Aug 21, 2017

Rescued from Dog Fighting: Bam's Story

Bam on the day he was rescued from living on a cha
Bam on the day he was rescued from living on a cha

Lacey S. has worked with animals for more than half of her life, starting at age 11 as an animal shelter volunteer. Today, she is a veterinary technician at Clay County Animal Care & Control in Green Cove Springs, Florida. 

In August 2013, the ASPCA participated in the second-largest dog fighting case in U.S. history, a case that spanned four states and resulted in 10 arrests. Lacey got involved in the case through her association with Plenty of Pit Bulls, a volunteer-run organization in Gainesville that rescues and rehabilitates dogs who are at risk of euthanasia due to shelter overcrowding. Owing to her expertise with the breed, Lacey was assisting us with behavior evaluations of the seized dogs at a temporary, emergency shelter where they were being housed. That’s where she met a three-year-old pit bull named Bam.

Like many of the other dogs from this case, Bam was underweight. He tested positive for heartworm and Babesia, a blood parasite not uncommon in fighting dogs. He had likely spent his life on a chain, just out of reach of other dogs and exposed to the elements.

“I was terrified [the dog fighters] were going to somehow get him back,” says Lacey, who used easygoing Bam in dog-on-dog evaluations to test other dogs for aggression. Bam was sheltered for four months before Lacey was able to bring him home as a foster pet, and he was in legal limbo for an additional eight months before she could legally adopt him.*

Due to the traumas they suffer through the cruelties of dog fighting, dogs like Bam can often require extensive rehabilitation. It is a common and unfortunate misconception that these dogs are never able to become beloved family pets.

Bam is a dog who easily proves that theory wrong. The large pit bull was always calm, lovable and friendly—however, once in foster care, Bam’s traumas did begin to catch up with him, and severe separation anxiety surfaced. Luckily, Lacey was well equipped to help Bam adjust to being alone. With medication and training, she managed and decreased his anxiety, and Bam slowly became more comfortable being alone.

We recently caught up with Lacey and Bam, who’s now seven years old. Lacey and her fiancé, Jacob, have a new baby daughter and a 17-month-old son, Jackson, with whom Bam has been “absolutely amazing,” according to Lacey. “They are the best of friends,” she says, and adds that Bam also gets along well with Butch, the family cat, as well as with other dogs and even rabbits! 

 Nearly four years since his rescue, Bam helps Lacey evaluate dogs at the Clay County shelter and is frequently a “conversation starter” when she takes him to local parks.

“Either people want to run up to him and hug him, or they want to run away from him,” says Lacey. “But most of time we get a good reaction. I use him to educate as much as I can; he’s a great ambassador for the breed.” In his role as a breed ambassador, Bam also frequents a local nursing home that encourages pet visits—proving that the dog who could have been automatically labeled “aggressive,” given his origins, is anything but.

Bam with Marney, a former shelter dog whom Lacey f
Bam with Marney, a former shelter dog whom Lacey f
Bam hanging out with cats Mr. Pink Toes, toward re
Bam hanging out with cats Mr. Pink Toes, toward re

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May 24, 2017

Don't Judge a Cat by Her Cover: Chroma's Happy Tail

Chroma first arrived at the ASPCA in September 2014 after her guardian had to make the difficult decision to surrender her due to his own health.  The then three-year-old cat had not yet been spayed or microchipped, and was in need of urgent dental care.  The veterinary team at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) moved quickly to take care of all of Chroma’s needs—including a spay surgery and multiple dental extractions.  

Once Chroma fully recovered from her surgeries, she was transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center, where the Adoptions team soon noticed that she did not like other cats and needed slow introductions to new people. To reduce her stress level, the Adoptions team put a small piece of cardboard in front of her glass enclosure to ensure that Chroma could no longer see her fellow resident cats. Everyone knew that due to Chroma’s anxious nature, she would require just the right adopter for her permanent home—someone patient and willing to give Chroma the time and gentle affection she needed.  

Meanwhile, James V. and his wife, Julia, had recently moved from Manhattan to Astoria, Queens. The couple tells us that in this time, they began taking long evening walks around their new neighborhood.  “During those walks, we noticed several feral cats roaming the streets near our apartment building, and we began to see just how many cats were in need of adoption,” Julia said. 

While neither James nor Julia had ever had a pet as an adult, their experience with feral cats in Astoria convinced them that they should adopt a shelter cat. “We visited several animal shelters across New York City, but the ASPCA really stood out. We were so impressed with the level of care and effort the ASPCA staff put into helping each cat find a home,” James said.

The couple wanted to adopt a cat who may have had a tougher time finding the right pet parent. During their third trip to ASPCA, James and Julia noticed a glass enclosure that was covered by a bit of cardboard and were instantly intrigued by the cat on the other side: Chroma.

“We were told that she’d had some problems with the other cats, and we were warned that she could be unpredictable,” Julia recalled. “When the ASPCA staff removed the cover and opened the enclosure, a small, beautiful gray cat with a shaved tummy (from her spay surgery) and a shaved arm (from her IV), gracefully approached me, gave me a head butt and then asked for a belly rub.” It was love at first sight.

 After they officially adopted Chroma, James and Julia took their new furry family member home and renamed her Asina. They felt that Asina, the name of a Nordic Goddess, was perfectly suited to her because of her dense grey coat and aloof, yet cuddly personality.  After a few days of hiding and a slow integration into her new home, Asina became a regular, beloved member of the family.

In 2016, James and Julia relocated to Phoenix, Arizona. To their surprise, the once-anxious Asina handled the five hour flight remarkably well, and instantly adapted to her new, spacious surroundings. Julia tells us that Asina’s new favorite pastimes include watching the birds from the windows, sleeping on any piece of clothing she can find and wildly chasing her crinkle ball across the living room.

In the end, the “unpredictable and shy” cat has proven to be extremely affectionate and playful—highlighting the fact that you should never judge a cat by her (cardboard) cover.  

THANK YOU! Your support through GlobalGiving has raised over 38 thousand dollars to help shelter pets like Thelma. Our lifesaving work would be impossible without the generosity of friends like you!

 

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Feb 23, 2017

Jamie Is Finally Given Her Chance to Shine

In April 2016, the NYPD brought two scared, emaciated pit bulls into the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH) after executing a search warrant on a house in Brooklyn, New York. Officers had found the dogs, Jamie and Zaza, in deplorable conditions. Not only were they malnourished, but Jamie’s coat and paws were also covered in urine and her nails had grown so long that they were curving into her feet. The four-year-old dog was also lactating from a litter she’d previous whelped. It was clear that these two sweet pit bulls desperately needed help, and the team at AAH didn’t waste a moment.

Over the next six months, Jamie spent time at AAH and in a foster home as everyone worked round-the-clock to get her weight back up and treat any deficiencies and ailments she may have been suffering from. In October, Jamie was finally happy and healthy enough to move on to the ASPCA Adoption Center and begin her journey toward a new life and a permanent, loving home. 

That same month, Jamie was given a very special treat: A day out with the NYPD, where she was able to spend some time away from the Adoption Center and enjoy plenty of affection and pup-cakes from doting officers. Jamie’s big day out was a wonderful reminder of how far she had come, and that her future on the horizon was brighter than ever. 

It wasn’t long after Jamie’s day on patrol that Einat L. and her husband first came into the Adoption Center. The couple had recently celebrated Einat’s birthday at the end of November, and Einat (an avid dog-lover and longtime ASPCA supporter) wanted this year to be the year that they welcomed a dog into their family. After some discussion, Einat’s husband told her that this year’s birthday gift would in fact be the dog she’d been longing for.

The couple came into the Adoption Center without many preconceived notions about what type of dog they wanted, but there was one thing they knew for certain. “We came to the ASPCA knowing that we want to save a dog,” Einat says. “We didn't care which dog, what size, or any of that. When we first got there we asked for the dog that had been waiting in the shelter the longest, is constantly over looked, and has the slimmest chances of finding a new home.”

That’s when the Adoptions team took the couple to meet Jamie. Einat tells us that the rest is history. The couple made the adoption official at the beginning of December and took Jamie to a place she’d waited her entire life to see: home.

With her new life, Jamie was given a new name—Lucinda. According to Einat, Lucinda’s transition from shelter dog to living at home was easy. “From the first minute, she felt right at home,” she says. “She's doing so great!” Einat and her husband have worked hard to train Lucinda, and she tells us that she’s making incredible progress and is a very fast learner. 

Lucinda’s journey from a suffering, neglected dog to a beloved pet is truly remarkable. She met her perfect pet parents in Einat and her husband, and now she can rest easy knowing that she is unconditionally loved.

THANK YOU! Your support through GlobalGiving has raised over 37 thousand dollars to help shelter pets like Thelma. Our lifesaving work would be impossible without the generosity of friends like you!

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