Bonded animals—pets who must stay together—can offer adopters twice the love. Unfortunately, they can also be twice as hard to place into a permanent home. Such was the case with Lucca and Zoe, two bonded kitties who were adopted and returned to the ASPCA three times. But these pals stuck together through thick and thin, and now they’re living a doubly good life because of it. Here is their Happy Tail.
Lucca and Zoe first came to the ASPCA in November, 2012. They were left at the door of our Adoption Center in New York City, and at the time they were less than 6 months old. The two tiny kitties were adopted four days later, and we were pleased that they had found a home so quickly. But then a pattern emerged: Zoe and Lucca were returned in July 2013, then adopted again, and then returned a third time in March 2014. Though the cats were cute, we learned that little Lucca had a tendency toward accidents that was proving more than adopters could handle. In each home, he had urinated repeatedly on couches, beds, and rugs.
We set out to find the cause of Lucca’s problem, and that’s when we discovered the blood in his urine. As it turns out, this fussy feline wasn’t behaviorally challenged—he had a massive amount of bladder crystals. At our Animal Hospital, he received surgery (a cystotomy), and was given a life-long prescription for urinary-friendly food. Though we had solved his health problem, we were back to square one in terms of adopters.
Because of all they had been through together, Lucca and Zoe were listed once again as a bonded pair. We were worried about their prospects, until we remembered that one of our volunteers, Michelle D., had expressed interest in adopting bonded kitties. Michelle was introduced to Zoe and Lucca, and it was love at first sight. “When I first saw them, they were snuggled together with their paws wrapped around each other,” she says. “I called my husband Will and he was able to come see the two cats right away, and he fell in love as well.”
Before rushing into a fourth adoption for the pair, though, we made sure that Michelle and Will learned everything about their health and history. “We found out that these two year old cats had been through some tough experiences from the time they were kittens, and that made us even more determined to give them a happy home,” Michelle says. “At the ASPCA, people work so hard to give each animal the medical, nutritional, and behavioral care he or she needs. Everyone is rooting for them to find the right match, and we really wanted to adopt cats who were in need of a home.”
Fortunately, the fourth time proved to be the charm, as Lucca and Zoe are now thriving in Michelle’s home. She tells us, “They bonded solidly with us. Lucca loves to be picked up and held, Zoe loves to sleep with us, and they often follow us as we move from one room to another.” The kitties now spend their days playing with toys, snoozing around the house (Lucca loves the armchair; Zoe the ottoman), and sitting on the windowsill watching birds.
Michelle adds, “At some point each day, we’ll find them nestled together, cuddled up and bathing one another. We love these cats and feel lucky to be loved in return. We’re so grateful to the ASPCA for their commitment to find a home not only for Lucca and Zoe, but for all the other cats who come through their doors.”
With such a long history of bad luck, Lucca and Zoe are finally getting the love they deserve. We’re so glad this bonded duo found their forever home—and that they found it together.
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Robert M. knew something was wrong when his 1-year-old cat, Kitty, began vomiting and stopped eating. But what he didn’t know was that Kitty had somehow swallowed a penny.
Earlier this month, Robert drove Kitty from his home in Bellmore, Long Island to the ASPCA Animal Hospital in Manhattan. X-rays revealed what looked like a shiny penny lodged in Kitty’s small intestine, having already passed through her stomach.
“It was the worst day ever,” says Robert. “She is such a wonderful cat and she was just so sick.”
Dr. Anna Whitehead, who performed surgery on Kitty the same day, has retrieved coins from dogs in the past, but says it’s rare for cats to swallow loose change.
She also says Kitty was lucky her condition was not worse, because of the penny’s composition.
Pennies dated before 1982 are made of 95 percent copper, and those dated 1983 or later are made of 97.5 percent zinc and coated in a thin plate of copper. The cent's composition was changed in 1982 because the value of the copper in one cent pieces rose above one cent.
“Stomach acid corrodes pennies made of zinc and can cause hemolysis, or a rupturing of red blood cells that leads to life-threatening anemia,” says Dr. Whitehead.
In Kitty’s case, the penny had turned black from corrosion, making the 1986 mint date barely legible.
“It’s hard to say what happened or how long it had been in there,” says Dr. Whitehead.
As for the penny, it won’t turn up again. Robert is keeping it as a reminder of Kitty’s ordeal and has taken it out of circulation.
Advocates, today is No Pet Store Puppies Day. Last week, we gave you a glimpse into the process of behavioral rehabilitation for one particular dog, Dusty, who was terrified of everyone and everything after a life spent in a puppy mill. Read the rest of Dusty’s story, as told by our staff behavior experts, to see the amazing progress puppy mill survivors like him can make.
April 15, 2014: We are continuing to work with Dusty on his fear of seeing people while he’s on a leash. The rehabilitation center is lucky to have volunteers who come in on regular basis and act as unfamiliar people for our dogs in treatment. Today, I took Dusty on a walk to meet one of our volunteers and asked her to toss treats to him during the encounter. If we do this enough times, most dogs start to associate strangers they see on walks with yummy treats! Dusty is making extraordinary progress and we expect him to graduate from our program soon. He is sure to make a lucky family very happy!
May 1, 2014: Dusty graduated from our program today! He’s been placed with a rescue group, Rescuzilla, and will be living in a foster home in Queens, New York!
May 9, 2014: Rescuzilla tells us Dusty blew them all away with how quickly he warmed up to his new home. In the first couple of days, he was already comfortable being walked and held—even by his foster parent’s niece and nephew!
June 1, 2014:Dusty has found his forever home! A veterinary technician in New Jersey saw him on Petfinder and fell in love instantly. She has two other rescued Chihuahuas. One of Dusty’s rescue sisters is even sassier than he is, and the adopter was so happy to see the three of them get along so seamlessly in just the first few hours after Dusty came home! His new family says that he loves his new dad—but is a mama’s boy at heart. He is just what they were looking for.
Dusty’s journey is happily over, but there are many more dogs like him—is there room in your heart and home for one? Raja, Apple and Gustavo—three dogs seized from the same puppy mill as Dusty—have likewise graduated from the ASPCA's Behavioral Rehabilitation Center and are now waiting for their forever families.
It was difficult to choose, but we have selected 40 exceptional finalists representing 26 Challenge shelters. Now’s your chance to help choose the winners! Visit our $100K Challenge Photo Contest voting page to vote for your favorite photo once per day from now until 11:59 P.M. on Friday, August 1. Contest winners and runners-up will receive prizes ranging from $1,000 to $5,000 in the form of ASPCA grant funds for their local Challenge shelter! We’ll announce the winners of the Photo Contest on Monday, August 4.
Thousands of dogs spend their entire lives in puppy mills—where profit is given priority over the well-being of the dogs. They live in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions for years on end, and may suffer from behavioral, congenital and hereditary problems as a result of irresponsible breeding practices. Their puppies are sometimes sold to pet shops—usually through a broker, or middleman—and marketed as young as eight weeks of age.
The ASPCA estimates that there are between 6,000 and 10,000 commercial breeding facilities in the U.S. That means that as many as tens of thousands of dogs are enduring lives of abuse and neglect—all in the name of profit—and we refuse to rest until every single mill dog is safe.
If you are ready to stand with us against puppy mills, join us this Monday, July 21, as we celebrate No Pet Store Puppies Day. We believe that no dog should suffer for profit, and we are making progress toward ending this abuse. But we can’t do it alone. Here are five ways you can help puppy mill dogs on No Pet Store Puppies Day.
1. Watch and share our latest video about why puppy mills are no laughing matter to spread awareness about pet store puppies.