the day that Hilary and Wendy arrived. “Hilary was sneezing blood,” he said. “But I’ve been in love with her since day one. They are the perfect combination: One’s spunky, the other’s laid back. They just feed off each other and love being together.”
Hilary and Wendy remained at AAH for eight months before they were ready to move into our Adoption Center in March 2015. For two more months, they waited and waited for the perfect adopter until finally, in May, they met an ASPCA volunteer named Elizabeth.
“I grew up with cats and my mother fostered cats throughout my childhood,” says Elizabeth, who volunteers as a cat socializer whenever her work schedule allows. “When I met Hilary and Wendy, I knew they were special. They immediately struck me as sweet and easy-going cats. I had a good feeling that they’d be happy in my home.” On May 2, she adopted them and changed their names to Pepa and Lola.
Pepa and Lola settled right into Elizabeth’s home, and it didn’t take long before their trademark personalities began to shine. “They seemed very comfortable on their first day,” Elizabeth reported, “especially Pepa—who likes to roll around on my blankets and have her belly rubbed.” After exploring every inch of the apartment, the cats were clearly in their happy place. “Within a day or two they were already able to hop onto my bed, despite their vision loss. I was really proud of them when the accomplished it the first time,” she says.
And Pepa and Lola are definitely enjoying living the good life. Elizabeth adds, “They love frolicking around the living room and dashing from one side to the other. They are both early risers, and so far I haven’t overslept my alarm once thanks to them!” she laughs. And it seems like the cats are also enjoying the safety and security of a stable, loving home—“Tonight we are watching old “Frasier” episodes on Netflix,” Elizabeth says with a smile.
From playful games to snuggly TV sessions, Pepa and Lola are a long way from their painful past. We are so thrilled that these kitties have found the perfect home together, and, despite their vision loss, we know they’ve got nothing but a bright future ahead.