Sweet as Syrup: Waffles' Happy Tail
At the ASPCA, we often encounter heartbreaking cases of abuse, cruelty and neglect. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of the work that we do. But with that heartbreak comes a silver lining: inspiration. Nearly every single day, we watch in awe as the incredible animals we serve overcome their pain and suffering and go on to become happy, loving pets. Their resilience is what keeps us going, so when we heard the story of Waffles the pit bull, we knew it was too good to keep to ourselves. Here is Waffles' Happy Tail.
It was a frigid day in January 2015 when the ASPCA rescued Waffles from cruelty. He and his sister, Flapjack, were only six months old at the time. Shivering and covered in skin mites, they were rushed to the ASPCA Animal Hospital for immediate care. Over the next four weeks, they received medical treatment including skin baths, antibiotics and spay/neuter surgeries until they were strong enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center.
Though his health was on the mend, Waffles’ skin was patchy and he had not yet been housetrained. He also displayed signs of fear and anxiety, but we were hopeful that the right adopter would come along and see his potential. Fortunately, in March, Katharine F. and her girlfriend walked through our door.
A lifelong dog lover, Katharine says she “grew up valuing the special relationship that exists between dogs and people.” After her beloved yellow Lab passed away in 2011, it took a few years for her to prepare to adopt another dog, but once she was ready, the ASPCA was high on her list. “With all of the homeless dogs sitting in shelters waiting for their forever homes, I wanted nothing more than to share the extra space and love that I have with a new friend.”
Katharine and her girlfriend met a few wonderful dogs at the Adoption Center, but none of them felt like the perfect fit. That’s when they spotted Waffles. “As soon as we saw him sleeping on his cot with his tongue out, we knew there was something different about him,” she recalls. “He woke up and trotted over so excitedly, put his paws on the glass and looked at us like we’d known each other for a long time. I felt like he wanted to be with us just as much as we wanted to be with him.”
We filled the couple in on Waffles' history, including his medical and behavioral issues, but they remained certain of their decision. Katharine says, “He was missing the majority of his fur, he was terrified of the outdoors, he wasn’t housebroken and he only knew ‘sit’…We knew immediately that he was the one.”
On March 6, Katharine officially adopted Waffles and changed his name to Milo, because, as she says, “he was starting over with a new life that would be nothing like what he went through before.” And she couldn’t have been more right: In the months that followed, Milo transformed into the perfect pet.
In a recent update, Katharine reported: “I am so proud of Milo and how far he has come. He has all of his fur, has made huge progress in his house training and absolutely LOVES the outdoors. Whereas before he would walk ten feet and then stop and tremble in fear, he now excitedly leads us up the street to the dog park to freely run and play. He is the most outgoing and beloved dog in my apartment building and gets compliments on his loving and mellow nature, his good manners and handsome new fur almost everywhere that we go!”
Milo has also fallen in love with the couple’s cat, and he has learned tons of new tricks including “come,” “paw,” “lay down,” and how to stand on two legs. His confidence is growing every day, but Katharine says, “Despite how active and excited this puppy is, he is never happier than when laying in a lap with a bone in his mouth. He is truly a representation of the forgiving and resilient nature of dogs who were mistreated and then given a second chance.”
We were thrilled to learn that the sick, scared puppy we met in January has come so far and forgotten the cruelty he suffered in the first months of his life. Katharine says, “We are so grateful for all of the love and help Milo received from the ASPCA,” but we are also grateful to her for giving this precious pooch the happiest home he ever could have dreamed of!