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Jun 3, 2016

A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma's Happy Tail

Last August, the ASPCA and the NYPD rescued Thelma from unspeakable cruelty in Brooklyn, New York. At nine years old, the Soft-Coated Wheaten terrier was underweight, undernourished and in fragile mental condition. Not only was she incredibly fearful around people, but she was also suffering from mammary tumors and dental pain resulting from neglect. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Thelma underwent an operation to remove the masses—which were fortunately benign—and had to have 12 teeth extracted. She remained in the hospital for nearly two months.

By late September, Thelma had recovered enough to be transferred to the ASPCA Adoption Center to begin her search for a home. We worried that given her age and anxiety, the shy senior dog would have a difficult time finding an adopter. The poor girl had already suffered so much, and we wanted nothing more than for her to wind up in a happy, loving home. Thankfully, we soon met Rachel and Sam.

Rachel and Sam are both avid dog-lovers who grew up with pets. After moving in together last year, the couple quickly decided that it was time for a dog of their own. “We knew how greatly our quality of life would be improved with a canine addition,” Rachel says. She began searching on the Internet, and that’s when she came across Thelma’s photo and bio in the “Adopt a Pet” section of the ASPCA website. “I instantly thought she would be a good fit.”

At the Adoption Center, Rachel says that they were immediately smitten with Thelma. “She was very mellow and sweet,” she recalls. “We knew that she had come from a tough situation, and loved the idea of providing her with a comfortable environment to grow old in.” The couple was also moved by Thelma’s “expressive face” and felt that there was something special about her. “Once we met her, we couldn’t imagine not having her,” Rachel says.  

So it was official: On September 24, after a lifetime of waiting, Thelma was finally going home.

Rachel admits that it took a bit of time for Thelma to adjust to her new life. Given her history, this came as no surprise, but the situation was exacerbated by the fact that Thelma was still on medication from her dental work. “It was a lot of change at once,” Rachel remembers. “We could tell she just wasn’t feeling very good. But as she learned that she was now in a place where she would be fed every day, cared for consistently and loved unconditionally, she showed facets of her personality we had no idea even existed.” As it turns out, there was a playful, goofy dog just beneath Thelma’s shy exterior!

As time went on, Thelma continued to grow by leaps and bounds. Rachel says that she even goes on short runs with Sam, and that when they come home from work, “she literally busts down the door and runs laps back and forth down our building’s hallway.” Now when approached, Thelma wags her fluffy tail, and its rhythmic sound has earned her the nickname “Thumper.”

It’s amazing what a difference a loving family can make, and we hope that Thelma’s story inspires others to open up their heart and home to an older pet. Rachel says, “We know that since Thelma is an older girl, we will not have as much time with her as we would if we had adopted a puppy or young adult. However, she is the perfect fit for us, and it is our hope that we provide her with so many good memories that eventually they are all she remembers.” We’re pretty positive that for this once-neglected dog, Rachel and Sam’s love is the highlight of a lifetime.

THANK YOU! Your support through GlobalGiving has raised over 28 thousand dollars to help shelter pets like Thelma. Our lifesaving work would be impossible without the generosity of friends like you!


Feb 29, 2016

Hunter's Story: Providing Loving Care for Senior Dogs

Hi! My name is Hunter.
Hi! My name is Hunter.

Hunter was originally seized by the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department in 2005. He was soon adopted and spent many years in a loving home, but when his human (a senior himself) became ill, he found himself back at the ASPCA’s Adoption Center in January 2016, at the ripe age of 12 years.

Hunter has severe arthritis and requires joint supplements and non steroidal anti-inflammatories for the rest of his life. Typical of an older dog, the lenses of Hunter’s eyes have started to become gray-- He can see, but may have a mild trouble visually focusing, particularly at night. Sweet Hunter also had a recent episode of geriatric vestibular syndrome (vertigo), which caused him to be very dizzy. He would sometimes fall or be unable to get up. Thankfully he recovered from this, but it is likely to recur at unpredictable intervals. He still has a little left head tilt and may stumble or fall if he tries to move quickly, but it does not cause him discomfort. With every recurrence, it may take longer for him to recover, and he may eventually never recover. Our greatest wish for Hunter is to be in a loving home for whatever quality time he has left, which could be for weeks or months.

Because it typically takes a long time for senior dogs with special medical needs to find homes, the ASPCA selected Hunter as a candidate for the “fospice” care program in the home of one of our dedicated volunteers.

“Fospice” homes are part foster, part hospice. Fospice volunteers open their homes and hearts to animals who may not be medically healthy enough for adoption, but still need special care and attention in a warm and loving home. The ASPCA covers all medical expenses for foster caregivers (including medication), as well as food, equipment and supplies. Foster caregivers only need to provide their home, attention, and love. To learn more about fostering with the ASPCA, visit

Your donation to Marnie’s Old Pals helps support the special needs and medical care for senior dogs just like Hunter. On behalf of Marnie, the ASPCA and all of the animals in its care, THANK YOU for your generous support!

Hunter Smiles
Hunter Smiles
Such a handsome older gentleman!!
Such a handsome older gentleman!!
Feb 5, 2016

The 850-Mile Journey Home: Kody's Happy Tail

When Dean read a recent ASPCA News Alert about a puppy mill raid in Clewiston, Florida, something about the accompanying photo of a frightened dog being carried to safety by ASPCA responder Sharon Wirant tugged at his heartstrings.

“His face really grabbed me—and how he was being held,” Dean remembers. “I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to find out where that dog is; that dog’s coming home with me.’ It was just something I had to do.”

Dean contacted the ASPCA via phone and email, eventually learning the identity of the dog. He is Kody, a seven-year-old Pomeranian.

Kody was one of more than 100 dogs rescued by the ASPCA, in conjunction with the Hendry County Sheriff's Office, during last November's raid. The dogs—spanning large and small breeds from Siberian huskies to Chihuahuas—were found living in crowded, filthy conditions, and were being bred to sell to pet stores in the Miami-Dade area. Some suffered from various medical conditions; Kody had dental disease, intestinal parasites and an ear infection.

“We’ve adopted rescued animals since the late 1980s,” says Dean, who lives in Smithville, Tennessee, with his wife, Heather. “Over the past three years we even adopted senior dogs from as far away as Utah and Virginia. Some were older and didn’t live much longer after we adopted them, so my wife said she just didn’t want to do it again because it hurts too much to lose them.”

But Dean wouldn’t take no for an answer. He printed Kody’s photo and put it next to their coffee pot, with a sign that read, “Can I come live at your house?”

Heather finally said yes.

Thanks to efforts of the ASPCA’s Legal Advocacy team, which worked closely with counsel for local law enforcement, custody of the rescued dogs was resolved early in the case so they could be transferred to rescue partners for adoption. Less than a week later, Dean and Heather tracked down Kody at the Humane Society of Broward County in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

The next step was planning the 850-mile drive to adopt him.

After a thirteen hour journey, Dean and his family arrived home on December 23 with Kody in tow. They carefully introduced him to their 11-year-old Sheltie named Kinsey, with both dogs on a leash. “They smelled each other and have since become fast friends,” says Dean, who notes that Kody “broke out of his shell pretty quick.”

Dean adds that Kody is good with kids, including the couple’s three grandchildren who range in age from 9 to 16.  Over Christmas, he got used to a full house and “figured out how to beg.” But like most dogs from puppy mills, he was indifferent toward toys and is still not quite housebroken.

At night, Kody slumbers in a laundry basket filled with blankets.

“We didn’t want to crate him, or put him in anything that looked like a cage,” Dean explains, referring to Kody’s traumatic past. “Sometimes, he even sleeps with us.”

“Kody and the other dogs rescued with him had never been pets and now, for the first time, they are finding out what a safe and loving home feels like,” says Jessica Rushin, Senior Partnerships Manager for the ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team.  “Kody got the second chance of a lifetime.” 

Kody can be full of energy, according to Dean, and loves his new-found joy of running. “It’s the most exercise he’s had in his life.” 

THANK YOU! Your support through GlobalGiving has raised over 27 thousand dollars to help shelter pets like Kody. Our lifesaving work would be impossible without the generosity of friends like you!

Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Broward County
Photo courtesy of Humane Society of Broward County


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