Come to Their Rescue

by ASPCA
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Come to Their Rescue
Come to Their Rescue
Come to Their Rescue
Come to Their Rescue
Come to Their Rescue
Come to Their Rescue
Come to Their Rescue

Nicole P. grew up in a family who had pit bulls and has always been familiar with the breed.

“I’m very passionate and know there is a big misconception out there about pit bulls,” says Nicole, an Iowa native and teacher at Waterloo East High School.

Soon after buying her own house a few years ago, Nicole finally had the opportunity to adopt a dog of her own. She visited her local animal shelter where she once was a volunteer in high school—Cedar Bend Humane Society in Waterloo, Iowa—and immediately felt a connection to a two-year-old pit bull named Scooby-Doo.

“It was after college, and I was living on my own,” explains Nicole. “I had always wanted my own dog.”  In a twist of fate, Scooby’s name also grabbed her attention. “We always had dogs named Scooby or Scrappy-Doo,” she adds. “I guess it was meant to be.”

Nicole adopted Scooby just days after Christmas in 2015. He had been at the humane society since October, and Nicole learned he had been born to a dog who was rescued by the ASPCA in the second-largest dogfighting case in U.S. history. Following their rescue, the dogs were cared for in a temporary shelter before eventually being transported to shelters across the country for adoption. 

Scooby ended up at the Cedar Bend Humane Society, which has taken in dozens of dogs from dogfighting rescues, many of them who are now living in loving homes like Scooby’s. As part of National Dogfighting Awareness Day, the ASPCA recently recognized Cedar Bend with our annual Champion for Animals award, honoring animal welfare and law enforcement agencies, like Cedar Bend Humane Society, for exceptional work tackling dogfighting and giving these dogs a second chance in life.

“Just imagining what kind of a life Scooby might have had,” Nicole says with a sigh. “I think about it all the time.” 

Once at home together, Nicole noticed that Scooby didn’t like doorways, stairs or slippery floors. “I could tell he had grown up in a shelter,” she says. “He’s a little timid and shy, but he really is the sweetest, kindest dog. He’s sometimes afraid of his own shadow.”

The 65-lb. Scooby shares Nicole’s house with her three rescued cats: Toby, Mufasa and Orion. He also loves other dogs and is “obsessed” with babies, as well as Nicole’s two god-children, who are 11 and 12 years old. 

Nicole herself admits she was in a “lonely place” before adopting Scooby, and calls him her “lifesaver.” 

“Adopting Scooby was a big thing for me,” she explains. “I’m much more fulfilled having him. He’s such a great dog. Our bond really runs deep.”

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Rosie and Casper

Near the end of July 2017, Rosario and Cabbage came into the ASPCA after being found as strays. Though the two cats were found separately and came in a week apart from each other, their paths would soon cross in a serendipitous turn. At the time, then two-month-old Cabbage was a shy, under-socialized kitten who most likely had never received enough attention from humans. Though veterinarians determined that Cabbage was healthy, the staff at the ASPCA Adoption Center knew that this little kitten would need a patient adopter to help him come out of his shell. While Rosario shared Cabbage’s shy and somewhat skittish demeanor, the pretty one-year-old cat required more urgent medical care upon intake. 

When Rosario came to the ASPCA, veterinarians at the ASPCA Animal Hospital noted that her left eye was severely damaged. They then had to make the difficult decision to remove the afflicted eye to prevent further pain and discomfort. 

Rosario

Around the time Rosario was getting her surgery and recovering, Cabbage was getting some attention at the Adoption Center. Rolphy J. had decided to come to the ASPCA in the hopes of finding a feline sibling for his senior Pomeranian. “I wanted to get a companion for him,” says Rolphy. “Another reason I decided to adopt is that I absolutely love cat personalities—I love how curious and independent they are.”

On his visit to the Adoption Center, Rolphy spotted Cabbage. He tells us that he knew he wanted to adopt the kitten because he felt that Cabbage would have a tougher time finding a home due to the fact that he was shy and fearful of humans. So, in late August, Cabbage became Casper and officially began his life with Rolphy.

Casper

But the story doesn’t end there! After Rolphy took Casper home, the adjustment went well, but Rolphy still felt like something was missing. “Casper wasn’t getting much attention from my senior dog, and I felt like there was room for one more sibling,” he tells us. So Rolphy went back to the ASPCA and met Rosario in November 2017—and the rest, they say, is history.

Rosario on a table

After Rolphy made the adoption official, he shortened Rosario’s name to Rosie, and she became the third furry friend in their family. Rolphy tells us that the adjustment for each cat was similar. They required time and patience to acclimate to their new surroundings but are becoming more comfortable and trusting every day. He says that Casper is “the sweetest boy ever,” and that Rosie is now comfortable lounging around the apartment, observing her siblings. “When she’s convinced that she’s completely safe here, I foresee her being the sweetest one of all,” Rolphy adds. 

Now, life for Rolphy and his three pets is full of love and laughter. “I get greeted at the door whenever I come home and get morning attention from everyone,” he says. “I love them all immensely.” 

Rosie and Casper under a table

When asked how he knew that both cats were right for him, Rolphy said, “When I saw each of them I saw the fear in their eyes. Neither had much human contact, and they were both going to take a long time to get used to humans. I knew I was the right person to give them the love they’ve never received and would let them adjust at their own pace.” 

He adds that is he happy to have been able to give two cats a second chance to have a loving home, and encourages others to do the same. “For anyone considering adopting a shelter pet, I have to say that these animals may take some time to warm up to you and adjust to their new life. However, they are the most grateful and loving beings you can imagine,” Rolphy says. “They know you gave them a second chance, they know you’re their parents, and they’re forever grateful.”

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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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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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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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