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.
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.