From Neglected to Thriving: How Jackson Got a Second Chance

March 8, 2023

In March 2022, NYPD officers found a two-year-old pit bull abandoned in a vacant apartment in New York City. The poor pup, later named Jackson, was extremely underweight, with responders immediately noticing his bony and thin appearance.

Once NYPD removed Jackson from the home, he was transported to the ASPCA where our dedicated staff immediately began giving Jackson the care he needed. Over time, our medical and behavior experts worked to help him gain weight, clear his ear infections and manage his anxiety. Like many dogs with histories of neglect or abuse, Jackson suffered from anxiety, especially when transitioning to a new place.



After nearly seven months in our care, Jackson was looking and feeling much better. He was at a healthy weight, on medication for his ear infections and his anxiety was under control. Now, the only step left was to find him an adopter who would love him the way he always deserved to be loved. 

Finding His Paw-fect Match

Katie D. had been taking time to heal after losing her last dog to cancer. Once she felt like she was ready to open her heart to another rescue dog, Katie ventured onto the ASPCA website in search of her new companion. 

“I was looking for a big dog with a lot of energy that maybe other people would pass over for their size,” explains Katie. “I know so many people don’t want big dogs; they think it’s going to be too much of a hassle to have a big dog in a small apartment, but for me, I welcome that. I think it’s as easy as having a small dog.”


“My prior dog was an elderly rescue, so I was looking to maybe get a younger rescue this time,” Katie remembers. “I saw Jackson’s face and his description that said he was very energetic, and I immediately was like, ‘Okay, I’m going to see if I can be a match for this dog.’” 

When Katie went to meet Jackson at the ASPCA Adoption Center, he ran right up to her. It was then that she knew Jackson was the perfect match for her. 


“I heard he was abandoned in an apartment, and it was really heartbreaking to hear that and so sad that someone could do that. So, I felt a real need to want to give him a good home,” says Katie. 

Katie officially adopted Jackson on September 9, 2022. 

Finally at Home 

Though Jackson has a history of being anxious during transitions, he was brave with Katie by his side and settled into his new home immediately. 

“As soon as he came home, he slept in my bed and it was like he had lived there his whole life,” Katie tells us. “My only real concern was how he may interact with other people or other dogs. But he just he loves everyone—loves dogs, loves people—so it's been a really nice experience with him.” 


With time in his new home, Jackson’s personality has blossomed. He has become more accustomed to being around Katie and other people in their building and his energy is still at an all-time high!

“Jackson is at a 10 at all times, all day every day,” says Katie. “He is so energetic and just bouncing off the walls all the time. He is always very curious and interested in anything that I'm doing, and he loves checking everything and everyone out and sniffing everywhere. It’s exciting to see a dog that's so interested in his surroundings. And then at night he is out like a light at nine o'clock and that's it!”

In order to curb some of Jackson’s energy, Katie wakes up early before work to take him out running. The pair run for a few miles every morning.

“This dog actually wears me out!” Katie says.


Showing His True Colors 

Now that Jackson’s personality is shining bright, Katie has caught on to a few of his adorable quirks, like his affinity for two-ball fetch or his love of drinking water from the bathtub faucet. 

“I’d never heard of two-ball fetch before so I had to learn how to play with him,” Katie tells us. “Essentially, I throw one ball and he'll bring it back to me but he will not drop that ball until I throw another one. He will not play unless you have two balls for him.”


“He is obsessed with drinking water out of the bathtub faucet,” Katie continues. “Every time I go into the bathroom, he doesn't want to see me, he wants to drink water out of the faucet in the bathtub. He actually prefers that to drinking water out of his bowl.” 

In addition to drinking from the bathtub and playing two-ball fetch, Jackson loves playing with squeaker balls. His ears perk up even if you say the word.


It seems that Jackson’s former life of neglect is nothing but a distant memory for him now. Instead, he’s playing with toys, going for runs in New York City and creating a beautiful, happy life with Katie. 

“Jackson is the light of my life,” says Katie. “I look forward to coming home every day from work and seeing his excitement and his eyes light up when he sees me. He's loved very much and I'm so grateful to have him in my life.”