Guest blog written by Beverly Pietrucha, ASPCA Volunteer Coordinator.
I discovered Agility about 20 years ago when my very young pup, Ginger, and I were taking a series of obedience classes. We signed up for an introductory class—and that was the beginning of the end. Ginger was an absolute natural on the obstacles: up the A-frame, over the dog walk, through the tunnel—all with no hesitation.
“This should be easy,” I thought. Well, was I wrong!
In Agility, dog and handler must work as a team to negotiate obstacles—in their numbered order. Well, sometimes Ginger would have another idea and get the "zoomies," much to the delight of the spectators. Frustrating for the handler? Perhaps. Lots of fun for the dog? You bet!
And so Ginger and I embarked on what would be an almost 15-year Agility journey, andthe bond that developed between us cannot be described.When you are negotiating an agility course without a leash, or food or treats in hand you become connected in a way that is very special.
What About Shy Dogs? Not sure if your dog is up to the task? Two years ago I adopted Charlie, who was very shy and lacking in confidence. I enrolled him in an agility class thinking that would perhaps build his esteem a bit. In that first class, he would barely go over a very low jump. I was told by the instructor that I should forget about doing agility with him. Well, we persevered—and Charlie is now competing.
If you’re interested: Signing up for good training classes with competent instructors is essential, even if you don't want to compete but just want to have a bit of fun with your dog. But be forewarned: Dog Agility can be addictive!
It’s heartbreaking: Every year, millions of cats and dogs become lost in the United States. Many are beloved pets who never make it home. In fact, research shows that only 10 to 30% of lost dogs and a mere 5% of lost cats are ever reunited with their families. It doesn’t have to be this way.
Taking the simple steps of microchipping and adding an ID tag to your pet can help improve these tragic odds. “It is as small as a grain of rice, but a microchip could mean the difference between life and death for your beloved companion,” explains Gail Buchwald, ASPCA Senior Vice President of the Adoption Center.
Visit your veterinarian and request a microchip. And be sure all of your animal companions—even indoor-only pets—wear a collar with an ID tag. After all, your pet is depending on you.
Great news: The Ohio exotics bill just passed the Senate! Ohio is one of only seven states where almost any animal can be kept by almost any person. Since the vast majority of people who try to keep exotic animals as pets don’t understand and cannot meet their needs, these animals often are caged, chained, beaten into submission, or mutilated via preemptive removal of their teeth and claws.
Last fall’s tragedy in Zanesville—where 56 privately owned big cats, primates, wolves and bears were released, and many were killed—showed the entire country what can happen when exotic and wild animals are kept in captivity.
We congratulate the Ohio Senate for passing Senate Bill 310 and hope the House will soon follow suit.
Hey you!Yep, you! Have you gone orange for animals yet? Well, good news—it’s not too late. Here are five easy ways you can celebrate Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Month and help us end animal abuse.
Get Your Shop On! Yep, you heard us right. Shop at any one of nearly 2,000 participating merchants and the ASPCA automatically receives a donation. Download the ASPCA App—it takes less than a minute to set up, and it keeps on giving every time you shop!
Become an ASPCA Guardian For as little as 60 cents a day, you can help us rescue animals from cruelty and help us find them loving homes. Please consider becoming an ASPCA Guardian today.
Volunteer at Your Local Shelter Coordinate a ”Go Orange for Animals” event with your local animal shelter and donate the proceeds and/or supplies that you collect. Be sure to alert local media about your event! Learn more.
Show Your Virtual Support Dedicate your Facebook status, Twitter or blog to the ASPCA during the month of April and encourage people to spread the word about animal cruelty. And if you haven’t already, join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!
Join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade Fight to get strong anti-cruelty laws passed on federal, state and local levels as a member of the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade.
Cagney and Lacy before receiving treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital
Who could starve two puppies? Apparently, Gillian Irving could. On April 20, ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement (HLE) Agent Ann Kelly arrested the 27-year-old Bronx woman for allegedly neglecting and starving her two seven-month-old Pit Bulls, Cagney and Lacey.
It was last February when HLE Agents first responded to a complaint that two skinny dogs were living inside Irving’s Bronx apartment. Upon arrival, Agents seized the two emaciated dogs and transported them to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for life-saving treatment. ASPCA veterinarians determined Cagney and Lacey had been starved—weighing only 16.4 and 15.2 pounds.
After receiving treatment, Cagney now weighs 27.1 pounds and Lacey weighs 26.9 pounds—a 65 and 77 percent increase, respectively. Both dogs are continuing their recovering at the hospital and will eventually be made available for adoption.
As a result of her actions, Irving was charged with two counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty. If convicted, she faces up to two years in jail and/or a $2,000 fine. Irving is due in Bronx Criminal Court on August 22.
Take Action! We need you on our side! If you suspect an animal may be the victim of neglect or abuse, please report it. Visit our Report Cruelty FAQ to learn how to report cruelty in your neighborhood. And consider becoming an ASPCA Guardian—together we can fight animal cruelty across the country.