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.
Many of you may remember Dash: The four-year-old Cane Corso was a staff favorite who spent over a year at the ASPCA. In April, he was featured in our Adoption Spotlight, and soon after that, he found a forever home. We recently checked in with Dash’s adopter to see how this “gentle giant” is enjoying his new life, and we are thrilled to bring you an update today. Here is Dash’s Happy Tail.
In April 2014, the NYPD rescued Dash and three other dogs from extreme cruelty in Queens, New York. He was brought to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where he arrived with severe skin disease, stomach issues and a timid but kind personality. Dash spent the next eight months in the hospital, where he received weekly baths to soothe his skin and melatonin to calm his nerves. It was clear that this special boy needed some extra TLC, so ASPCA Veterinarian Dr. Jasmine Bruno offered to take him in as a foster pet.
In Dr. Bruno’s home, the big brindle pup continued to come out of his shell. “Dash is an incredible dog who I would say is the perfect definition of a ‘gentle giant,’” Dr. Bruno reported. “He can be a little shy at first…But all he wants is a companion that will give him the same amount of affection that he gives non-stop.”
In April 2015, Dash’s time under our care passed the one-year mark. We wanted so badly to find him a forever home, and fortunately, Angelika P. of Newton, Pennsylvania, came to his rescue. “I wanted to give a less fortunate animal a home where patience and love were a given,” says Angelika, who had previous experience fostering dogs rescued from abuse. She was also looking for a large-breed dog because she wanted to help fight misconceptions and educate people about their potential. “When I saw Dash on the website, I immediately knew he was perfect,” she says.
Already a pet-parent to a mixed-breed pooch named Lushbrick, Angelika was eager to meet Dash in person. She and “Lush” met him at a park, and he instantly felt like part of the family. “Everything about his personality was awesome, and Lush instantly picked up with him, wanting to protect him from other dogs. Not to mention, he’s such a handsome boy!”
Angelika adopted Dash on April 28, and since then, he has proven to be everything she had hoped for and more. “It amazes me how Dash evolves more and more every day. My family and I seem to be constantly saying, ‘Wow! Did you see what Dash did today? He never does that, or he’s normally scared of that!’” she says with pride. And he has definitely found comfort in his new home—Lushbrick won’t leave his side (and he won’t have it any other way)! Angelika says, “Dash is a real-life BFG (Big Friendly Giant).”
Reflecting on Dash’s difficult past, Angelika says, “It breaks my heart that people who cannot be responsible for their pets break that trust with abuse, neglect or abandonment. I wanted a rescue dog to know commitment, and above commitment, to know unconditional love.” We think she’s given that to Dash in spades, and for that we are so grateful. Congrats, Dash!
When potential adopters meet a cat with Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV), they are often unsure of its implications. Although FIV is a serious infection, the truth is that many cats will carry the virus for a long time before symptoms appear—and that with proper management and care, an FIV-positive cat can live a long and fulfilling life. So when an FIV-positive cat named Godzilla began his search for a forever home, we knew that the right adopter would be someone willing to look beyond his diagnosis and see the loving pet he could be. Here is Godzilla’s Happy Tail.
Godzilla arrived at the ASPCA this past January after being transferred from a nearby rescue group. During his intake at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the friendly two-year-old tabby received a full physical exam and complete blood work, which is when we learned of his FIV-positive status. Although we cannot be sure of Godzilla’s history, FIV is mainly passed from cat to cat through deep bite wounds—the kind that usually occur outdoors during fights and territorial disputes—so it is possible that he had been living on the streets at some point. Another mode of FIV transmission is from an FIV-infected mother cat to her kitten, although this is less common and less likely.
There is no specific antiviral treatment for FIV, but as mentioned, many cats remain asymptomatic for a long period of time. Godzilla appeared to be in that asymptomatic phase, so our primary goal was to place him into a loving home right away to extend his good health and ensure that his needs were met. Fortunately, it wasn’t long before Godzilla met Jonathan.
Jonathan had known for a long time that he wanted a companion animal, but February 12 marked his first visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center. “The volunteers at the ASPCA took great care in finding a cat that would suit my needs, and Godzilla was one of those few cats,” he recalls. “The moment we met him, we fell in love!” We filled Jonathan in on Godzilla’s history, but it was clear that the handsome cat had already worked his magic: Jonathan adopted Godzilla that day.
Back at Jonathan’s Brooklyn apartment, Godzilla made it instantly clear that he was the new king of the castle. Jonathan reported, “Contrary to all we’ve heard about cats, Godzilla very quickly and seamlessly adjusted to our home. He started exploring within minutes and became affectionate toward us almost as quickly.”
Additionally, Godzilla’s new home proved to be just what the doctor ordered. In an update a few months later, Jonathan proudly announced that the cat has maintained a near-perfect bill of health. “Godzilla visited the vet recently and he’s very healthy. The vet was especially impressed with the quality of his fur and gums, which are both problem areas for FIV cats,” Jonathan says. Although he has put on a little bit of weight (a side effect of his spoiled new life), he’s now on a diet and Jonathan says he’s doing great!
We are so happy to hear stories like this because they are a reminder of the amazing potential of special-needs pets. Godzilla’s FIV status has no effect on his sweet heart, and we are so happy that he found an adopter who saw what an amazing companion he could be. Congrats to them both!