When we rescue puppies and kittens from cruelty, we’re optimistic that they will forget their past hardships. But when a senior animal is saved from abuse, we can’t help but be heartbroken by how much of their life has been spent suffering. Thankfully, animals are amazingly resilient—and Patriot, a senior pit bull, refused to let a lifetime of cruelty get in the way of a love-filled future. Here is Patriot’s Happy Tail.
When Patriot was rescued from an abusive situation last October, he was already eight years old. The sweet senior pooch had been starved and developed a heart murmur as a result. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, he received echocardiograms and dental extractions along with the surgical removal of a mass from under his tongue. After six weeks of recovering and building up strength, he was transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin his search for a forever home.
Meanwhile, across town, Micah Z. was planning a big surprise for his boyfriend, Mark. “One day after work, Micah told me we were going someplace he thought I’d really like,” Mark recalls. “Next thing I know we are at the ASPCA ready to adopt!” The couple had always loved dogs but had never been official pet-parents before. Mark says, “Once we were there, it wasn’t a question of if we’d be a adopting a dog, it was a question of when. I’m so glad Micah came up with the idea!”
Mark and Micah met a number of available dogs as they walked around the Adoption Center, but they were admittedly intimidated by some of the louder, friskier pups. When they spotted Patriot, they were immediately drawn to his calm, soothing energy. “Seeing Patriot behind the glass window, it was instantaneous” says Mark. “He was so sweet looking and all he did was look back and forth between Micah and I. Not a peep came from him, and all I can really clearly remember saying is, ‘Can we please meet him?’”
Mark’s instincts proved to be spot-on as the meeting with Patriot went off without a hitch. “Once we got to play and pet him a bit, I knew,” he says. “His disposition was so sweet and genuine and loving, I could hardly imagine the thought of going back home without him. The crowning moment, however, was when he stood beside me, then leaned his weight on my legs, looked up to stare at me and then gave me a big kiss on my cheek. It was love at first lick!”
The couple adopted Patriot that day and vowed to give him a happy, safe life. In an update a few months later, Mark reported, “Patriot has done an amazing job at adjusting to his new home with us! He wakes us up with many kisses on our faces, he expects breakfast and dinner after his morning and evening walks, and we now call him “King of the Couch,” among many other loving nicknames (Pate, Love Bug, Cuddle Monster, Patty Cakes).” Patriot has even established his favorite spot on Mark and Micah’s bed and made a couple of canine friends in the neighborhood. Mark adds, “When we go on walks, we nearly always get stopped by strangers wanting to compliment his beauty and his sunny and sweet personality.”
Soft beds and regular meals are a far cry from the painful, hungry life Patriot led before his rescue. What’s more, Mark and Micah recently adopted a three-year-old Yorkie, Edward, from the ASPCA, and Pate is loving being a big brother.
It may have taken eight years, but this sweet senior “Love Bug” finally found the home of his dreams. Mark says, “Every time I come home from work, I see his cute face sticking up from behind the armrest of the couch and I know how excited we both are to see each other. It’s hard to imagine our home without Patriot.” We’re sure that Patriot feels exactly the same way.
Why should kittens have all the fun? Here at the ASPCA, we’re huge fans of senior cats. We find that cats who have been around the block a few times are often wiser than their younger counterparts, and just as fun to have around. When you choose to adopt a senior cat, it’s very likely that he or she will already be litter box-trained and will provide low-key feline companionship. June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and we hope you’ll consider adopting an older cat.
Here are a few senior kitties available for adoption at our Adoption Center in Manhattan:
Catalina is a total love bug. When you bring her home, it won’t be long before this sweet girl asks for plenty of affection. Catalina has been known to flop over to show her belly and make the cutest kneading motion in the air with her paws! She would be happiest as the only cat in her new household.
Oliviais a social cat who would love to be your new best friend. She loves attention from her favorite people, but prefers it on her own terms—let her sniff your hand, and once you’re friends, she’ll happily let you scratch her head and face. Olivia would like to be the only cat in your household and would do best with an experienced adopter familiar with feline body language.
Seven is incredibly friendly and loving. She enjoys sitting on unoccupied laps and chasing her laser pointer toy around the room. Seven can be nervous at first and may need a little space while she adjusts to her new home. This sweet cat would be thrilled to go home with an experienced adopter in a household with teens ages 14-and-up. Seven would prefer to be the only pet in your home.
The New York State legislative session will come to a close on June 17, but there is still an important order of business for it to address—S.1081, ASPCA-supported legislation that will allow a portion of the funds allotted for the Animal Population Control Program (APCP) to be used to fund viable trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs in parts of Upstate New York and Long Island.
Lending her voice to this critical issue is award-winning actress Edie Falco, who was recently honored at the ASPCA Bergh Ball for her work to increase awareness and inspire action on behalf of animals in crisis in the United States. Edie is a lifelong New Yorker with strong ties to the animal welfare community and we’re hoping a direct plea from her will encourage the Senate to take swift action before time runs out! This bill is on the Senate’s floor calendar and is eligible for a vote by the full Senate, but leadership alone decides which bills are allowed to go to a vote.
TNR programs successfully reduce community cat populations, decrease intake and euthanasia at overburdened animal shelters, and protect public health by vaccinating cats against rabies. It is the only humane and effective way to manage these populations. Unfortunately, TNR programs are not eligible for APCP funding, but the New York Senate has the opportunity to ensure these life-saving programs get the funding they need to protect community cats throughout the state. S.1081 already passed the Assembly unanimously with bipartisan support, but the Senate must pass the bill by June 17, when the Legislature adjourns for the year.
Read Edie’s letter to Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan below, and if you live in New York, please follow up by adding your voice to hers! Visit the ASPCA Advocacy Center to quickly and easily contact Senator Flanagan and urge him to bring S.1081 to a vote before the end of this session.
Last week, President Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum requiring that when certain meat is purchased by the federal government for federal cafeterias, preference is given to producers who raise animals according to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) antibiotic recommendations.
Unfortunately, those FDA recommendations fail to address the deplorable animal welfare conditions that drive the overuse of antibiotics in the first place.
Nearly all land animals raised for food are kept in factory farms where crowding, filth and stress abound. To compensate, and to speed animals’ growth, companies often feed animals a steady dose of antibiotics. The chicken industry is a prime example.
The FDA recommendation that forms the basis of the White House’s new policy aims to stop companies from using antibiotics to speed animal growth. However, it does not address the common practice of routinely administering “preventative” antibiotics to compensate for poor welfare.
Reduction in on-farm antibiotics should always feature better animal welfare, and the ASPCA has a host of recommendations for achieving this on all farms, regardless of antibiotics protocols. These include things like more space, lower stress, better sanitation and, of course, treating animals with antibiotics when truly needed. Read more about how these common-sense measures can improve chicken welfare, and take action for chickens, on our Truth About Chicken site.
Welcome to The Paw Print! In this recurring feature, we highlight the latest news affecting animals and animal-lovers around the country. Here are some of the top stories right now:
Caitlyn Sparks Outrage, Inspiration: In South Carolina, a 15-month-old chocolate Staffordshire mix named Caitlyn was found in critical condition after her mouth was taped shut with electrical tape. The tape was wrapped so tightly that her tongue was caught between her teeth. Caitlyn’s shocking story soon went viral, and the #IamCailtyn hashtag is now helping spread awareness of homeless and abused animals all around the country who are in need of loving homes. [The Dodo]
Baby Pudu Born in Queens: On Monday, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s® Queens Zoo announced the birth of a male Southern Pudu, the world’s tiniest deer species. When they’re born, Pudus are less than six inches high and weigh less than a pound. The baby is now nursing and will likely grow to be only a foot tall. [Time]
NY Could Ban Cat Declawing: New York could become the first state in the nation to outlaw declawing. A proposed new bill would make it a crime for anyone to declaw a cat or any other kind of animal, except in cases deemed medically necessary. [The Washington Post]
Hero Service Dog Saves Owner: In Brewster, New York, a service dog is credited with protecting his blind owner from an oncoming bus. Audrey Stone, 62, and her Golden Retriever, Figo, were crossing the street when Figo sensed danger and immediately moved between Stone and the bus. Although both were wounded, they are expected to recover. [CBS]
Deep Bond between Dogs, Humans: A new study published by the journal Science highlights the unique bond between dogs and humans. Levels of oxytocin—the “love hormone”—are seen to increase when humans gaze into a dog’s eyes but not when they gaze into the eyes of wolves. Researchers found that, although dogs evolved from wolves, the human-dog relationship is unique. [The Dodo]