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.
In late March, Kelley D. visited the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan in search of the perfect canine companion. There, she met Amber, a dog who initially showed a cautious interest in Kelley, but has since become a full-fledged family member. Kelley shared the following story with us.
We were looking for a dog that would match our lives well—one who could be an only dog, comfortable with anyone and everyone, not too small and not too large. We were also looking for a dog who was ready to live in a New York City apartment.
Amber was one of the dogs in the Adoption Center who showed an interest in us—she cautiously approached her door when we stood in front of her kennel.
It was our first time in the Adoption Center, and our first time adopting from the ASPCA. It was great! The Adoption Center is so busy, so we were so pleased we had as much time as we did speaking to different staff members. We didn't feel rushed or like we needed to make a decision right there. When we did make a decision, the staff was supportive and gave us a ton of info to take home with us. The package we got was great!
Amber has made huge strides since coming home! When we first adopted her, she was scared of pretty much everything and everyone. Now she is incredibly friendly, actively plays with all kinds of other dogs and is not jumpy at all. She is also quite clever and is learning tricks and obedience lessons quickly. We are getting her settled and confident in her new life.
Got a special adoption story? Share it (or Amber’s story!) on social media using the hashtag #HappyTail.
When Brittney K. visited the ASPCA Adoption Center in search of a feline companion for her resident cat, she decided to adopt a shy cat named Sofie. She felt the adoption was meant to be after finding out that Sofie had been rescued during Hurricane Sandy, a storm Brittney had experienced firsthand.
I decided to adopt Sofie to help my first cat, Wednesday, play more frequently—or at least to chase her around the house regularly—and because I grew up in a family that adopted shelter animals and felt an urge to help another homeless animal.
This time I decided to go to the ASPCA, and I was very impressed by the facilities and the happiness spread across the volunteers' faces. My two guides took plenty of time with me—I didn't feel rushed into adoption—and they answered each question I had.
Sofie didn't catch my eye right away. She hid in the corner, but you could tell that she wanted to come out and play. I scooted over to her corner and she rolled over on her back and started purring immediately. That's when I knew she was joining our family!
At first, and as expected, Sofie didn't want to come out from under my bed. I selected my bedroom as her living quarters for the first 14 days, but she wanted to come out much sooner than that. Though the adjustment between the two cats has been short of smooth sailing, they are starting to get along.
Sofie is becoming a lap cat and jumps on top of me any time I sit down. She follows me all over the apartment and has made the place her own. Her energy and excitement will be the perfect fit for our family.
Toward the end of my adoption, a behavioral specialist came to chat with me and let me know Sofie was a Hurricane Sandy rescue. After watching some close friends experience the aftermath of the storm and helping our city rebuild, it was absolutely clear to me that we were meant to find each other!
Got a special adoption story? Share it (or Sofie’s story!) on social media using the hashtag #HappyTail.
It’s been a little more than a year since Loretta W. met Jane, her new pup, at the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan, but it didn’t take long for her to become a full-fledged dog lover and devoted pet parent. Loretta shared the following story with us about her time with Jane so far.
February was the one-year anniversary of the morning I saw Jane's face on Petfinder and brought her home four hours later from the ASPCA Adoption Center. I never imagined myself with a points card at a pet store, having to slap my own hand to stop me buying another dog sweater, chew toy, grooming tool or accessory—but that's me now. I didn't see myself brushing a dog's teeth, massaging her joints and muscles, kissing her head or staying vigilant about her personal hygiene either, and now it's routine.
Most importantly, just before I took Jane in to the vet for her wellness check-up in October 2012—where she got a clean bill of health—I read through the 20+ pages of her medical records from her two months at the ASPCA Animal Hospital. I was so grateful to see the absolute VIP medical treatment Jane received as she was treated for pneumonia, anemia, mammary tumors (including one malignancy), an umbilical hernia and dental issues, plus getting spayed. It's thanks to the scrupulous care she was given at the ASPCA that I was able to end up with the best dog anyone could ever want.
She's a lot of fun, a real character, and makes me laugh all the time. My apartment building in Brooklyn is dog crazy, most of them rescues. Jane, while fundamentally independent, has many friends among the residents and dogs in the building, as well as among the people and dogs in the neighborhood and park. She's a completely established member of the community. Jane is especially wonderful with puppies and young dogs of any size—she is confident, extremely patient, tolerant and sweet. She's a real city girl.
Got a special adoption story? Share it (or Jane’s story!) on social media using the hashtag #HappyTail.
After Benjamin B.’s beloved cat, Fat Larry, escaped from his apartment, his roommates thought they found him at the ASPCA. Sadly, this new cat turned out not to be Larry. He was a loveable imposter. Benjamin shared the following bittersweet story with us:
My roommates left our apartment door open and let out my cat, Fat Larry, while I was working my night job. I was upset and in disbelief that my favorite pet in the world had gone missing. Weeks turned into months until finally in December 2010, the ASPCA contacted my roommates about a Tabby cat rescued in Manhattan. They rushed to the shelter and brought the cat back to our apartment.
When I returned home that evening, I discovered a large cat that looked almost identical to my beloved Larry. My roommates tried to convince me it was him. Frustrated with their feeble attempts to restore feline order in our apartment, I named this cat Fat Barry.
At first, Barry was timid, shaky, and despite having a huge belly, seemed to have no appetite. We set him up with a cozy bed, but he spent entire days in our cold, damp tub. If more than one person entered the room, he became paralyzed with fear. After several visits to the vet, I knew Barry was struggling psychologically.
Finally, I decided to bring him upstate to my parents’ house in a quiet, suburban neighborhood in Albany. A few weeks went by and Barry began settling into his new home. He was sleeping in the bed we set up for him and nibbling at his food. Barry was still nervous with multiple people in the room, but he would let one person pick him up and pet him. I was shocked the first time Barry actually jumped on to my lap to request some petting.
I am proud to report that Barry is now the happiest cat in upstate New York. He enjoys rolling around in the grass, and when there’s more than one person in the room, he is content as long as everyone is petting him.
Barry came into my life due to a loss of another cat, but sometimes things happen for a reason. With a little love, all pets can live a happy life.