When Sarah first came to the ASPCA, she was the epitome of a “scaredy cat,” with the exception of one small detail: She’s a 30-lb. pit bull! Rescued from a life on the streets, Sarah was timid and fearful of nearly everything, until the perfect adopter came along and proved that love heals all wounds, even those we cannot see. Here is Sarah’s Happy Tail.
Sarah was found abandoned and wandering the streets of Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, in July 2014. Amid the sweltering summer heat, she was taken to the ASPCA Animal Hospital where she spent eight days under our care, which included a deworming treatment, spay surgery and all of her vaccines. To all appearances she looked like a strong, healthy dog, but Sarah was afraid of nearly everything. When out for a walk, she would get nervous and pull hard on the leash. She was unsure of other dogs and suspicious of new surroundings, and staff at the ASPCA noted that when scared, she would “stick to you like Velcro.” The sweet dog was clearly looking for guidance and love.
In October, Madeline H. came to the ASPCA Adoption Center in search of a new pet after her previous dog, Luna, passed away. “I was lonely and feeling very sad,” she recalls, “and there are plenty of dogs that need a good home.” At the ASPCA, Madeline met a number of adoptable pups before connecting instantly with Sarah. “She was there lying with one of her toys. She looked at me and got up and I said ‘Hi,’” she recalls. “Those eyes got me!”
Madeline adopted Sarah that day and never looked back. “People say, ‘How did you know she was your dog?’ and I say, ‘How did she know I was her mommy?’” Madeline beams. Back at her apartment, Sarah proved what we had suspected all along: With one-on-one attention and a home to call her own, the precious pittie soon came out of her anxious, timid shell. “Sarah is doing fantastic. She is a great dog, smart and very loving,” Madeline says. “All she needed was love.”
Turk the cat arrived at the ASPCA in early April after being rescued by a Good Samaritan. Scarred on his face and legs from life on the streets, he was also suffering from an ear infection and ringworm. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the five-year-old, black-and-white cat spent more than two months undergoing treatment. He also had three teeth extracted.
Then, on June 23—78 days after he arrived at the ASPCA—Turk was made available for adoption. And within the hour, he was on his way home with Julie B. and her boyfriend, Jason, of Hamilton Heights in Manhattan.
“We were finishing up our visit, not sure if we were going to leave with a pet, when we overheard the staff and volunteers talking about a cat who had just become available for adoption and was ‘an absolute love,’” remembers Julie. Jason asked to meet the former street-fighting feline, and the moment they opened his cage, Turk begged for attention and flopped onto his back.
“We found the combination of his big, jowly, mob-boss tough looks and unbelievably affectionate personality irresistible, so we took him home on the spot,” Julie says.
Although she never had pets before Turk, Julie admits, “I've become that lady who's obsessed with her cat. He is the friendliest, most affectionate cat I've ever encountered. When people visit, he immediately wants to be their best friend and coerces them into giving him belly rubs. He still has the scars from his street-fighting days, but we can't imagine our little love bug being aggressive at all. He's a dream companion.”
Animal care technician Laurie Daniels, who helped care for Turk at the ASPCA, recalls how he was “insatiable” and loved to be touched. “He seemed to have no limits—no moments when he wanted to be alone,” Laurie says. “And what a heart he has! He is the quintessential diamond in the rough; an absolute treasure down on his luck who only needed a bit of compassion to get back on his feet.”
Julie, a singer and actress, and Jason, a jazz pianist, renamed their new feline friend Thelonious Monk after the pianist and composer. They call him Monkey for short.
“We wanted Monkey to feel like he fits in here, and it seems like he does,” Julie says. “In fact, he's already composed a few avant-garde, free-jazz style tunes walking across the piano keys toward his window perch. And he likes to sing along with me in his Louis Armstrong growl when I practice, though admittedly he may be telling me to shut up!”
At the ASPCA, we love it when animals and adopters just “fit.” It is so gratifying to bring a cat or dog into our Adoption Center and see them scooped into the perfect home right away. In the case of Vincent, a three-year-old cat who spent time at a city shelter, all it took was 10 days at the ASPCA before he found his ideal match—and he never looked back! Here is his story.
Vincent was already three years old when he came to the ASPCA in February 2015. He and five other cats were transferred from the local city shelter, where they hadn’t had any luck in their search for forever homes. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Vincent was treated for a bacterial infection and underwent a neuter procedure. Just a few days later, he met Forrest.
A lifelong animal-lover, Forrest and his partner decided to search for a pet at the ASPCA based on recommendations from friends. “We felt like we both had a lot of love to give a furry friend in need of a home,” he says, adding, “our home would be more complete with the sounds of little paws running around.”
The couple only met three or four cats before they were introduced to Vincent, and it was love at first sight. “Although there were so many very sweet little cats in the Adoption Center, as soon as we interacted with Vincent, we knew he was the cat for us,” Forrest recalls. “He was just the right balance of playful and friendly, but also very sweet and mellow.” Vincent also looked a lot like the cat Forrest had as a child, which he said made him feel like “a familiar friend.”
The couple’s instincts proved correct as Vincent continued to impress them. Forrest says, “He let us pet him without any hesitation, and he seemed so confident and happy that we decided to start the adoption papers right away.” Without missing a beat, they brought Vincent home that very same day, which happened to be February 15—the day after Valentine’s Day and 10 days after the cat’s arrival at the ASPCA. What’s more, the five cats who came with Vincent found homes by the end of that month, too.
Back at Forrest’s apartment, Vincent settled in as if he had lived there forever. “As soon as we let him out of his pet carrier, he casually walked around the whole apartment as if taking inventory of his new habitat, and then jumped up on the couch and took turns sitting on both of our laps,” Forrest says. “He never went through a skittish or awkward adjustment period. From the first day we brought him home, he’s slept on our bed with us each night and instantly made us feel like a little family.”
What can we say? When an adoption is right, it’s just right, and Vincent and Forrest were clearly made for each other. Vincent waited his whole life to find an adopter like Forrest, and we are thrilled that he found a perfect place to call home. And when Forrest says, “We couldn’t imagine our lives without Vincent,” we know this is one Happy Tail that will last forever.
Some Happy Tails speak right to the heart, and the story of Kiko is one such case. Rescued from an unhappy past, this sweet dog found a kindred spirit in his adopter, Carlos. Together, they helped each other heal while uncovering new depths of love and companionship. Here is their story.
When Kiko arrived at the local city shelter in New York City, he was suffering from pneumonia, diarrhea and bites that appeared to be from another dog. It was clear that he needed advanced care, so the ASPCA stepped in and transferred the two-year-old pit bull to our Animal Hospital in the Upper East Side. He remained there for an entire month, until he was strong enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center. Having moved from shelter to hospital to adoption center, sweet Kiko was more than ready to find a permanent home.
Meanwhile, Carlos, who lives in Queens, was coming out of a very similar situation. “I had just spent ten months in a shelter myself,” he says. “I felt I needed to help better someone else’s life, and I decided to adopt a dog because I wanted a loving companion.”
Carlos’s family had always adopted dogs from shelters or foster homes, so he knew that the ASPCA was a great place to begin his search for a pet. The minute he met Kiko, it was a perfect fit. “I knew he was the dog for me because our personalities just matched. He was energetic, relaxed, very affectionate and attentive,” he recalls. “Plus,” he says with a wink, “It turned out that someone was a ‘pound dog’ like me.”
On May 14, Carlos adopted Kiko and the two of them began their new life together. Kiko is on a gentle diet to help with his gastrointestinal issues, and Carlos is helping him forget his painful past. “He came from an abusive background and he gets frightened easily,” he says, “But we’re working on that every day.” The twosome likes to snuggle and take “corny photos” together, and Carlos says, “Kiko’s adjusted perfectly to living at home.”
Although they didn’t know it until the day they met, Carlos and Kiko’s stories were uncannily similar. But both made it out of a shelter and into a loving home, and together, their future is brighter than ever. Congratulations to them both this happy new life!
Although Jordan and Fish had never met, the two senior cats had a lot in common. Both had been adopted and returned multiple times, both had behavioral issues and both were eager to find loving forever homes. As luck would have it, these sweet kitties did end up finding the perfect home—with each other! After years in the making, here is Jordan and Fish’s Happy Tail.
Our story begins with Fish, a six-year-old black cat who came to the ASPCA from a local city shelter in June 2013. We were thrilled to see him adopted just one month later, but were disappointed when he was returned the following March. The adopter stated that Fish was food-obsessed, that he played rough and that he had a tendency to bite and scratch. It was clear that Fish had not yet found his ideal match.
Meanwhile, we hadn’t heard from eight-year-old Jordan in nearly six years. The black-and-white cat had been found as a stray and adopted in 2008, but last July, his guardian returned him due to familial issues. He, too, found a new home quickly, but was returned again in November 2014 because of house-soiling and litter box problems. Although they were unrelated, finicky Jordan and rambunctious Fish seemed to be kindred kitty spirits.
In March, both cats wound up together in the same room at the ASPCA Adoption Center. As luck would have it, that was precisely when Mary O. of Inwood, NYC, also wound up at the ASPCA. She says, “Two days after my previous cat passed, I found myself lying awake in bed realizing that it had been more than 30 years since I was without a living creature with me in my home.” She missed the warmth and companionship of a cat, and decided that the timing was perfect to bring home two feline friends at once.
Mary and her partner, Andrea, headed to the ASPCA in search of young female cats. They met a number of adoptable felines before visiting the habitat where Jordan and Fish were living. “As Andrea and I sat on the floor scratching any chin that was presented, Fish came right over and stuck his head into my hand,” Mary recalls. “Then I noticed Jordan. Jordan was just sort of hanging out, watching the others, and then got up and ambled about. He and I made eye contact, and I got a slow blink.” The volunteer pointed out that neither cat was a young female, like Mary had requested, but by then she was sold. “These are the cats for me,” she said.
Because both Jordan and Fish had presented behavioral issues in the past, we made sure to fill Mary in on their history and advised her to ease them into their new home slowly. But upon arrival at Mary’s apartment—and much to everyone’s surprise—the new brothers had settled in by the end of their first day. “As soon as Fish started to inspect the living room, Jordan took it as a sign that the coast was clear and came right out to join him. They looked so happy,” Mary says. “When I fed them dinner, they ate right next to each other, and by the time I was ready for bed, they were on the bed with me.”
Over the following months, Jordan and Fish continued to delight in their happy new life. Mary bought them cat beds and toys, but she says, “the real big hits have been Snapple lids and Trader Joe’s paper bags!” Fish loves climbing his six-foot-high cat condo while Jordan has decided that the computer is where he wants to be—“I have come home a couple of times to find gibberish on the screen from where he has been ‘typing!’” Mary laughs. She says the two of them sleep, eat and hang out right next to each other all day long.
“I’m really happy to have my Big Moosh (Jordan is 14 pounds) and my Little Moosh (Fish is 11) to cuddle with, and I am looking forward to years of good times with them,” says Mary. “The next purchase will be a pet cam so I can Skype with them during the day!”
It’s almost hard to believe that these are the same two cats who experienced so much difficulty in the past. Their story is proof that with love, patience, and the right family (both feline and human), any animal can flourish.