Once Neglected, Maddie Finds Love in a Foster Home

January 9, 2019


Linda A. wasn’t choosy when she decided to become a foster caregiver for the ASPCA.

“I’ve always preferred large dogs, but I made up my mind to open my home to any dog, large or small, young or old, who needed me,” she explains.  

That “any dog” turned out to be Maddie, an eight-year-old Shih Tzu.

A registered nurse and ASPCA volunteer, Linda missed having a dog and hoped that fostering would help fill the gap in her life. 

“When I was living alone, I didn’t think it would be fair to have a dog when I was working all the time,” Linda says. But retiring gave her an opportunity that could benefit both her and a pet.

“It would give a dog a rest from the kennel and help me to get used to having a dog again.”

Maddie after being rescued

Maddie’s ASPCA Journey

Maddie was one of two dogs taken from their owner last April by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), due to serious neglect. An arrest was made, and the case remains open.

“She was thin, matted, had dental disease and suffered from chronic ocular changes in both of her eyes,” explains Dr. Julie DiMeglio, a veterinarian at the ASPCA’s Animal Recovery Center (ARC). “She was diagnosed with KCS (dry-eye) and cataracts, and she received treatment directed by a veterinary ophthalmologist for her dry-eye. Although she wasn't able to see, her eyes were comfortable and free of infection after the treatment.”

Maddie after being rescued

Maddie after being groomed and treated

Maddie spent over a month in ARC, where she was groomed and received daily care and exercise. She was also spayed, underwent an umbilical hernia repair and received a dental cleaning, during which several teeth were extracted.

Next, Maddie was moved to the ASPCA Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment (CARE) facility, where she continued to gain weight, and in mid-May, entered Linda’s life and home in Kew Gardens, Queens.

In July, that foster home became permanent when Linda officially adopted Maddie.

“I hadn’t considered adoption at first, but I soon realized that Maddie’s the sweetest dog on the face of the earth,” says Linda. 

Despite her blindness, Maddie has adjusted well to Linda’s house.

“She’s a very quiet and low-energy dog,” says Linda. “She has a way of moving around very softly.”

Maddy and Linda

Sharing the Love

Maddie also loves company and looks toward people when they talk to her. 

Capitalizing on that, Linda is in the process of having Maddie certified as a therapy dog so she can spread her sweet nature to others. 

Although Maddie is older, Linda sees that as a plus, and she ticks off a list of reasons to adopt an older dog. 

“Her personality was already set,” Linda explains. “There were no surprises. She’s older and wiser, with nothing to prove.” 

Maddie may have nothing to prove, but her story is further proof that an open mind and an open heart can make a lifesaving difference.

Maddie resting in her new home