Given the festive time of year, I thought I would focus my year-end blog posts on happy endings. Some of the most touching stories arose from tragedy.
The ASPCA’s largest rescue effort this year was helping the animals left homeless following the tornadoes that devastated Joplin, Missouri. Several of our responders told me stories that I’ll never forget.
One of those involved a male setter mix dog who was quivering with fear in his kennel at the emergency shelter that had been set up for animals rescued following the tornadoes. One of the ASPCA’s responders built trust with the dog by patiently hand feeding him, until finally the dog allowed us to put a leash on him to take him for a walk.
Walking this terrified dog was challenging, as he pulled with all his might in the same direction. No matter which way the handler tried to direct him, the dog insisted on going in a single southward direction.
A few hours after the walk, a man was walking through the shelter trying to find his missing dog. When the man and the setter mix saw each other, the formerly-timid dog leapt up with excitement and started barking, howling and wagging his tail furiously. As I’m sure you’ve guessed, this man and this dog had belonged to each other before the tornadoes. The man pointed out where their home had been and, sure enough, that dog had been pulling his handler earlier in the day in the direction of where their home had been.
After the man and his beloved dog were reunited, we were hoping for similar joyous reunions. ASPCA responders talked frequently to an 18-year-old woman and her brother who visited the Joplin emergency shelter desperately trying to find the woman’s cat. Like countless others, this woman had lost almost everything she owned, but she clung to a dirty photo of her 16-year-old cat.
The cat the woman was desperately seeking was missing an ear and looked every one of his 16 years. Each time the woman visited the shelter and could not find her cat, she assumed the worst and broke down in tears. As the woman was leaving after one such heart-wrenching search, she saw a rescuer carrying a cat in a crate. She held up the picture of her beloved cat, and the rescuer said that he thought he had the cat. The woman looked in the crate, saw her cat, and collapsed on the ground while hugging the crate and crying along with her brother.
As news reports focus on must-have holiday gifts, I can’t help but think about the people who lost all their material possessions, yet felt so blessed to have found their beloved companions. Happy holidays, everyone!
Those of us who live in colder climates are used to taking all sorts of precautions to prepare for winter, from putting on snow tires to breaking our warmest togs out of moth balls. But don’t forget that winter also poses challenges for our pets!With their protection in mind, the ASPCA hasteamed up with Morton Salt’s Safe-T-Pet® ice melt to raise awareness about winter hazards for pets. Be sure to take note of the following tips:
Keep anti-freeze stored on high shelves in sealed containers, and quickly clean any spills or leakage.
Use a pet-friendly (salt-free and chloride-free) ice melter such as Morton® Safe-T-Pet® in areas where pets walk.
Limit outdoor time for pets when temperatures drop below freezing.
Check warm spots on cars, such as hoods, where animals might seek shelter from the cold, before starting the engine.
Keep pets on a leash, especially dogs, as they can become disoriented or lost when once-familiar surroundings are covered in ice and snow.
Wipe paws clean after walking on ice and snow.
Make sure pets are wearing ID tags and proper outerwear as needed.
Easy Winter Action!
In addition to sharing important winter safety tips, Morton is raising funds for the ASPCA! For every "like" they receive on their Facebook page through January 31, 2012, Morton will donate $1 to the ASPCA. So get clicking—and thanks!
Stuck for a holiday present? Bored with the latest gadgets and gift certificates? Why not give the gift that keeps on giving—to animals!? An ASPCA gift membership is a great way to say you care, not only for the recipient but also for the millions of pets who’ll benefit from your generosity. Our online form makes it easy—just log on and help us build a humane community one membership at a time.
In return for your gift of $25 or more, the recipient will receive a membership card, an ASPCA calendar, a free subscription to ASPCA Action, and an ASPCA wristband. ASPCA gift memberships of $50 or more include a limited edition Harley.
So hurry and get clickin’, and have a happy, humane holiday from the ASPCA!
We worked with our Shelter Partners to find space for these brave little pups, and organizations in Arkansas, New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., stepped up to the plate. Today, we packed up our Animal Transport Trailers and hit the road.
Here’s where these brave little pups are being welcomed with open arms:
Twenty dogs stayed close to home with Arkansas’ Stop Animal Cruelty in Hot Spring County.
St. Hubert’s Animal Welfare Center in Madison, New Jersey, is taking in 30 dogs.
Animal Welfare Association in Voorhees, New Jersey, has accepted 20 dogs.
Columbia-Greene Humane Society/SPCA in Hudson, New York, will find homes for 10 dogs.
And Washington Animal Rescue League in Washington, D.C., will welcome 100 dogs!!
A huge thank you to our Shelter Partners for giving these former victims of a cruelty a second chance at finding love and companionship.
For the first time in her life, this sweet hound is spending the holidays surrounded by love. To see her now, it’s hard to believe that she was once the victim of hoarding.
Scared, sick and hungry, Aurora was one of 84 dogs found living in filthy conditions on a property in rural Tennessee. But thanks to the support of our members, ASPCA responders were able to rescue the animals, bringing them to safety.
"It was clear that the dogs were in dire need of help, and our mission was to get them triaged by a veterinary team and into a safe environment," says Kyle Held, the ASPCA’s Midwest Director of Field Investigations and Response.
With your help, our team nursed Aurora back to health, we helped her conquer her fears and we found her a loving forever family. We're so grateful for your support—without it, dogs like Aurora wouldn't be home for the holidays.