If ever there was a dog whose prospects looked grim, it was Carson the Shih Tzu. Two years ago, when the three-year-old breeding dog was rescued from a puppy mill in central Minnesota, Carson’s face and underweight body were completely overwhelmed by huge mats of hair, urine and feces. When his rescuers bathed him, they discovered that his eyes had been eaten away by infection. There was nothing left to save: His eye sockets were cleaned out and his lids sewn shut.
Jessica Danielson was on Petfinder.com seeking a companion for her senior pooch Diesel, and although she wasn’t looking for a challenge, she was drawn to Carson’s posting. “I knew I could give him everything he needed. God put him right there and said ‘This is the one. He needs you.’ When I called the rescue to set up a meeting, Carson’s foster mom almost started crying because she thought he’d never find a home.”
“It took almost a year before he would trust me enough to cuddle me, kiss my face, and just feel safe enough to wander the house,” remembers Jessica. In spite of his rough start, Carson is now a very loving and affectionate boy who has taught his new mom, in her words, about “survival, trust, and the real meaning of love!”
Carson’s impact on Jessica doesn’t end there. Now in love with the breed, she went on to adopt two more rescued Shih Tzus—Ernie and Mr. Wiggles—and became a volunteer foster mom for special-needs dogs through Ruff Start Rescue.
Did you adopt a puppy mill dog? Tell us your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. And remember, never buy a puppy in a pet store or online—they almost always come from puppy mills. While a pet store puppy may be hard to resist, purchasing one dooms his parents, dogs like Carson, to lives of cruelty, filth and neglect.
Visit NoPetStorePuppies.com to learn more and take the pledge not to buy anything at pet stores or on websites that sell puppies.
Jennifer Richmond got a very special gift for her birthday 11 years ago. That day, she visited the ASPCA Adoption Center and adopted “the love of her life,” a special kitty named Nicholas.
“He was a small, shy, black-and-white, six-month-old kitten,” Jennifer recalls. “He has grown into the most lovable and sweetest lap cat you will ever meet.”
The two formed a lasting bond that is still going strong today.
“At 11 years old he still has energy to play, calls for treats and purrs so loud it makes you laugh,” Jennifer says.
A few years ago, Jennifer decided it was time for Nicholas to have a feline friend. She visited the ASPCA Adoption Center once again to look for a cat who would be the perfect buddy for Nicholas. Her search was successful—she found Joey, a “rambunctious, gray, three-month-old kitten with more energy than you can imagine.”
“I wasn't sure how all this energy would work with an older cat, but within days they were fast friends,” Jennifer remembers. “They love each other.”
It’s safe to say Nicholas and Joey are two very lucky cats.
“I can’t imagine life without either of them,” Jennifer says. “I am greeted at the door when I get home, and they cuddle during TV time and find their place on the bed when we go to sleep. I can’t thank the ASPCA enough for rescuing them. You have helped create our special family.”
In July 2009, a special little dog with big brown eyes was found abandoned in a box outside Angels for Animals Animal Center in Canfield, Ohio, a participant in the 2011 ASPCA $100K Challenge. She was alone and in desperate need of a loving home. Luckily, Elizabeth Stark’s family decided to adopt the homeless pup and give her a fresh start.
They chose to call her Chooey, a name they picked to commemorate this sweet dog’s endearing snaggletooth. Elizabeth’s family also thought Chooey’s shiny blonde coat gave her a stylish look, so they adapted the spelling of her name to match the famed shoe designer, Jimmy Choo. One of Chooey’s favorite past times is to chew on her pet parents’ shoes, so the name is very fitting.
It didn’t take long before the Starks were head over heels for their furry new addition.
“How could anyone not enjoy the company of such a sweet little companion?” Elizabeth says. “Chooey is unlike any other dog I have ever encountered. Sometimes I’m not even sure if she is really a dog. She stretches like a cat, howls like a wolf, dances like a monkey, and smiles like a toddler.”
But whatever animal personality Chooey chooses, she is an energetic and steadfast companion.
“Sometimes the best things really do come in small packages—and they're covered with fur and filled with love,” Elizabeth says.
Did you adopt a homeless pet? Tell us about your furry friend in the comments.
Tara Munoz had never shared her home with a cat before, but when she and her husband visited the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan, she quickly met her first feline match. The couple adopted a friendly cat named Caesar, and it was love at first paw. She shared the following story with us:
In December 2012, my family and I adopted Caesar from the ASPCA in New York City. He adapted very well to our home, and we think he is the "purrfect" addition.
The adoption process was very thorough, informative and the volunteers were great.When we were looking at the cats inside the cat room, Caesar came down from his post and up to my husband. He rubbed against him and offered his paw—it was the cutest thing I have ever seen. Caesar stole my heart from that moment on. He chose us!
Caesar loves to play with his toys, and he always makes us laugh the way he plays with his scratching post. I've never had a cat before, but my husband had cats throughout most of his childhood life. Adopting Caesar has definitely been a wonderful learning and loving experience. Caesar has brought me joy and happiness that I could never imagine.
Thanks to the ASPCA for their service. Caesar is the best!
Did you adopt from the ASPCA? Send us photos at email@example.com for a chance to be featured on the blog!
As 2012 draws to a close, we’re thinking back on some of our favorite rescue stories of the year. One of them has to be Dora’s.
On a chilly day last holiday season, the ASPCA rescued Dora, a starving, matted little Shih Tzu with a severely injured tail. Back then, she was weak, terrified and emaciated.
But slowly, Dora began to gain weight and strength. She started to gain confidence, too, and as 2012 began, Dora’s spirited personality started to shine through.
That’s when world-renowned designer and architect Robert Couturier learned about Dora. A steadfast ASPCA supporter with three Shih Tzus of his own, he was deeply moved by her story. Within a week, he became her new foster parent.
“She slept in my arms the whole time on the way home,” Robert remembers. “It was as if she could finally sleep, and that she knew nothing bad was ever going to happen to her anymore.”
At his Connecticut country house, Robert introduced Dora to his boyfriend, Jeffrey, who fell in love with her immediately. Then he gave Dora a toy. She took it to her crate and looked at him with wide, cautious eyes, as if to ask: Is it OK for me to keep something of my very own?
“Of course it’s OK,” Robert told her, his heart breaking a little. He scooped her up and carried her with him all evening, just as he does now whenever they are together.
These days, Dora sleeps between her guardians’ pillows and enjoys playing with her favorite canine sibling: five-year-old Hercule, who fell head over heels for her the first day they met. “He’s her knight,” Robert jokes.
In October, Robert and Jeffrey adopted Dora. That makes it official: For the first time in her young life, Dora was home for the holidays.
If Robert’s acts of kindness don’t melt your heart, we don’t know what will. We’re so glad these two found each other!