Pit bulls are one of the most common—and most commonly misunderstood—dog breeds in America. Though they get a bad rap, the truth is that these intelligent, affectionate dogs have a lot of love to offer to the right adopter, and Boo Boo was no exception. Rescued from abuse, this sweet dog overcame his tough past and let his happy-go-lucky personality shine. Here is Boo Boo’s Happy Tail.
Boo Boo came to the ASPCA in February 2014. Rescued by a police officer as part of our partnership with the NYPD, Boo Boo was discovered abandoned and emaciated in the Bronx, New York. He was skeletal, starving, and covered in pressure sores on various areas of his body. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, he received immediate medical attention and was put on a supervised diet to recover strength and lost weight.
Over the first four weeks in our care, Boo Boo’s health progressed steadily. In addition to regaining some weight, he received specialized treatment for his skin sores and antibiotics to help fight infections. By the beginning of March, he was a healthy 47 pounds and ready to start his search for a forever home. On April 1, we received the good news: Boo Boo had been adopted.
Unfortunately, our joy was short-lived. After being adopted, Boo Boo was returned two days later. The adopter told us that Boo Boo had been wonderful, but his landlord was afraid of Boo Boo’s size and appearance and forced him to return the dog. Though he had done nothing wrong, Boo Boo was back at our Adoption Center hoping for a home.
Fortunately, Boo Boo’s wait was worth it. On April 12, Miguel S. walked through our door searching for a friend. “I was ready for a companion,” he says, “and I wanted to adopt rather than purchase a dog.” After meeting some of our available animals, Miguel spotted Boo Boo. He recalls, “The way he looked at me…I cannot explain it exactly! He was the third dog I saw and the only one I wanted!” He adopted Boo Boo that day and changed his name to Kaine. The new duo headed home to begin their new life together.
Back at Miguel’s apartment, Kaine proved what we had known all along: He is an amazing dog. Miguel says, “Kaine is very much adjusted at home, but I don’t really go anywhere unless he is coming with me.” The two pals spend a ton of time together, and Kaine recently experienced his first ride in an NYC taxi cab and his first visit to the beach.
Looking at Kaine today, it’s hard to tell that he ever suffered at the hands of abusers. Like many pit bulls, his “tough” exterior is quickly overcome by his sweet personality. He is a goofball and a total lover, and Miguel describes him as “the best decision I’ve ever made.” We are so grateful that Miguel could look beyond the stereotype and see Kaine for the caring companion he was meant to be—and we know that Kaine feels exactly the same way.
From age to color to personality, there are a lot of factors that might go into a choosing a new pet. And though we try to find the best animal for every adopter, we can’t always guarantee an exact match. So when Wendy and Jamie A. came to the ASPCA Adoption Center with not one, but two, certain types of kitties in mind, we never dreamed that they would get quite this lucky! Here is the story of how this happy couple created two Happy Tails for cats named Bronte and Macaroni.
Bronte and Macaroni are about as different as their names suggest. Macaroni, a three-pound, five-month-old kitten, came to the ASPCA when she was just four weeks old. She had been rescued from a hoarding situation and she was timid, shy and fearful of strangers. In addition, the tiny kitty suffered from a severe eye infection that left a white scar across her cornea and blindness in one eye.
Bronte, on the other hand, was five years old when she was rescued by the ASPCA. Also saved from a hoarding situation, she was wary of strangers but had a distinctly social side to her personality. Though they were at the ASPCA Adoption Center at the same time, the two kitties were in different parts of the facility and had never met—until Jamie and Wendy showed up early in September.
After losing their beloved 18-year-old rescue kitty, Elspeth, Jamie and Wendy were heartbroken. Though they knew he could never be replaced, their house didn’t feel like a “home” without cats. Wendy recalls, “We had too much love to give and we knew there were too many kitties out there in need of love.” The couple agreed that it was time to adopt again, but they were torn on what they wanted. Wendy hoped for an older, black cat, stating, “I knew that they were harder to adopt out.” Jamie, on the other hand, was hoping for a special-needs kitten that would remind him of his best friend of 18 years, Elspeth. They decided to head to the ASPCA Adoption Center to take a look around.
Wendy remembers her first meeting with Bronte at the Adoption Center very vividly. “I sat on the floor in the front area and she came over and rubbed against me right away. Not only was she a beautiful, shiny, five-year-old black cat, but I noticed that the tip of one ear was missing. This imperfection made me love her all the more!”
Meanwhile, in a different part of the Adoption Center, Jamie met Macaroni. “The only kitten to reach out to him just happened to be the same coloring (gray and white) as Elspeth,” Wendy recalls. “Macaroni was also blind in one eye. Jamie was smitten with this kitten right away!”
Having found the older black cat and special-needs kitten they were hoping for, the couple decided to adopt both that same day. They changed Bronte’s name to “Maya” and Macaroni’s to “Gelsomina,” and headed home to begin their new life as a foursome.
Back at home, Maya and Gelsomina (or Gelsie, as she’s called) got to know each other—and their new home—right away. Wendy says, “They’ve adjusted beautifully. Maya is extremely affectionate and sleeps in my arms every night. She’s more loving than I could have imagined!” Both cats love to take advantage of the many windows in their home, and they love to spend their days on window sills, in their “cat tree,” or in their cat beds watching birds and enjoying the view. Wendy adds, “Gelsie is a rambunctious rascal that loves to play. She also loves her big sis. We expect some major cuddling between the two come winter.”
It’s hard to believe that these two very different kitties from two separate hoarding situations could end up in the same happy home. Gelsie and Maya were not only perfect for Wendy and Jamie—they were a perfect fit for each other, too.
For a one-year-old Shih Tzu named Cosita, life wasn’t always easy. Purchased from a pet store and then neglected for nearly a year, Cosita was suffering from a number of physical and emotional ailments by the time she was rescued by the ASPCA. But despite it all, this petite pup had a lot of love to give—and fortunately, she found the perfect person to give it to. Here is Cosita’s Happy Tail.
Cosita was born in July 2013. As a young puppy, she was sold to a pet store where she was purchased by her first owner; it is likely that she came from a puppy mill. In her first year of life, Cosita was neglected so severely that her fur became matted and she developed a serious skin disease. She was scared, frightened and lonely until the ASPCA rescued her in July 2014.
At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Cosita needed several surgeries to repair her wounded skin tissue, including the partial amputation of her tail. In addition, an untreated eye condition called KCS left her with deficient tear production and chronic dry eyes. To alleviate her discomfort, she was put on a daily regimen of prescription eye drops.
Because of all she had been through, Cosita displayed some fear around new people. She didn’t like to be touched on certain parts of her body, and she growled at strangers. But the 7-pound pooch’s problems weren’t enough to hide her sweet heart, and adopter Adam G. was determined to earn her trust.
Adam met Cosita at the end of August, nearly two months after her arrival at the ASPCA. A lifelong animal lover, he had come to the Adoption Center seeking “a partner in crime to take care of and spend time with every day.” Rather than being intimidated by Cosita’s issues, he saw them as something that could bring them together. “I knew she was for me because we both have allergies, a noticeable scar, and she looked like a curious friendly clown when I saw her for the first time, tilting her head side to side,” he recalls. He adopted her the same day he met her and vowed to give her the happy life she so clearly deserved.
Once home, Adam changed Cosita’s name to Cookie, and in the last eight weeks they have become inseparable. Cookie quickly learned to trust Adam and, thanks to his kindness and patience, seems to have forgotten her sad past entirely. Adam tells us, “Cookie loves to snuggle, be rubbed on her tummy, chew on her bone, hide her toys, and follow me everywhere.”
After all Cookie has been through, we are so thrilled that the sweet dog has found a loving “forever home.” It takes a special kind of adopter to help an animal work through her fears, and Adam has done an incredible job. And not only is she a happy and playful partner for Adam, she is also, as he says, “So freaking cute!!”
Special-needs animals can make wonderful pets, but they’re not right for every adopter. For proof, look no further than Gia—a sweet, overweight, asthmatic kitty who was adopted and returned multiple times over the course of three years. Though it is hard to see an animal stay at our Adoption Center for so long, it makes it that much more rewarding when they finally find the forever home they deserve. Here is Gia’s Happy Tail.
Gia came to the ASPCA in March 2012 as a transfer from Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C). She was just eight months old at the time, but she had already been diagnosed with severe asthma. Because of her condition, Gia needed an adopter who would administer her inhaler two times every day and to keep her on a low-dose steroid prescription for the rest of her life. On top of that, Gia also needed a strict diet, since her extra weight made her already-labored breathing that much more difficult. It was a tall order, but we knew that this pretty kitty was worth the work.
A few weeks after her arrival, Gia was adopted. It was an exciting moment, and we were thrilled to see her find a home. But, sadly, our joy was short-lived: Gia was retuned six months later. Though the adopter had tried her best, she just couldn’t keep up with Gia’s health and felt she would fare better in another home. We brought her back to the Adoption Center and hoped that the perfect person would come along soon.
In November, Gia was adopted again. We waited eagerly for news of a successful transition, but unfortunately, she was returned again—this time, less than two weeks later. Gia had suffered five asthma attacks in the first ten days in her new home, and the adopter was overwhelmed by her needs. Once again, Gia was back at the ASPCA.
A year went by, and then another. We tried everything we could to find sweet Gia a home, but we just couldn’t get the right fit. Finally, in September 2014—nearly three years after Gia’s arrival at the ASPCA—Lorna H. walked through our door.
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“We recently moved to New York from overseas and were excited to be in a city that is pet-friendly for renters,” Lorna recalls. Having lived with pets most of her life, she was eager to adopt a feline friend of her own. After arriving, she headed to the ASPCA Adoption Center.
At the Adoption Center, Lorna met Gia and something miraculous happened: After all those years waiting, it was love at first sight! Lorna knew right away that Gia was the one. “When we heard a little of Gia’s story and how long she had been at the shelter, there was no question of adopting her,” she says. “We were not intimidated by her medical concerns, especially after one of the veterinary assistants demonstrated how to administer her inhaler.” She adopted Gia that day and never looked back.
In yet another first for Gia, Lorna’s apartment was a perfect fit, too. “She made herself well and truly at home. In fact, it only took her about five minutes to do so!” Lorna laughs. She renamed her Francesca—Fatty for short—although she is slowly losing some of her excess weight. Francesca now spends her days in one of her many favorite sleeping spots in the house, and Lorna says she is great about letting everyone know when it’s time for her inhaler (and her treats).
Though it took nearly three years to get there, Francesca could not have arrived at a better destination. Lorna says, “She is an absolute angel to have around and we are so pleased she is now a member of our family.” For the first time, we are confident that this kitty’s new home will be the one that lasts forever.
It’s no coincidence that many of our Happy Tails begin with a magical moment. Adopters often describe the first encounter with their pet as, “meant to be” or, “love at first sight.” But not everyone believes in kismet and fairy dust, and Stephen L. was one such person. Assuming that dog adoption would be as simple as “picking a pet,” he never expected to have his heart stolen by a pit bull named Clipper. Here is their Happy Tail.
The first thing people notice about Clipper is his smile. It’s famous at the ASPCA, and it’s one of the sweetest things about him. The second thing people notice, however, is his scars. Clipper was rescued from an abusive situation in April 2014, and when he arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital he was covered in multiple bite wounds on his front legs and face. The wounds—both new and old—would leave him with permanent marks.
In June, Clipper was adopted for two weeks before being returned for being “too noisy” and “frightened of loud noises.” We knew he would need someone special, and, fortunately, Stephen showed up a few weeks later.
"I grew up with dogs and remember them being some of the best parts of my childhood,” Stephen says. “I decided to adopt because I knew that there are so many good dogs that need a home. This applies especially to pit bulls.” At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Stephen set out to find a pit mix between 30 – 40 lbs., or as he calls it, “the perfect apartment-size dog.” He thought having a sense of weight and breed would be enough to guide the process, stating, “People told me, ‘Don’t worry about finding a dog, the dog will find you.’ I was just going to pick something cute and call it a day.”
Stephen met two pit mixes before being introduced to Clipper. “Since he fit my size requirements, I decided to meet him,” he recalls. “Before Clipper arrived, I was told that he was kind and sweet but very shy from being abused in his past, so not to worry if he didn’t approach me.” Not expecting anything miraculous, Stephen was taken aback by what happened next. “The elevator opened and out came Clipper. As soon as they brought him into the meeting area, my heart broke when I noticed his scarred face. Then he walked right up to me and gave me a big sloppy kiss on the cheek.”
Stephen finished his scheduled meetings with other dogs, but from that moment on, he couldn’t stop thinking about Clipper. “His big smile and his playful spirit, despite his rocky past—I knew then and there I had to make him my family.” He came back the next day for a “second date,” took Clipper for a walk, and then promptly took him home—after changing his name to Mr. Bingley, of course.
In the weeks that followed, Stephen and Mr. Bingley became inseparable friends. “It must be really difficult to uproot your life and, on top of that, to trust a complete stranger,” Stephen says of Mr. Bingley’s adjustment. “But he does not carry any of his past life in his personality.” The sweet dog now spends his days rolling in the grass, playing with his toys, and starring in his own Instagram account, @TheAdventuresOfMrBingley. Stephen says, “I know our relationship is still new, but I can’t imagine my life without him. He is the perfect thing to come home to, a bundle of sweet energy and puppy kisses!”
And though he had been skeptical of “love at first sight,” Stephen admits that he has learned so much from Mr. Bingley. “To say he had me at hello is a bit of an understatement.”