The story of how Betsy M. came to be the guardian of three Dachshunds and the story of how she met her husband, Jamie, are intertwined. It all began in the early 1980s when Betsy decided to adopt two Dachshund puppies from a coworker. She named them Schatzie and Schmoozie. After one of the pups came over and rested his paw on her knee, she was easily persuaded to take not one, but two of the dogs home to her New York City apartment.
One day, while Betsy and her mother were walking along Second Avenue with Schatzie and Schmoozie, a man driving by stopped and said he had just seen a larger Dachshund at the ASPCA Adoption Center with the same coloring as the puppies and suggested Betsy go see her. After calling the ASPCA to inquire about the dog, Betsy scraped together all the money she had and set out to adopt her. She decided to keep her original name, Annie.
The first few days with Annie were rough. Betsy stayed home from work to monitor the introductions, and Annie got in spats with both Schatzie and Schmoozie. After a few days, Betsy had no choice but to return to work, and she feared what she might find when she returned home that evening. To her surprise, all three dogs were snuggled up together.
One evening soon after, Betsy was at a party when she met a British man named Jamie. After hearing about her furry friends, Jamie invited Betsy to tea at his apartment, and suggested she bring her dogs. She decided to take Annie along, and upon entering Jamie’s apartment, Annie made herself right at home on Jamie’s couch. Betsy and Jamie married a year later in 1983, and Betsy says she feels sure that Annie played a significant role in bringing the two together.
Decades have passed, and Betsy and Jamie are still together. Furry friends have come and gone from their lives since those first three Dachshunds, but Betsy is still thankful for Schatzie, Schmoozie and Annie. She says having the dogs changed her life.
Sarah R.’s cat Willa, adopted from the ASPCA Adoption Center in May 2012, really enjoys New York City living. From Sarah’s apartment window, Willa can spend hours doing her favorite thing: pigeon-watching. Sarah and Willa love spending time together, and it’s clear they are two peas in a pod. Sarah shared the following story with us:
I got Sparkle, now named Willa, from the ASPCA on Mother's Day in May 2012. I saw her and immediately knew she was the right cat for me. I had placed her back in her enclosure and asked to view another cat, but Willa became incredibly jealous and was not having it. My friends, the staff and I laughed when Willa gave me a look that said, "Don’t even think about getting that other cat."
I went with my instincts to get the cat with the "sparkly eyes"—Mrs. Sparkle. I brought a little red collar along with a bird toy and carrier with hearts colored in lime green, pink and purple along with me to the Adoption Center. Everyone knew she was going to a loving home.
Willa was a handful at first, but she has been a purrrrre joy. There are plenty of windows in the apartment for Willa to watch the pigeons. Each night after I come home from work, I’ll pick her up, and we give each other kisses. I then ask her, "Did you catch a bird today Willa?" I bought her a bird toy that chirps when you move or shake it.
When she’s not birdwatching, Willa loves to climb to the highest of heights. When she’s on top of the cabinet, she likes to play peek-a-boo. She makes sure she has my full attention from above. It’s really quite cute. At the end of the day, we both have our meals and watch television shows. In the morning, Willa is my little alarm clock. Her technique is to wake me up by going for my feet from under the covers.
Willa is a spitfire and a sweet girl. Adopting her was the best decision I have ever made!
Thor, a dog with special needs, has covered a lot of territory over the past three years. Since her adoption from the ASPCA Adoption Center in 2009, she has traveled with her pet parents, Steven R. and Roberto D., to countries including the Netherlands, Spain, England and Scotland. Steven shared the following story with us about this globetrotting pup:
We adopted our dog in June 2009. At the ASPCA her name was Mimi, but now she goes by Thor, which is much more fitting for her personality. When we first met her, she had just recovered from surgery. Thor had been hit by a car and had to have one of her hind legs amputated. Having three legs did not put a damper on her happiness and high energy.
Thor is now an international star! When my husband got a job offer in the Netherlands, we moved to Amsterdam for a year. After the flight, she looked a bit distressed, so we let her sleep in the bed that night for the first time. Now there is no going back—and she insists on sleeping between us every night. We gave her a pillow of her own.
Since then, Thor has been to Barcelona, where Roberto is from, several times for vacation. She's also been to Mallorca, Scotland and Utrecht. We now live in London, and it looks like this is where we will be settling down. Even with her three legs, Thor is always excited about taking several walks a day through the park next to our flat. She is very popular. In fact, she just won second place in a "cutest dog" competition for the north London neighborhood of Stoke Newington!
In the coming year, we hope to adopt a sister for her so we can add to our happy little family.
When Nada P., an ASPCA staffer, agreed to take on Champ, an office foster cat with special needs, she had no idea that he would soon join her feline family. It didn’t take long for her to fall in love with Champ, now named Mr. Wiggles, and her three resident cats, Tiger, Bucky and Squeaker, welcomed him to the group. She shared the following story with us:
I first met Champ when he came to my office as a foster in September 2012. At the ASPCA, we have a great program where special needs cats get extra attention from staff who volunteer to care for them in their offices. Champ has cerebellar hypoplasia, a condition that makes him wobbly. He was quite wobbly at first, and would fall every time he looked up at me. However, he did manage to eat, drink water and use the litter box by himself. He quickly became a staff favorite because of his sweet nature and adorable good looks. Needless to say, I was smitten from the moment I met him.
As more and more people met him and mentioned that they may want to adopt him, the more I thought, “I need to take him home before anyone else does.” My only worry was how my other three cats would react to him. On December 14, 2012, I finally decided to take a chance and see how Tiger, Bucky and Squeaker would react to Champ. After a careful, slow introduction and a few nerve-racking encounters, my other boys fell for him as hard as I did. Champ, now named Mr. Wiggles, and his brothers are the best of friends. I could not be happier that I took a chance on him. He plays with wanton abandon and runs through our apartment so fast that it looks like he’s flying. When he has his “crazies,” he hops around like a deer, which makes him even faster. He has also become much more stable over time, and easily outruns his brothers. I am so grateful the ASPCA Adoption Center brought this angel into our lives.
Got a special adoption story? Share it (or Champ’s story!) on social media using the hashtag #HappyTail.
The life of a racing Greyhound is often short and painful. Every year, thousands of young and healthy Greyhounds are euthanized because they are no longer deemed worthy racers, but some of the lucky ones make it to Greyhound rescues. ASPCA staffer Lauren discusses adopting her Greyhound, Lewis, a racing survivor.
When my then-fiancé, Grant, and I began looking for a dog, we assumed that we would need to narrow our search to smaller breeds because of our NYC lifestyle. On a whim, I searched for large-breed dogs that are suitable for apartment living. Much to our surprise, Greyhounds were the most recommended! We fell in love with the breed.
A volunteer from an NYC Greyhound rescue visited our apartment with a spotted, male Greyhound who had recently retired from the industry. While this gentle giant had some difficulty climbing the stairs to our apartment, once inside he had no problem exploring every inch—all 400 square feet!
When Linda left that day, Grant and I looked at each other and without words knew we had found our dog. We called Linda the next day and arranged to pick him up. Being an avid Formula 1 fan, Grant decided to name our new dog Lewis after Lewis Hamilton, the race car driver. Considering his retired profession, I found it quite fitting.
Learning about Lewis
As we fell more in love with Lew, I started researching his past. Like all racing Greyhounds, Lewis has ear tattoos: his birthday and litter number on one side, his ID number on the other. I typed his ID number into a registry and learned he’d participated in 40 races and won eight. He raced until he was nearly three, which is a long career. I also learned he’d raced at Ebro Greyhound Park. He was pulled from Ebro in September 2010; in October 2010, an owner at the same track was arrested after 30 dogs died from starvation.
At the track, Lewis lived in a stacked cage, only coming out four times a day: twice to go to the bathroom and twice to train. When we met Lewis, he was fearful, really underweight and had flea dermatitis—but that’s really good shape compared to how many Greyhounds come out of the industry. It took three weeks for his personality to come out. But when it did, it was hysterical—Greyhounds are hysterical—he was lying upside down, sneaking on the couch and sneaking onto our bed. It made me think this was likely the first time his personality was allowed to shine.
Lewis made himself at home in our NYC apartment right away, but shortly before getting married, Grant and I moved to the house in the suburbs. Lew loves the new space, and he’s got a dog bed on each floor. He loves car rides—any time we go on any errands he comes along and adores it. Lew lives for the tennis ball and will jump eight feet in the air for it. He spends weekends playing in our backyard and at the neighborhood park.
Lewis loves children, and that’s why we’re really excited for him to meet his new little (human) brother or sister in the next month! We think he’ll be a great big brother. He just turned six on Earth Day. It’s cheesy, but I always say his birthday makes sense, since he’s my whole world.