For a mini dachshund named Aaron, the road to a “forever home” was anything but smooth. Surrendered to the ASPCA in July 2013, the three-year-old pup was suffering from a whole host of medical problems—including a broken leg—and displayed behavioral issues like aggression and anxiety. We knew that he would need a patient adopter willing to earn his trust, and fortunately, a lifelong dachshund-lover named Marissa was up for the challenge. Here is their Happy Tail.
“Dogs are my passion in life,” says Marissa. She and her then-fiancé, Pete, already had a six-year-old dachshund when they decided they wanted another dog. But with a wedding on the way, Pete thought it would be best to wait until after their honeymoon to adopt a new furry friend. “I agreed, but the second we were home from the honeymoon I started looking for another dachshund,” says Marissa. On that very first night, she found Aaron on the ASPCA website.
“I particularly love dachshunds for all their great traits and endearing quirks, and I figured there was no way a dog as cute as Aaron would still be available,” she says. Sure enough, she called the ASPCA Adoption line at 10:59 A.M. the next day (it opens at 11), to inquire about little Aaron. We invited her to come in for a meeting.
At the meeting, Marissa learned a bit more about Aaron’s history. His previous owner surrendered him to the ASPCA when his myriad medical and emotional needs became more than she could handle. In addition to the leg—which had been broken by another dog before being treated at the ASPCA Animal Hospital—Aaron has a swallowing condition called cricopharyngeal dysfunction that requires twice-daily medication. On top of all that, he was a nervous dog who displayed aggressive behavior toward strangers and other animals. It was a lot of information to receive at one time, but Marissa was unphased. “That sounds like most dachshunds!” she laughed.
To make absolutely sure that Aaron was the right fit, Marissa asked Pete to come see him right away. “He had a meeting, but knew if he didn’t come to the ASPCA I would probably divorce him,” she jokes. He left work immediately and came to the ASPCA Adoption Center, where Aaron had surprised everyone by becoming friends with Marissa’s other dachshund, Oscar. Watching the two dogs play, we had all the confirmation we needed—this family was a perfect match.
After his adoption, Aaron relaxed happily into his new life. Marissa says, “He fit into our household very easily. He’s an absolute sweetheart and the adjustment went a lot smoother and quicker than we could have imagined.” Aaron seemed to forget his past trauma, and though his condition makes it hard to eat and drink water, the family does everything possible to make his life easier. “I think the love and compassion Aaron received at the ASPCA prepared him for his new life and a permanent home,” says Marissa. “We are so thankful for everything you’ve done for him.”
If you come across a stray or lost dog or cat in your area, it’s best to take the animal to your local shelter as soon as possible. But, what should you do if you find an orphaned or injured bird, squirrel or rabbit? It’s natural to feel compelled to help in these situations, but your local shelter may not have wildlife rehabilitators on staff.
ASPCA Animal Care Technician Jessii Parham has provided care for injured and orphaned squirrels in New York City. She notes that if you come across a baby squirrel, it is best to leave him alone unless he looks malnourished, dehydrated or covered in fleas. Those are usually signs the baby has been away from his mother for an extended time period. If the squirrel looks healthy, he most likely fell out of his nest and will soon be retrieved. If the baby squirrel is still on the ground after one hour, regardless of being healthy or looking sickly, it is best to step in to help.
Keep the baby squirrel or squirrels warm—around 91 degrees or higher. Brush off fleas with a towel, but do not bathe the squirrel entirely. Once the squirrel warms up a bit, you may try to feed him a tiny amount of flavorless Pedialyte for rehydration, and a puppy milk replacement for nourishment, until a wildlife rehabilitator can take over his care.
Have you ever come across an orphaned or injured animal? How did you respond? Please share in the comments.
At the ASPCA, we love our volunteers. These kindhearted people give their time and love to animals in our care, and we rely on them to help with many aspects of our shelter operations. Without our volunteers, we couldn’t do all the good things we do!
If you are in the New York City area and are interested in volunteering at the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan’s Upper East Side, here are a few things to note:
All ASPCA volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
Volunteers must be able to commit to a minimum of eight hours per month for a minimum of six months. Due to the extensive training requirements, we are not able to accept short-term volunteers.
The ASPCA does not accept volunteers needing to fulfill court-appointed community service.
Some of the major volunteer opportunities available at the ASPCA include Adoption Counselors, Cat Volunteers, Dog Volunteers, Foster Caretakers and Veterinary Assistants. For active volunteers who demonstrate advanced animal-handling skills, other opportunities may exist pending further training. For detailed descriptions of each position, visit our official Volunteer page.
If you’re eager to get started, please note the ASPCA’s Volunteer Program accepts online applications on a quarterly basis (sorry, we no longer accept paper applications). The next application period will be from Monday, December 1 at 10:00 A.M. through Sunday, December 8—so be sure to return and apply in that time!
Not in New York City? Don’t worry! There are plenty of fantastic animal welfare organizations across the country that can use your help. Check out the shelter finder tool to locate the shelter nearest you. Good luck and happy volunteering!
If your dog uses his time alone in the house to bark endlessly, pee on the carpet, or tear up the sofa—and those behaviors are accompanied by depression or stress—your pooch may be suffering from separation anxiety, a very common behavior problem.
Overcoming disorders like separation anxiety takes time, patience and consistency, but it can be done! Just take the following steps, and you’re already on your way.
Make sure the problem is separation anxiety. The first step in tackling behavior issues is to rule out any underlying medical problems that might be causing your pet’s misbehavior. Next, rule out other behavior problems. For example, consider whether your dog’s inappropriate elimination is due to incomplete housetraining.
Take action. So you’re sure the problem is separation anxiety? Try these strategies to address the issue:
Keep all greetings relaxed. When leaving, give your dog a pat on the head, say goodbye and leave. Similarly, when arriving home, say hello to your dog and then don’t pay any more attention to him until he’s calm and relaxed.
Give your dog a workout. Giving your dog lots of mental and physical stimulation goes a long way toward quelling behavior problems—especially those involving anxiety. Exercise can enrich your dog’s life, decrease stress and provide appropriate outlets for normal behavior. And once she’s all tuckered out, your pal won’t have much energy left to get into trouble.
Reward your pooch! Teach your dog to associate your departure with a reward, like a delicious stuffed Kong or other food-dispensing toy. This positive association can help resolve the problem, as well as distract your dog for the first few minutes you’re gone!
Looking for a sweet and sensitive kitty companion? Look no further than Glenda (pictured right) or Kathy (pictured below). These pretty girls both have special needs, and are each looking for patient and caring forever families to love and take care of them.*
Glenda and Kathy are both diabetic and will require daily insulin shots from their adopters—but with proper care and special diets, their conditions can be well-managed. While it would be great if Glenda and Kathy’s adoptive families be familiar with feline diabetes, our medical team can show you the ropes and help you address their unique health needs.
We know adopting pets with special needs can be both a financial and time commitment, but these sweet girls will reward you with plenty of love in return! Glenda and Kathy would do best with experienced adopters, and Kathy would prefer to be the only cat in the household. Adopt Glenda or Kathy today!
*Note: While Glenda and Kathy have similar needs, they do not need to be adopted together.
Glenda and Kathy are available for adoption at the ASPCA Adoption Center. If you are interested in adopting, please call our Adoptions department in New York City at (212) 876-7700 ext. 4120. To learn more about these pretty ladies, please visit Glenda and Kathy’sprofile pages.