Woodrow Wilson had a pet ram named Old Ike, and Calvin Coolidge was the proud pet parent of Billy, a pygmy hippo. Our birthday boy, George Washington, had a menagerie of Hounds, but his wife Martha kept company with a single parrot.
We told you last week about our plans to have a booth at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show this year, so we wanted to make sure to let you know how it went. Our booth, which we used to raise awareness about our campaign to fight puppy mills, was a bit of an outlier at the event, as you might expect. But, with just a few exceptions, our booth was generally well received.
We talked to people who came by about the sad realities of puppy mills, where dogs are severely neglected and left suffering for the sake of profit, showing them our written materials and pictures from puppy mill breeders. Some were surprised to learn that many of those breeders are USDA licensed. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that USDA licenses thousands of breeders who keep dogs in tiny, wire-bottomed cages and churn out as many puppies as possible to be sold in pet stores.
Other visitors asked us about a New York Times article that appeared on the front page of the Sunday sports section taking a hard look at the American Kennel Club’s role in the puppy mill industry. In it, the ASPCA revealed that a majority of the puppy mills in raids that we have participated in had ties to the AKC-registered litters. According to the AKC’s own website, “[r]egistry with the AKC indicates that a puppy had two parents of the same breed; it does not indicate that the dog comes from healthy blood lines or guarantee that a puppy will be in good health.”
Unfortunately, AKC registration papers often give the public a false sense of reassurance that the puppy did not come from a puppy mill, which is not necessarily the case. AKC registration is in no way a guarantee of humane care for the breeding dogs or their puppies. We would like to thank the over 200 dog show attendees who took our “No Pet Store Puppies” pledge to not buy anything in pet stores or on websites that sell puppies—no pet food, kitty litter or even toys . If you weren’t able to stop by our booth, you can take the pledge at nopetstorepuppies.com/take-the-pledge and spread the word!
Although the dogs exhibited at the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show were all beautiful, it’s important to keep in mind that approximately 5 to 7 million companion animals end up in shelters every year—and half of those are dogs. If you’re looking to bring a new pet into your home, please make adoption your first option. And remember that mixed breed and older dogs can make just as great companions as purebred puppies, and you get to save a life, too!
Capitol Hill has gone to the dogs…and cats! Today our Government Relations Team will join the Congressional Animal Protection Caucus in hosting the “Paws for Love” animal adoption event.
“On this annual celebration of love, we think it is most appropriate to offer a truly unconditional bond, regardless of your party affiliation—the love of a wonderful cat or dog,” says Nancy Perry, Senior Vice President of ASPCA Government Relations. “There are millions of dogs and cats waiting to be adopted into loving, permanent homes. Republican or Democrat, we all want to do our part to help.”
“I’m proud to be a sponsor of Paws for Love and am looking forward to welcoming so many rescued dogs and cats, as well as the dedicated volunteers and staff that care for them, to Capitol Hill,” says Representative John Campbell, co-host of today’s event. “Not only will this be a fun and memorable event for all involved, it will be an opportunity for many to adopt these pets and raise support and awareness for the millions of rescued animals that need homes each year.”
“There is no better time than Valentine’s Day to express our appreciation for the unconditional love that shelter pets bring to our lives,” says Representative Jim Moran. “Thanks to the ASPCA and all the shelters and rescues here today for showcasing the hard work done across the country to help homeless pets find loving homes. ”
The event is expected to draw hundreds, including members of Congress and their staff.
Kay, a Wirehaired Pointing Griffon with an impressive silver mane, looks as though she was born to romp around in the snow. It took some time and special care for Kay to get to where she is now, but thanks to her adopters, Robert and Nancy Leete, Kay regularly gets to do just that.
When Kay arrived at the ASPCA Adoption Center in 2012, she suffered from heartworm. She reacted poorly to her initial treatment and became very sick after her first round of shots. It took a while, but eventually, Kay recovered and soon after, she joined the Leete family in Massachusetts.
"We fell in love with Kay the moment we saw her picture and read her bio," Nancy says. "Our decision to adopt Kay just felt right and we couldn't get to Manhattan quick enough."
Kay’s pet parents decided to move to a 12-acre homestead in Vermont. With plenty of fresh air and more than enough room to play, Kay is thriving there with her dog brother, Gus. Before this winter’s snow arrived, Kay and Gus took long walks through the woods, exploring their new territory. Robert tells us that Kay shows her enthusiasm for nature by bouncing and prancing along the path during their frequent hikes. Kay and Gus also dearly enjoy paying visits to their dog neighbor, a golden retriever named Spencer.
While Kay wasn’t too thrilled with the first Vermont snowstorm, she has learned to enjoy being outside in the fresh air and sunshine, even with snow on the ground. She never tires of getting love pats, eating yummy treats after playing outside, and going for walks with her family. We can’t imagine a better place for Kay to call home.
Got a happy adoption story of your own? Email it to [email protected]and you could be featured on our blog.