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]
While over 80 local governments around the country have passed ordinances prohibiting the sale of commercially bred dogs and cats in pet stores, no U.S. state has yet enacted such a law—but that could soon change.
On June 9, the Maine Legislature passed a bill, L.D. 335, to prohibit new pet stores in the state from selling puppies and kittens sourced from commercial breeders, allowing them to offer adoptions only of dogs and cats from shelters and rescue groups. The bill would also prohibit existing pet stores from selling pets sourced from breeders (in any part of the country) who fail to meet the basic standards of care required by federal law.
Maine’s legislature is the first in the nation to take this groundbreaking step against puppy mill cruelty! The bill now goes to Governor Paul LePage for final action. Unfortunately, our friends in Maine believe there is a distinct possibility that the Governor will veto the bill. We can’t let that happen!
L.D. 335 needs Governor LePage’s signature to become law—it would be the first state law of its kind and set an amazing precedent for other states. If you live in Maine, we urge you to call the Governor’s office at (207) 287-3531 and leave a message that as a Maine voter and taxpayer, you want him to sign L.D. 335 to strike a blow against puppy mill cruelty. Maine residents are also welcome to email the Governor from the ASPCA Advocacy Center.
Jazz is one happy girl—just look at that smile! This playful pup loves to cuddle and have her ears scratched. In fact, she thinks she’s just one big lap dog.
Jazz has plenty of energy and would make a great jogging companion. We think she could make a few canine pals, too, but would benefit from training to help her brush up on her doggie social skills first. Jazz would love to go home with an experienced adopter in a household with kids ages 10-and-up. Stop by our shelter to meet this pretty lady today.
Jazzis available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting her, please call our Adoptions Department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about Jazz, please visit her profile page.
Watch Jazz play with her friend at the ASPCA Adoption Center.
As many of you know, June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and it’s also the height of feline breeding season. During this time of year, animal shelters around the country are flooded with homeless and newborn cats—and the ASPCA is no exception. But although things are hectic, we think it’s important to pause and recognize the adopters who make a difference by opening their homes to felines in need. For this week’s Happy Tail, we checked in on two bonded kittens named Frankie and Zuzu who were born during the 2013 kitten season. Here is their story.
When Frankie and Zuzu were born, their future was anything but certain. It was May 2013 and they were just two of the thousands of kittens who arrived at the ASPCA during that year’s kitten season. Zuzu was suffering from chronic rhinitis due to nasal damage caused by illness, while Frankie had to have one eye removed due to irreparable damage from an infection. Both siblings were shy and easily overwhelmed; it was clear that they had not received enough attention from humans in the early stages of their life. They relied on each other, and we hoped to find a home where the sweet kittens could stay together.
Five months later, our hopes were answered in the form of Stephanie W. and her husband, Chris. Already parents to a Puggle named Maggie, the couple decided to adopt a cat after pet-sitting for a friend. “We realized that we loved living with cats, and that Maggie would do fine with a feline companion,” Stephanie says. “After that, I was ‘casually’ perusing the ASPCA Adoptables and saw Frankie’s face, and I knew I had to bring him home.”
At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Stephanie and Chris learned that Frankie was bonded with Zuzu and that they needed to be adopted together. “We were both excited and a little hesitant, but after meeting them, we just couldn’t leave them,” she says. “They were both so sweet and shy, and so clearly attached to each other, we felt compelled to give them a home where they could become comfortable and confident together.”
Although the kittens were older now—around nine months at the time—they were still tiny and timid, and Stephanie admits that their transition wasn’t always easy. Zuzu was standoffish at first, and it took months for Stephanie and Chris to gain her trust. Meanwhile, Frankie developed litter box issues that required a dietary shift and a great deal of patience. In time, though, both babies relaxed into their new home—and their new life—happily. “Now Zuzu loves being pet and actually asks for belly rubs, and her rhinitis went away completely,” Stephanie says, “and Frankie has been nothing short of wonderful.”
As the kitties continue to learn and to grow, their uncertain past seems a lifetime away. “Frankie and Zuzu are constant entertainment as they chase each other around the apartment and chatter all day long,” Stephanie tells us. “They have become so affectionate and confident, and watching their friendship is heartwarming and adorable. They now love cuddling with us and the dog in bed, and while Frankie still isn’t totally sold on our Puggle, Zuzu adores her and follows her everywhere.”
Summer is in full swing, and temperatures are heating up nationwide. We know that as a responsible pet parent, you want to do everything you can to keep your best four-legged friends cool. So when you look at your Pomeranian, Golden Retriever or long-haired cat wearing a thick, fluffy coat, you might feel tempted to break out your grooming tools and give him a serious hair cut.
But hold those clippers! While you or I would hate to sport a fur coat in 100-degree weather, your pets’ fur coats are actually providing them with heat relief.
“A dog’s coat is kind of like insulation for your house,” explains Dr. Louise Murray, Vice President of the ASPCA Animal Hospital. “Insulation stops your home from getting too cold in winter, but it also keeps it from overheating in summer—and your dog’s coat does the same thing.”
Dogs’ coats have several layers, and these layers are essential to your dog’s comfort in the heat. Robbing your dog of this natural cooling system can lead to discomfort and overheating. And keeping your dog cool isn’t the only reason to leave his coat intact, Dr. Murray warns. Your dog’s coat prevents your pup from getting sunburn and helps protect her from skin cancer.
So what can you do? It is ok to give your long-haired dog a “summer cut”—trimming her long hair may make it more manageable. It is best to allow a professional groomer to perform the haircutting, and never shave down to the skin or try to cut the hair yourself with scissors.
If you prefer not to cut your dog’s hair, that’s fine. Dogs with thick coats naturally shed so that they have a lighter coat in the summer. Remember to brush your dog’s fur and bathe her frequently as clean, brushed fur allows for better air circulation.
Of course, pet parents should remember to provide a shady area when taking your pet outside, and to provide plenty of water during hot days—hydration is key! For more important information on summer pet care, read our Hot-Weather Tips.