Each year, the ASPCA awards financial support to U.S.-based nonprofit animal welfare organizations through grants, sponsorships, technical assistance and training. The ASPCA Grantee Highlight Series is a collection of stories that celebrates and showcases the impact that these organizations are having on the lives of animals across the country.
The Greyhound Adoption Center (GAC) in El Cajon, California has been rescuing and rehabilitating retired racing hounds for nearly 30 years. With a staff consisting almost entirely of devoted volunteers who work tirelessly to find loving and permanent homes for these hounds, GAC has long relied heavily on their personal modes of transportation to conduct emergency rescues and bring the hounds to adoption awareness events in various cities throughout the state of California.
In June of last year, the ASPCA awarded an animal relocation grant to GAC, giving them the opportunity to purchase a large van that has provided the staff of GAC with a level of flexibility that is helping to change the way that they work.
“The new van enables GAC to respond to more emergency rescue situations in an efficient way. And we are now expanding our adoption program to areas that we could not otherwise serve,” says Darren Rigg, Founder and President of the Greyhound Adoption Center, which, since its founding, has rescued and found homes for over 6,000 rescued Greyhounds across the country.
One of GAC’s major rescues this year involved transporting dogs from Arizona in 100-degree temperatures. In addition to the safety and relief that a functioning air conditioner brought to the hounds, the new van was spacious enough to accommodate the individual crates of each dog. Separating the animals who didn’t know each other provided a safe and stress-free ride for both the hounds and the rescue crew.
In addition to facilitating safe and efficient rescues, the wrapped van gives a visual nod to the ASPCA support and serves as a mobile billboard designed to encourage community discussion and increase awareness around Greyhounds and Greyhound adoption. “Since the van is fully equipped for a show and tell, we don’t spend extra time setting up a booth with tables, chairs, awnings, etc. And when we are ready to pack up, it takes about 15 minutes to get the dogs back in the van and our supplies packed away,” says Rigg.
“The ASPCA support portrayed on the van wrap is a feather in our cap. By prominently displaying the ASPCA logo on our new rescue van, we have more credibility in the public’s eyes. The prestige of being associated with such a highly regarded organization like the ASPCA is an honor for GAC, and definitely accounts for more retired racing Greyhounds finding their forever homes,” says Rigg.
To learn more about the great work of the Greyhound Adoption Center, visit their website at www.houndsavers.org.
Guadalupe is looking for a loving home with an experienced and patient adopter. Having come to us from an abusive situation, Guadalupe can be anxious and fearful in unfamiliar company, and has a bit of difficulty trusting strangers. It takes time for this sweet pup to adapt to new environments, and she will often stick close to her caretaker during walks. Our Behavior team has worked to help Guadalupe with some things that trigger her nervousness—like sharing her food—and can give her adopter tips on how to help Guadalupe feel more comfortable adjusting to new environments and engaging with new faces.
Guadalupe is already house-trained. She is currently living in a foster home where she loves spending time outside, and would be thrilled to join a home with backyard space. Guadalupe would be most comfortable living with a pet sibling who has a compatible personality. With a little time and a lot of love, Guadalupe will make a perfect, loyal companion. Adopt Guadalupe today!
Guadalupe is 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.
For tiny tabbies Blair and Garrett, the road to adoption was not always easy. The young siblings were rescued as strays and spent nearly two years bouncing from home to home, partially because big brother Garrett’s rambunctious personality was more than most adopters could handle. But through it all, his sister stuck by his side, and now these sweet cats are living the good life together in a loving home. Here is their Happy Tail.
Blair and Garrett first arrived at the ASPCA in October 2013. Just tiny kittens at the time, they were quickly adopted into a home where they stayed for nearly two years. In January 2015, however, the adopter was forced to return them when she moved to a place that did not allow pets.
In the time since we had seen them last, Blair and Garrett had grown into friendly, social cats, but they were reliant on one another and needed to find a new home where they could stay together. We were thrilled to see them adopted in February—only to be dismayed by their return three days later. Then they were adopted a third time and brought back after five days. In both instances, the adopters reported that Blair was calm and sweet while Garrett was prone to boyish antics and loud vocalizations. We began to worry, but then, almost as if on cue, Sally F. walked through our door.
After losing her cat, Pablo, in January, Sally was bereft. “I thought it would be good to take a break—to live without the litter dust and those pre-dawn wake-up meows,” she says, “but I was totally miserable.” Missing the companionship of a feline, she and her boyfriend decided to stop by the ASPCA Adoption Center while running errands on Valentine’s Day.
Sally swore that it would just be a quick visit, but her plans went out the window the moment she met Blair and Garrett. “I thought they were beautiful, friendly and sweet,” she says. “Having planned to just ‘look’ at adoptable cats that day, I somehow walked out with two!”
Sally renamed the siblings Penny and Scooter, and in an email update a few months later, she wrote: “For the first few days, I couldn’t imagine how anyone could ever return such perfect cats. They were social, affectionate and lots of fun. Then Scooter’s mischeiv0o9==============.”
Scooter had stepped on the keyboard just Sally wrote that his “mischievous side came out.”
Yes, true to his reputation, Scooter was up to his old tricks. Sally told us that he had rearranged the art on her walls and thought everything in her home was a toy. “He was an active little boy who didn’t like me to get more than two hours of sleep at a time,” she says, “but luckily, I had fallen in love with them so I knew there was no way they were going back.”
Sally’s patience (and a little bit of redecorating) paid off, as Scooter soon settled down and relaxed into his new life. “He’s so much better now,” she says. “Scooter and Penny are so sweet and loving, and I can’t stop taking pictures of them snuggling together.”
Though it took multiple attempts, this brother and sister are finally happy and safe in a loving home. In closing, Sally tells us, “You can rest assured that this adoption is going to stick. They’re here forever.”
Labor Day is fast approaching, and many of us are looking forward to a long weekend full of block parties, barbeques and soaking in the last few drops of summer sun.
We know you’ll agree that holidays are much more fun when we celebrate with the four-legged members of our family, but pet parents should note that many beloved Labor Day festivities and foods can be downright dangerous to our animal companions. So this weekend, as you say goodbye to summer, keep your pets happy and healthy with these safety tips in mind:
Mind the dog days of summer. It may be September, but the weather is still hot, hot, hot. Animals can become dehydrated quickly, so be sure your pets are getting plenty of water over the weekend—especially if they’ll be enjoying the holidays outdoors. Make sure your pet has a shady place to escape the sun, and avoid letting your pup linger on hot asphalt. Your dog’s body can heat up quickly and sensitive paw pads can get burned.
Stash the sunscreen—and the bug spray, too. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in serious problems for pets, including drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy, while the misuse of insect repellents that include the chemical DEET can lead to neurological problems. Keep citronella candles, insect coils and oil products out of pets’ reach, too. And never apply sunscreen or insect repellent to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals.
Grilling? Keep matches and lighter fluid out of paws’ reach. Certain types of matches contain chlorates, which can damage blood cells and result in breathing difficulties or even, in severe cases, kidney disease if ingested. Lighter fluid can be irritating to the skin and, if ingested or inhaled by a curious pup, can produce gastrointestinal irritation, central nervous system depression and aspiration pneumonia.
Leave the treats to the humans. Labor Day is the perfect time for backyard barbeques—and the tasty treats that come with them. While it may be tempting to serve your pup some scraps from the grill, remember that any changes to your pet’s diet can result in severe digestive ailments. Keep them away from raisins, grapes, onions, chocolate and sugar-free products made with the sweetener xylitol, as these holiday favorites are toxic to pets—and never leave alcoholic beverages unattended where your pet can reach them.
Celebrating Lakeside? Buy your dog a life jacket—and use it. If you’ll be boating or spending time by the beach, lake or pool, never leave your pets unsupervised around the water. Just like with people, it’s easy for your pup to develop a cramp in her leg while swimming, become exhausted too far from shore or get overwhelmed by tides. Please consider purchasing a life jack for your dog. It’s easy to become distracted, and a life jacket can save her life.
Fireworks and pets don’t mix. Loud noises like the ones caused by fireworks can be frightening for pets. In fact, one in five pets goes missing after being scared by loud noises. In addition, exposure to lit fireworks can result in severe burns or trauma, and many types of fireworks contain potentially toxic substances like potassium, nitrate and arsenic that can be deadly when ingested. Keep your little ones calm and safe from the noise in a quiet, sheltered and escape-proof area at home.
On a recent Sunday evening, New Yorker Oscar Q. was watching his three dogs play when he noticed something unusual about his five-year-old Shih Tzu, Buddy: The dog’s left eye was dangling from its socket.
Oscar immediately took Buddy to the Animal Medical Center, who referred him to the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) the following day. At AAH, Buddy was assessed by Drs. Kristen Frank and Anna Podgorska, and on Tuesday, Dr. Maren Krafchik removed his eye.
Displacement of the eyeball out of the eye socket is a condition known as proptosis, and it often occurs after fighting with a larger dog or following trauma to the face or head.
“I wanted to save his eye, but as long as he’s alive, that’s what's more important to me,” said Oscar, adding that Buddy often plays with other dogs, but such a thing had never happened to him before.
Eye proptosis is not unusual in brachycephalic dog breeds—those with bulging eyes, short snouts and shallow eye sockets—like Shih Tzus, Pekingese, Pugs, Lhasa Apsos and Boston Terriers. For these breeds, even mild restraint or play can result in eye proptosis. Dog breeds with long noses and deep-set eyes are less likely to experience proptosis.
Because proptosis occurs most commonly after trauma, there are no real preventative measures pet owners can take. “Owners of brachycephalic breeds should be aware that their pet is predisposed to this condition and seek medical attention immediately in the event of proptos,” said Dr. Frank. “In certain cases, [eye removal] can be avoided with prompt medical and surgical intervention by a veterinarian.”
As of August 31, 35 eye removal surgeries have been performed at AAH this year for a variety of reasons, including infections and deformities of the eye, diseases of the eye, and trauma like Buddy’s.
On the bright side, eye removal is usually tolerated well by dogs and cats, and Oscar says Buddy is recovering well. “We treat our dogs like kids,” he said. “And Buddy is adored by everyone.”