Can you believe it’s December already? Candy canes, twinkly lights and bow-topped gifts abound. But before we bring out the eggnog, it’s high time we clear the air about one type of holiday décor that has gotten a pretty bad rap: the poinsettia.
Believe it or not, pet parents, these festive plants are not the deadly flowers legend has made them out to be. The myth of the plant’s toxicity actually began in the early part of the 20th century, after the two-year-old child of a U.S. Army officer allegedly died from consuming a poinsettia leaf. As a result of this rumor, the plant has never lived down its poisonous reputation.
Okay, so you still don’t necessarily want your pets to eat them. Because consuming poinsettias may cause mild gastrointestinal irritation, keeping these plants out of pets’ reach is still a good idea. But there’s no need to banish them altogether.
So, what do you say? Let’s give this plant a break—I hear they make quite the centerpiece.
This holiday season, homeless pets across the nation are getting much-needed holiday meals thanks to Ellen DeGeneres and Freekibble.com. DeGeneres, who co-owns Halo, Purely for Pets, has teamed with 16-year-old Freekibble.com founder Mimi Ausland to launch the second annual Holiday Kibble Drop.
The initiative will deliver 500,000 meals of all-natural Halo Spot’s Stew to pets in need at 69 shelters— including many along the East Coast that were affected by Hurricane Sandy. One of its stops is the ASPCA Emergency Boarding Facility in Brooklyn, New York.
Founded by Ausland when she was just 11, Freekibble.com has donated more than 8 million meals to shelters and rescues since 2008. Each day, its website features a new trivia question. Every time visitors answer a question, right or wrong, they earn 10 pieces of kibble for homeless pets. How cool is that?
Helping homeless pets find their forever homes is a cause close to DeGeneres’ heart, too. “Pet adoption is something I’m extremely passionate about. I believe that by working together, we can find good homes for the millions of homeless and abandoned pets out there,” she says.
A playful cat with a unique name at the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan found a loving home with plenty of human and cat companionship last month. Tom Selleck’s adopter shared the following story with us:
Tom is doing wonderfully well and I am extremely happy to have him in my family. I decided to adopt Tom because he was recommended to me and, when I met him, he was perfect. I adopted a cat from the ASPCA about five years ago, and I was impressed by how much the staff knew about each animal.
I was looking for a playmate for one of my cats who is very active. I went in without any preference for my new cat's age, gender or type—what was important was personality. Tom was the first one I saw. He was not afraid to approach me and, when I held him, he was already climbing all over me. Just like the other cats I've adopted, I was able to make a quick connection to him. Somehow I knew he was the one.
Tom has two older cat sisters and an older cat brother. He adjusted very quickly to his home. I was going to keep him in one room, separated from the others until he felt comfortable, but when I left the room for a bit, his older brother opened the door and let himself in. When I came back, they were already sniffing each other and getting comfortable. Now Tom and his brother are almost inseparable. They sleep together on top on me.
As long as Tom is happy, anything goes. His happiness makes me happy—I love him so much. I am extremely thankful to the person who introduced me to Tom.
Did you adopt a cat or dog from the ASPCA? Send us photos at [email protected] for a chance to be featured on the blog.
Guest blog by Andrew Binovi, ASPCA Federal Legislative Manager
With all the political gridlock in Washington D.C., it seems that Congress has nearly ground to a complete halt. So it was very exciting late yesterday when the U.S. Senate considered two important measures to help animals in need!
First, the Senate took up the cause of canine heroes who have served in our military and passed a provision that streamlines the adoption process for retired military dogs and authorizes the Department of Defense to provide veterinary care in the animals’ retirement without any cost to American taxpayers. Military dogs perform dangerous, critical tasks, and it is our duty to honor these dogs and ensure they are cared for after their service is complete. The House passed similar language in their version of the military bill earlier this year.
Then, just moments later, the Senate passed the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act by a unanimous voice vote. This bill, introduced by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), along with Sens. Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and Scott Brown (R-MA), will give law enforcement additional tools to crack down on animal fighting. The legislation will make it a federal offense to attend an organized animal fight and will impose additional penalties for taking minors to animal fights.
Take Action! We are encouraged that in the twilight hours of this Congress, animals in need have not been forgotten by federal lawmakers. Our team has been working around the clock with members of Congress to ensure passage of both bills, but we still need your help. Please call your representative and ask him or her to support the Animal Fighting Spectator Prohibition Act in the House. Animals victimized in this grisly blood sport are in desperate need—and they are counting on us to get the job done!
If you were separated from your pet during Hurricane Sandy, there is a chance your dog or cat is under the care of the ASPCA at our Emergency Boarding Facility in Brooklyn. We’ve partnered with Animal Care & Control of NYC (AC&C) to help pets displaced by Hurricane Sandy find their homes. Please check the lost dog database and lost cat database for photos and details about each animal at the shelter. Additional pets are listed in the AC&C Found Pets Database.