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.
The ASPCA’s annual Humane Awards Luncheon is one of the most exciting events of the year. It is our chance to honor and recognize the heroes—both animal and human—who have made a positive and lasting impact on the world of animal welfare, and this year’s winners are certainly worth celebrating!
The 2014 Humane Awards winners include:
ASPCA Cat of the Year
Studley the cat was found abandoned along the side of the road by Washington-based Joint Animal Services in 2006. Weighing a mere four pounds and covered in matted fur, Studley was sick, emaciated and nearly starved to death at the time of his rescue. After being nursed back to health by one of the shelter volunteers, Studley—a cheerful white-haired feline with one gold eye and one blue eye—became a therapy cat, giving love and comfort to people in need. Studley is the only therapy cat out of more than 30 animals in the Providence Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy Program (PAAA/T), and has been a regular visitor to the Providence St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, where he’s been offering comfort to patients primarily in the psychiatric unit since 2007.
ASPCA Tommy P. Monahan Kid of the Year
Although Annika Glover looks like a typical fifth grader, the 11-year-old has bravely battled a type of cancerous brain tumor called Medulloblastoma for nearly the last four years. When she was just nine years old, Annika was a participant in the Make-A-Wish program, where she put her love for animals above her own human interests by using her one wish to save animals in need. This wish was granted by the Alabama chapter of Make-A-Wish, which donated $7,000 in Annika’s name to the Pets Are Worth Saving (P.A.W.S.) rescue group in Florence, Alabama. “I wanted to help animals a whole bunch. I grew up around animals and love them so much,” says Annika. In August 2014, Annika received remarkable news of her own: Her cancer was in remission.
ASPCA Dog of the Year
Jonny Justice was one of 49 dogs rescued from unimaginable cruelty in the 2007 Bad Newz Kennels dog fighting investigation, which resulted in a the conviction of NFL quarterback Michael Vick and others. A black and white pit bull, Jonny had had minimal positive interactions with people or other dogs at the time of his rescue, but was given a second chance when he was adopted by his foster parents, Cris Cohen and Jennifer Long. As Jonny adjusted to life as a typical pet, it became clear that he loved interacting with children. In 2008, he found his true calling as a therapy dog, and these days spends much of his time offering love and support to terminally ill children and their families. Jonny is also a champion for literacy and has participated in programs where children practice their language skills by reading aloud to him. The tale of Jonny’s comeback—from the horrors of dog fighting to the inspirational work of a therapy dog—has traveled far and wide, even inspiring a line of plush toys that extend his ability to comfort children across the country.
The United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama concluded sentencing today for eight individuals arrested during the second largest dog fighting raid in U.S. history in August 2013. The case was led by the United States Attorney’s Office and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who requested assistance from the ASPCA and HSUS (Humane Society of the United States) in the removal, transport, sheltering, medical and daily care of the animals seized during the raid. Sentences ranged from six months to eight years—which is the longest prison term ever handed down in a federal dog fighting case.
Throughout the hearing, U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins commented on the extreme cruelty committed both due to dog fighting and the conditions in which these dogs were forced to live. Judge Watkins further reiterated that the federal sentencing guidelines for dog fighting are wholly inadequate to address the seriousness of the crime. He estimated that the defendants had injured or killed between 420 to 640 dogs in the course of this dog fighting operation.
“These dogs lived in deplorable conditions, were emaciated, had parasites, ear infections, eye infections, heartworms, fleas and ticks,” stated U.S. Attorney George L. Beck, Jr. “Their living conditions constituted extraordinary cruelty. These dogs were also made to fight and, if they lost the fight, they were killed. I hope that these sentences demonstrate the seriousness of this crime and will deter others from committing these atrocities.”
Judge Watkins also ordered that after their release from prison, each defendant serve a three-year term of supervised release. While on supervised release, the defendants are prohibited from possessing dogs.
“This is truly a landmark case for the animal welfare community,” said Tim Rickey, Vice President of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response, who testified at the hearings. “We hope this case serves as a precedent for future dog fighting cases and sends a message to dog fighters everywhere that this crime will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
On August 23, 2013, The ASPCA and HSUS assisted the United States Attorney’s Office and FBI in seizing hundreds of dogs in Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia. Many of the dogs seized during this case have finally moved on to the second chapters of their lives and were placed with various rescue groups across the country to be made available for adoption.
We believe that there will come a time when dog fighting is seen for what it really is: the shameful pastime of cowards. But until that day comes, we will continue to fight for the victims—so that they never have to fight again.
Attention animal lovers: November is Adopt a Senior Pet Month, and we’d love for you to consider giving a home to an older cat or dog in need. Animal shelters across the country are full of animals of all shapes, sizes, breeds and ages, but senior pets are typically the most difficult to place.
We’re on the brink of the holiday season, and we can’t think of a better time to provide a home for a shelter pet. Visit our Adopt section to find available senior dogs and cats near you, and help one less animal spend the holiday season in a shelter.
Are you the proud parent of a senior pet? Tell us in the comments!