BREAKING: ASPCA Assists in Removal of 41 Dogs from “Happy Endings Animal Rescue” Near Nashville

ASPCA assists in removal of dogs from HEAR

On the heels of a hoarding rescue last Friday, the ASPCA is on the ground again this week in Madison, Tennessee, assisting in the removal and sheltering of 41 dogs from tragic conditions.

Our responders moved in Tuesday at the request of Metro Animal Care and Control, who received numerous complaints about conditions at Happy Endings Animal Rescue, a self-described “no-kill” dog rescue eight miles north of Nashville. The Nashville Police Department executed a warrant for the removal of the dogs, and the owner was arrested on charges of animal cruelty.

Dogs at HEAR kept in a dirty room

The animals—including Chow, pit bull, Shepherd mixes and more—were found living in filth inside an overcrowded house and outdoor kennels. One room alone held 22 dogs, with inches of feces covering the floor. Many of the dogs are suffering from medical issues including emaciation, dental disease and severe hair loss. Some were not spayed or neutered and had no access to food or water.

“What we found here is horrific,” said Kathryn Destreza, Investigations Director for the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response team. “This facility claimed to be a safe place for animals, but the truth is these dogs were suffering greatly, both physically and emotionally.”

ASPCA responder examining dog at HEAR

The ASPCA has transported the dogs to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they are receiving much-needed medical care, emotional support and loving kindness. It is likely that many of these innocent animals have never experienced the quality of life they deserve, and your support is urgently needed as we care for these and so many other victims of animal cruelty.

This is a critical situation, and it is your help that makes all of the ASPCA’s work possible. Please make a life-saving donation to the ASPCA today.

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ASPCA Happy Tails: Crème de la Crème

For a shy cat, it can be difficult to get noticed by potential adopters. Outshined by more gregarious felines, introverted cats can take longer to make a good first impression or to tug at the heartstrings, but that doesn’t mean that they have any less love to give. In the case of one quiet cat named Crème, all it took was the right family—both human and animal—to get him to come out of his shell. Here is his story.

Happy Tails: Creme

Crème arrived at the ASPCA in May at the age of 10 months.  The striking Snowshoe had come from a home with too many animals and was quite withdrawn around new people and things. Luckily, his sweetness was apparent to one of our volunteer coordinators, Barbara, who immediately thought of a seasoned volunteer at the ASPCA Adoption Center named Eva. Eva had a knack for helping shy animals come out of their shell.

Happy Tails: Creme

One evening, after completing an ASPCA therapy-dog training class with her pup, Benji, Eva was approached by Barbara. Barbara told her, “There’s a cat who just came in that reminds me so much of Nathan.” Nathan is one of Eva’s adopted cats from the ASPCA, and he had been an extremely fearful kitty when Eva first met him. She recalls him hiding in a corner at the Adoption Center, and then in her bathroom for several days after she brought him home.

Happy Tails: Creme

It was clear to Eva that Barbara loved Crème, and although adopting another cat had not been in her plans, she soon fell in love with him, too. Less than a week later, she found herself bringing the little guy home.

Happy Tails: Creme

Although Eva had intended to keep Crème separated from her resident animals until he grew accustomed to his new environment, it turns out that the shy cat had an inquisitive personality and an insatiable desire to meet his new feline and canine siblings. Crème quickly became fast friends with Eva’s resident pets: Benji the dog and cats Nathan and Scotty.

Happy Tails: Creme

Eva tells us that Crème quickly figured out all of the nooks and crannies in her apartment. She has a custom-made cat tree in her home that is a constant source of enrichment, playtime and lounging space for her three cats. Playful, year-old Crème has sparked a newfound youthfulness in 16-year-old Nathan and 10 ½-year-old Scotty. Crème kisses all of Eva’s pets regularly, affectionately thanking his new siblings for graciously welcoming this once-shy cat into his new, loving home. 

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With ASPCA Vehicle Donations, Your Used Car Can Help Save a Life

Vehicle Donations

As a non-profit organization, the ASPCA depends entirely on donations from kind-hearted people like you. However, we understand that traditional gift-giving may not fit in to everyone’s lifestyle or budget, which is why we want to tell you about another exciting way you can make a difference for animals: vehicle donations.

That’s right! You can turn your old car, boat, truck or other vehicle into a charitable contribution for animals. It’s so easy, and all types of vehicles—in any condition or location—are accepted, whether they’re running or not. We spoke with one vehicle donor, Vickie, who was thrilled with the process.

“I am an ASPCA supporter already, and I wanted to donate this vehicle to the ASPCA for all their work to help animals,” Vickie tells us. “The donation process was straightforward: I filled out the online donation form, sent in my signed title and they made arrangements to pick up my car.” Vickie’s vehicle was quickly sold and the profits were turned into resources to support our lifesaving programs for animals in need.

The best part? Not only did Vickie make a major impact on the lives of abused, abandoned and neglected animals—she also received a tax deduction. The ASPCA can solve almost any title issues, and with more than 3,500 tow companies on our side, we can pick up vehicles anywhere in the country.

“I am always touched by the stories of dogs being rescued from puppy mills and from dog fighting situations,” says Vickie. “I hope my donation will be helpful.”

To Vickie and the thousands of others who have donated their vehicle to the ASPCA, we and the animals we serve say thank you!

If you’re ready to donate your vehicle to the ASPCA, visit us online or call (877) 999-8322 to get started today!

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BREAKING: ASPCA Assists with Removal of 26 Cats in Ohio Hoarding Case

ASPCA volunteer rescuing cat

At the request of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, the ASPCA is assisting with the removal and sheltering of 26 cats and one dog from an overcrowded mobile home in Marshallville, Ohio, which is approximately 45 miles south of Cleveland. The animals were discovered living among feces, urine and trash in a poorly ventilated environment.

ASPCA responder removing cats from the house

A search warrant was executed Friday morning for the removal of the animals, who were subsequently surrendered by the owner. The seizure is the result of a public complaint concerning living conditions in the home. The cats—mostly adult, domestic shorthairs—were suffering from medical conditions including dehydration and dental disease. Some appear to be undersocialized and fearful of humans, as is common with animals from hoarding situations. One deceased cat was also found on the property.

“It was clear that an intervention was needed to help both the animals and the owner,” said Jessica Rushin, Senior Partnerships Manager of ASPCA Field Investigations and Response. “Our immediate goal is to transport these animals to a safe place where they’ll receive much-needed medical attention, while the owner gets the help she needs.”

ASPCA responder organizing carriers

The cats are being transported to a temporary shelter in an undisclosed location, where they will receive care and medical attention. Although these animals have a long road ahead of them, your support can ensure that they—and other animal victims—will never again suffer the heartbreak of mistreatment, neglect or abuse. Please help us continue our vital rescue work around the country by making a donation to the ASPCA today.

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Three Ways to Get Involved During No Pet Store Puppies Day

No Pet Store Puppies Day

Join us Thursday, July 21, as we take a stand against puppy mills and observe No Pet Store Puppies Day.

Every year, tens of thousands of dogs suffer in puppy mills where they are forced to live in overcrowded, unsanitary conditions. Many suffer from behavioral and hereditary problems as a result of irresponsible breeding practices. Please take the following three actions to help fight puppy mills!

  1. Watch and Share Our Video
    We know buying a puppy from a pet store or online might make you happy, but your purchase would most likely support the cruel puppy mill industry. Watch and share our short video to learn more about puppy mills and spread the word about making adoption your first option!
  2. Join Our No Pet Store Puppies Day Twitter Chat
    Have questions about puppy mills? Speak with our experts on July 21 at 1:00 P.M. ET during our No Pet Store Puppies Day Twitter chat (hashtag #NPSP). We’ll answer all your questions about puppy mills, plus we’ll be asking our fans trivia questions about this important issue for the chance to win a puppy mill message tee.
  3. Sign the Pledge
    Puppy mills put profit ahead of the welfare of the dogs who live in them, many of whom never get to leave. By shopping at pet stores or websites that sell puppies—even when you’re not actually buying a puppy—you could indirectly support the cruel puppy mill industry. Sign and share our pledge that when you shop for pet supplies, including food and toys, you’ll give your business to stores that do not sell puppies.

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ASPCA Happy Tails: Omar’s Long Journey Home

Looking at Omar today, one would never guess that the goofy, grinning dog has been through so much. But the truth is that after being adopted and returned several times, this Shar-Pei/pit bull mix has experienced many ups-and-downs in his seven-and-a-half years. Thankfully, after a long and winding journey, Omar has finally found a loving home that will last a lifetime. Here is his Happy Tail.

Happy Tail: Omar

We first met Omar all the way back in 2008, when he was just four weeks old. He was part of an unplanned litter, and he and six other puppies were surrendered to the ASPCA. We knew that the precious pups would have no trouble finding a home, and they even made an appearance in one of our earliest YouTube videos:

Omar was soon adopted, but sadly, that wasn’t the last we would see of the big brindle dog. In June 2015, Omar’s adopter returned him after more than seven years together. Her son had developed asthma and was allergic to Omar. It broke our hearts to see him returned after all those years in a home, but we were happy to see him adopted again just a month later. Unfortunately, that, too, did not last—three weeks later, he was returned due to landlord issues.

By this point, it was September 2015 and Omar was 57-lbs., seven years old and suffering from a bad knee. We performed a ligament operation on Omar at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, then we hoped upon hope that the sweet dog would find a loving, stable home. Thankfully, it wasn’t much longer before Omar met Christine.

Omar with Christine
Omar enjoying life with his new family.

Christine initially took Omar in as a foster dog because she wanted to help him in his time of need, but it wasn’t long until the foster became “forever.” “Omar stole our hearts,” says Christine. “We decided to adopt him because he was so awesome!” In the eight months since, he has confirmed what we all knew all along: that he is an ideal pet.

“Omar is the perfect balance of playful, calm and loving,” Christine tell us. “We are so happy with our decision to give him a forever home.” Christine also reports that Omar is very attached to his new home and loves his new life. “The idea of Omar not having a loving family was not an option,” she says, and we couldn’t agree more. 

Omar outside

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ASPCA Relocation Team Breaks Records; Transports 1,000th Cat

Kitten Relocation

For a special cat named Michael, the ASPCA’s Relocation Team made a life-changing difference. The friendly feline was living at an animal shelter in Los Angeles, one of the many cities across the country that struggle with high intake rates. Our Relocation Team moves animals from these areas—where likelihood of adoption is lower—to locations where they have a better chance at finding a home. Michael was one such animal, and last month, he became the 1,000th cat to catch a ride with the ASPCA’s “Relo” team this year.

Michael was transported out of Los Angeles to a destination shelter in Washington State.  Just three days later, he found a home.  “I knew he’d get adopted quickly—he’s quite a talker!” recalls Relocation Team member Isha Willits. And Michael isn’t the only one: In fact, he is one of 7,061 animals that the ASPCA has transported this year alone.

Kitten Relocation
Michael prepares for his ride.

Our West Coast team has moved 3,892 animals to-date in 2016, and on the East Coast, our Nancy Silverman Rescue Rides team has relocated 3,169. Combined, the team is at 64% of their goal for the year. While dogs remain the primary beneficiaries of this program, cats like Michael are proving that felines can make excellent candidates for transport as well.

And although they are already pacing to have their best year yet, our hardworking Relocation Team has no plans of slowing down. “Our team is proud to have been able to help save so many lives so far this year,” said Kristen Limbert, Senior Director of Animal Relocation for the ASPCA.  “In 2015, we were able to save nearly 7,800 animals between our LA program and the Nancy Silverman Rescue Ride.  This year, we’re aiming for 11,000 lives saved, and we won’t stop until we meet, or, more likely, exceed that number.”

Let us be the first to wish Michael—and all of the other relocated animals—bon voyage and happy trails!             

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Make Horse Adoption Your First Adoption: A Q&A With Beth Behrs

Beth Behrs Q/A

The 2016 ASPCA Help a Horse Day was the most successful celebration yet, with 187 equine rescues and sanctuaries hosting community events around the country. More than 33,000 community members came out to join in the fun at celebrations that included movie screenings, book signings, spring festivals and even a mini horse wedding!

Adding to the excitement surrounding this year’s contest was 2 Broke Girls actress and horse advocate Beth Behrs, who teamed up with the ASPCA to help spread the word about everyday heroes who work tirelessly to care for and rehabilitate horses like her own adopted horse, Belle. In fact, Beth is helping us spread the word about horse adoption through the launch of Adopt a Horse

ASPCA Why did you decide to rescue Belle?

Beth Behrs: I had heard through my dear friends at the ASPCA that there were so many wonderful horses who needed homes. I wanted to be able to do my part to give a deserving horse a loving, forever home.

ASPCA: What are some of the things you find most special about being a horse parent and horse adopter?

Beth Behrs: The bond between us is magical—she is the love of my life. From the moment I walked into the pasture to meet her, she came running to me and snuggled into my chest. She still does that every time I approach her to ride or play. I have noticed that I am happier, more calm and relaxed, and better focused at work. Honestly, rescuing her has made me a better actress. There is a certain truth, depth, honesty and vulnerability that is expressed when you are around horses often, and I’ve learned through Belle to apply that to my work.

ASPCA: Why would you recommend horse adoption to others?

Beth Behrs: There are so many wonderful horses with amazing temperaments, smarts, personality and charm who need loving homes. And there are so many wonderful rescue organizations that do incredible work to train the horses to prepare them for these loving homes. It is the best decision I ever made and I cannot imagine my life without Belle in it.

If you’re ready to join Beth Behrs and the ASPCA in making a difference for America’s horses, visit ASPCA.org/AdoptAHorse to sign our pledge and share it with everyone you know.

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BREAKING: ASPCA Responders Help Animals Displaced by Devastating Fire in New Mexico

Volunteers with rescued dog

At the request of the New Mexico Department of Agriculture and the New Mexico Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, ASPCA responders arrived in Albuquerque on Monday to help shelter and care for nearly 500 animals displaced by the devastating “Dog Head Fire” in New Mexico’s Manzano Mountains.

Hundreds of evacuated animals are being cared for at three locations in Bernalillo and Torrance Counties: Los Vecinos Community Center; Bernalillo County Animal Shelter; and Torrance County Estancia Emergency Animal Shelter. ASPCA responders have been dispatched to all three locations to support local agencies with shelter operations and daily care.

The fire, which began June 14, has ravaged nearly 18,000 acres, destroying dozens of homes and forcing thousands to evacuate. As of Tuesday, local authorities began to lift some evacuation orders, allowing residents and their pets to return to their homes in certain areas.

“As evacuation orders ease, we’re seeing more and more people come in to pick up their pets and return home,” said Dr. Dick Green, Senior Director of ASPCA Disaster Response. “Our hope is that this continues as the fire dies down and that all these animals can be reunited with their owners soon. This fire has been nightmarish for the families in its path—we’re glad we could provide some relief for evacuees by caring for their animals during this traumatic time.”

The ASPCA frequently responds to wildfires, hurricanes and other natural disasters around the country, but none of our life-saving work would be possible without your support. Please consider making a donation today so we can continue to be there for animals in need at a moment’s notice.

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ASPCA Happy Tails: A “Little” Light

Have you ever heard someone describe a major change as “the difference between night and day”? For most people, it’s just an expression, but for a two-year-old pit bull named Little, it was reality. You see, last summer, Little and another dog, Big, were found chained up in a dark basement with no access to food or water. It was a heartbreaking situation, but thankfully, the dogs were rescued by the NYPD just in time. Now, nearly one year later, Little’s life has gone from pitch-black to bright, sweet and full of love. We are thrilled to share her Happy Tail with you today.

ASPCA Happy Tail: Little

When Little was discovered in a basement in Queens, New York, she was so emaciated that her bones were sticking out. Her coat was covered in urine and feces and she couldn’t walk. What’s worse, the basement had been so dark—and Little’s life so isolated—that the sweet dog was terrified of many sights, sounds and movements. Over the next several months, staff at the ASPCA Animal Hospital helped nurse Little back to health, and by December, her weight was up to 47 lbs. and her coat was shiny and healthy. ASPCA Foster and Placement Coordinator Dara Ruiz said that despite all she had been through, Little’s preferred pastime was, “cuddling with her favorite humans.” We knew that she was ready for a stable, loving home, and fortunately, it wasn’t long before Julia K. walked through our doors.

Little with a chew toy

Julia grew up with dogs and has a particular soft spot for pit bulls. She lives in New Jersey, but her families are in Seattle and in Asia, so she was looking for a companion—“the right dog to share my life with,” she said. She met Little on her first ever visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center, and she knew instantly that they were meant to be. On December 13, Julia adopted Little and changed her name to Weela.

Little crouching in front of toy

Over the next few months, Weela’s life changed in ways we are sure that she never could have imagined: gone was the fear, gone was the darkness and gone was the sorrow. “Weela has adjusted to my home very excellently,” Julia beams. “We run together every day and play hide and seek. She doesn’t bark, she doesn’t chew anything—I can see how happy and comfortable she feels with me because she wants to be with me every single minute.” Julia works from home, so she and Weela spend most of their time together. Weela also loves to play games like “Catch Me If You Can” in the living room. Julia whistles and Weela comes bounding in with her ears straight up. “She makes me feel like a kid,” she says. “I love her dearly and I can’t think of living without her.”

side view of Little with a toy in her mouth

It is a very happy ending to a tragic story, and we can only imagine the joy Weela must feel in her new life. Big also went on to find a loving home, and the abuser in the case was charged with overdriving, injuring and torturing animals.

Julia tells us that her primary goal with Weela is “to love her as much as I can,” adding, “I feel like Weela is returning my favor.” After years in the darkness, we are so happy that this special dog is finally getting the chance to live a sunny life. Congratulations, Weela!

Weela looking at the camera

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“Adopt a Shelter Cat Month” Tips for Adopters

ASCM: Adoption Tips

June is Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, and we are so excited for all the cats and kittens who have found new homes. But as the month winds to a close, the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) wants to remind all adopters—both first-timers and old pros—that it’s important to check your home for hazards and toxins before welcoming a new furry friend.

Just recently, the APCC fielded a call from an adopter who brought home two adult cats, Charlie and Walt, from a local animal shelter. Like many cats, these feline brothers have a knack for exploration, and after an afternoon out of the house, the adopter came home to find that her peace lily (Spathiphyllum sp.) had been chewed and ingested.

At the recommendation of a local veterinarian, Charlie and Walt’s adopter called the APCC, who informed her that peace lilies contain insoluble calcium oxalate crystals, which can cause irritation to the mouth and stomach when ingested. Fortunately, we were able to ensure that—other than some drooling and stomach upset—both boys would be just fine.

Charlie and Walt’s story ended well, but not all animals are so lucky. If you’re considering bringing home a new pet, remember that even adult animals can be very curious about their new surroundings and get into many things. Here are some tips to help avoid a problem:

  • Before bringing an animal into your home, get down on the floor at their height and see what they might get into.
  • Some cats like to eat plants, a number of which can be toxic. Consult the ASPCA’s list of toxic and non-toxic plants and consider moving your greenery out of reach.
  • Remember that interesting smells can be tempting as well. Use a garbage can with a lid, and make sure that you remove any poisonous or potentially hazardous materials from your home.
  • Consider placing barriers around any area that you don’t want your new pet to get into until they get the hang of the rules in their new house.
  • Consult our full list of Adoption Tips to ensure that your home is prepared for your new pet.

Whether it’s Adopt a Shelter Cat Month or any other month of the year, we hope you will consider welcoming a shelter pet into your life. Visit our Adoption page to find an adoptable companion near you!

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Pet Safety Tips for a Happy, Healthy Fourth of July

Puppy with an American flag

The Fourth of July is a great holiday for friends, food and fun in the sun. But while it might be tempting to include your pet in your Independence Day festivities, it’s important to remember that certain items, events and activities can be hazardous for animals. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center (APCC) offers the following tips:

Food Safety

  • Never leave alcoholic drinks unattended where pets can reach them. Alcoholic beverages have the potential to poison pets. If ingested, the animal could become very intoxicated and weak, severely depressed or could go into a coma. Death from respiratory failure is also a possibility in severe cases.
  • Keep your pets on their normal diet. Any change, even for one meal, can give your pet severe indigestion and diarrhea. Foods such as onions, chocolate, coffee, avocado, grapes, raisins, salt and yeast dough can all be potentially toxic to companion animals. Please visit our People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Pets page for more information.
  • Do not apply any sunscreen or insect repellent product to your pet that is not labeled specifically for use on animals. Ingestion of sunscreen products can result in drooling, vomiting, diarrhea, excessive thirst and lethargy. The misuse of insect repellent that contains DEET can lead to neurological problems.
  • Keep matches, lighter fluid, citronella candles, insect coils and tiki torch oil products out of reach. Ingestion can produce stomach irritation and possibly even central nervous system depression. If inhaled, the oils could cause aspiration pneumonia in pets.

Water Safety

  • Don’t let pets drink pool or ocean water. Drinking a large amount of sea water can lead to elevated sodium levels for dogs, which can cause nausea, vomiting, lethargy, tremors and potentially seizures. Pool water, on the other hand, can lead to low sodium levels. Signs of ingestion often start with nausea, vomiting and lethargy, and can progress to depression, unsteadiness, and even coma and seizures. Have your pet take breaks from playtime and drink lots of fresh water throughout the day. If a pet is exhibiting any neurological signs, get into a veterinary clinic immediately.
  • Keep your pet away from ocean critters. Star fish, sea urchins, jelly fish and squid are just a few of the creatures that can pose risk for our pets. If your pet is in or near the ocean, keep a close eye on him or her, and make sure they stay in more shallow water.
  • Avoid Algae. “Red tides” in the ocean are caused by a reddish-brown algal bloom that can be toxic to sea life, humans and our pets—leading to anything from eye and breathing issues to stomach upset, confusion or seizures. Blue-green algae can be found in fresh water like lakes or ponds, and ingestion can cause a serious problems like liver disease or affect the nervous system. Before letting your pet get in any water, check the area for postings and/or the presence of algae. If you see anything suspicious, it would be better to stay on dry land.
  • Practice pool safety. When pets get into the containers of the pool chemicals before they have been diluted, it can lead to burns—both on the skin with prolonged contact, or in the mouth and stomach if ingested. If you have caught your dog ingesting any pool chemicals, give a small amount of water or milk to dilute and then call APCC or take to a local veterinary clinic for evaluation.

Be Prepared

Did you know that nearly one-in-five lost pets goes missing after being scared by the sound of fireworks, thunderstorms or other loud noises? That’s why we’d like to remind you that July 1 is National ID Your Pet Day, which serves as an annual check-in to make sure your pet’s identification tags and microchip information are up to date.

The best way to protect your pet is to be prepared. Download the ASPCA Mobile App to keep critical advice, tips and information right at your fingertips—including your pet’s critical health records, a personalized missing pet recovery kit, and step-by-step instructions on how to search for a lost animal in a variety of circumstances.

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Making “Organic” Mean Something

Making Organic Mean Something By ASPCA President & CEO Matt Bershadker

When an animal food product in your grocery store is proudly labeled “USDA Organic,” you would think that means the animal had exposure to fresh air, sunshine and significantly more space to move than on standard non-organic farms. Most people make that assumption. But in reality, the “organic” label provides no clear requirements for either space or outdoor access for most animals. As a result, a growing number of large organic producers are raising animals in conditions virtually indistinguishable from factory farming, including cramped quarters and even painful physical alterations.

Why is there such a disparity between the humane conditions we expect for organic farm animals and the cruel treatment many actually receive? It can be partially traced to the explosion of consumer interest in “organic” foods. Organic product sales by U.S. farms increased 83 percent between 2007 and 2012, but the increased production did not come with a corresponding increase in welfare standards.

This is clear for egg-laying hens in particular, whose numbers doubled from 2008 and 2014, while the number of egg farms dropped. More chickens on fewer farms increases the likelihood of inhumane conditions.

Large-scale industrial food producers didn’t simply jump on the organic bandwagon; they commandeered it to exploit both the increased consumer interest in “organic” food and the lax regulatory standards governing those products. They’re also undercutting more conscientious organic farmers dedicated to the idea that organic farming should deliver on its humane promises.

The USDA—which began regulating organic agriculture in 2000—is now trying to return integrity to its own label. In April, their National Organic Program proposed the first-ever comprehensive set of federal regulations governing the on-farm treatment of animals.

These new organic standards, advocated by the ASPCA and other animal welfare organizations for years, would specify minimum indoor and outdoor space requirements for poultry, require enrichment for a number of species, and prohibit certain kinds of physical alterations, among many other improvements. The USDA is giving producers a year to comply with the majority of the requirements.

In addition to protecting farm animals from cruelty, the new standards would also support a level playing field for the majority of independent organic farmers already providing meaningful outdoor access for their animals and holding themselves to higher-than-required standards.

With the National Organic Program accepting public comments on its proposal through July 13, the opportunity to protect vulnerable farm animals and restore meaning to the USDA Organic label rests in your hands. Use this form to tell Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack to quickly finalize the rule without further delay.

Getting all food producers to do right by their animals may be a long-term struggle, but one thing both people and animals deserve right now is for animal product labels – especially those issued by the federal government – to at least mean what they say.

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ASPCA Pit Bull Joins NYPD Commissioner for “Take Your Dog to Work Day”

Zaza

New York City Police (NYPD) Commissioner William Bratton joined the ASPCA in highlighting the importance of pet adoption by inviting a special canine to join him on the job for Take Your Dog to Work Day.

Zaza, a two-year-old pit bull mix, joined Commissioner Bratton during his Friday morning routine, which included a promotion ceremony and press conference at One Police Plaza.

Bratton and Zaza walking to the stage

Zaza was one of two dogs rescued by officers from Brooklyn’s 63rd Precinct in April 2016. She was bone-thin when police discovered her living in filthy conditions with another underweight, female pit bull mix. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Zaza was treated for an infection in both ears that caused severe swelling and a skin infection between her toes. After months of treatment, she was finally ready for a loving home—and following her big day on the job, she was officially adopted!

“Today’s visit from Zaza highlights the success of the NYPD’s partnership with the ASPCA that has been proven by the countless animals saved throughout New York City,” said Police Commissioner Bratton.

Bratton and Zaza standing next to the podium

Now in its third year, the NYPD/ASPCA partnership continues to have a considerable positive impact for New York City’s vulnerable animals. Since the partnership launched citywide in January 2014, there have been triple-digit increases in arrests and animals treated.

“The NYPD/ASPCA partnership has saved hundreds of animal victims from suffering in silence,” added Howard Lawrence, Vice President of ASPCA Humane Law Enforcement. “It is incredibly important that New Yorkers continue to report animal cruelty and open their hearts and homes to cruelty survivors, like Zaza, who deserve a second chance for a loving, stable home.”

If you are interested in adopting a pet of your own, please visit the ASPCA Adoption Center or a local shelter near you.

Zaza and a police officer

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ASPCA Happy Tails: A Second Chance for Chandler

Sometimes, it takes a village to save a life.

happy tail: Chandler

In New York City, multiple organizations—including the ASPCA, the NYPD and Animal Care Centers (ACC) of NYC—teamed up to ensure that a six-month-old kitten named Chandler got a fair shot at a second chance.

The fluffy, gray kitten was discovered clinging to life on Rockaway Beach in late February. NYPD officers responded to a call about an injured cat and took Chandler to a nearby veterinarian for an initial exam and then to ACC of NYC in Brooklyn, the second stop on his 37-day journey to a new life.

Chandler after being rescued (1) Chandler after being rescued (2)

Chandler after his rescue. Courtesy of ACC of NYC.

An ACC veterinarian determined that Chandler needed hospitalization and life-saving care, so in stepped Stephen Valentin, supervisor of ACC’s New Hope program. The New Hope team, with support from the Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ Wheels of Hope program, places about 15,000 homeless pets each year with 300 dedicated animal rescue organizations that eventually find the animals homes. These organizations include the ASPCA, which took in nearly 2,500 animals from ACC in 2015.

Stephen recalls seeing Chandler for the first time: “He was lethargic, with dried blood and sand around his nose; I felt really badly for him.” Stephen contacted ASPCA staff who agreed to take in the compromised cat the following day. Stephen drove Chandler to ACC’s Manhattan location and the next morning, with help from ACC’s Joe Dipalo and Ryan Denmark, he was transferred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital.

Upon arrival, Chandler weighed just three lbs. and “was dehydrated, dull, and depressed,” reports Dr. Danielle Delfino, an ASPCA veterinarian who oversaw his treatment. “We suspected head trauma and gave him a lot of supportive care.” Chandler remained in the ASPCA’s Intensive Care Unit for nearly a week. He was treated with antibiotics, pain medication and fluids. “As he began to feel better, he came out of his shell,” adds Dr. Delfino.

Chandler at his foster home
Chandler in his foster home.

Chandler’s next stop: a foster home with DonnaMarie SanSevero, an ASPCA volunteer. “He was different from our other fosters,” recalls DonnaMarie, who, along with her husband, has fostered nearly 100 animals—specializing in under-socialized and near-feral cats and kittens—over the past seven years. “He didn’t have a knee-jerk reaction to loud noises,” DonnaMarie explains. “While other cats would hide under the bed every time the garbage truck came rumbling by, Chandler would peek out the window to see what was causing the ruckus.” They nicknamed Chandler “The Dude,” “Lil’ Dude” and “Little Lebowski” for his “too cool” personality.

Chandler playing with a toy mouse
“The Dude.”

DonnaMarie introduced Chandler to a former co-worker, Eleonora “Ellie” Kostadinova, a financial case manager who lives in Queens. On April 4, she and her boyfriend, Chris Kuntsman, adopted Chandler and renamed him Ethan.

Ethan (Chandler) with Ellie
Ethan in his new home.

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ASPCA Storytelling Program Helps Traumatized Dogs Heal

Reading to resting dog

“Rain was falling when we reached the Mississippi.”

Upon hearing the words, Violet, a sometimes tense two-year-old pit bull, relaxed on her blanket and closed her eyes.

These words were not coming from a longtime owner; they were passages from Wallace Stegner’s Crossing to Safety, read by ASPCA volunteer Ricky Gitt of Manhattan. Gitt is one of 116 volunteers who read to dogs like Violet as part of the ASPCA Storytelling Program, an initiative designed specifically to socialize victimized dogs brought in through the ASPCA’s partnership with the NYPD. Most of them aren’t even ready to be walked by volunteers.

“These dogs often come in extremely shy and un-socialized. This helps them become accustomed to new people and experiences,” says Kris Lindsay, Technical Operations Manager for the ASPCA’s Animal Recovery Center, or ARC, where more than 1,500 victims of animal cruelty have been treated since January 2014. “A soothing voice and presence can calm agitated or fearful dogs, which helps them more easily transition to our Adoption Center and eventually find homes.”

For Violet, the transition has not been easy. She arrived at the ASPCA in late April so paralyzed with fear that she couldn’t even stand up. “She was an extreme case,” says Dr. Lindsay Thorson, the veterinarian managing Violet’s care. She adds that Violet is now comfortable with medical and routine handling, and loves being read to.

Two volunteers with dog
Ricky Gitt and Deborah Lancman with Arnold, a dog they used to read to who is now available for adoption at the ASPCA.

“These dogs come from a variety of circumstances, with varying severities of behavior issues,” says Victoria Wells, Senior Manager of Behavior and Training. “But you can see the benefits of storytelling in their body language.” In another vestibule, an emaciated dog wags its tail as volunteer Deborah Lancman sits down and begins to read. “Some dogs are exceedingly fearful, and the reading relaxes them,” Deborah says. “They hear a normal voice that’s not threatening or nasty and don’t feel fear.”

Do these dogs prefer thrillers to classics? The subject matter doesn’t make a difference—at least not to the dogs. “They don’t seem to care about that,” says Ricky, an interior designer who started volunteering at the ASPCA two years ago after his own dog passed away. “I used to read them books or stories about animals, but now I bring whatever I’m reading at the moment.”

Hildy Benick of Manhattan, an ASPCA volunteer for nearly five years, has devoted more than 80 hours reading to dogs. On one Monday afternoon, she started with her newspaper and then switched to Jane Eyre. “I think they get a lot out of it,” she says. “You come in and they start barking; then they get quiet and lie down.”

Margarita looking at book
Hildy Benick reads to Margarita, a dog in the ASPCA’s Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment.

The ultimate goal, of course, is not to build canine literacy, but to ready these animals for eventual adoption. “The storytellers are their first exposure to people other than staff,” explains Victoria. “The reading prepares them for meeting new people and helps them get comfortable.”

Since the program launched in April 2014, over 1,700 hours have been spent reading to these dogs. The volunteers hope that sharing good stories with the animals will lead to good stories about the dogs themselves. “These animals have been dealt a bad blow,” says Hildy, who has witnessed many cruelty victims transform into loving and trusting pets. “They just want to be taken care of. I’m thankful we can help them this way.”

That’s a happy ending every story can use.

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The Results Are In: Meet the 2017 ASPCA Calendar Cover Pet

This year’s Calendar Cover Pet contest came down to a real “photo finish!” Thanks to more than 50,000 votes from animal-lovers nationwide, we now know which adorable adopted companion will be gracing the cover of our 2017 calendar: Margot!

Margot 2017 Calender

When Margot arrived at an animal shelter in Oklahoma, she was missing both of her hind feet. Her temporary fosters fell in love with the sweet dog, and she became a permanent member of their family. She was soon fitted for custom prosthetics, and now Margot goes for walks with ease.

If you’d like to make a difference for animals and receive your own copy of the 2017 ASPCA Calendar, please make a donation of $ 25 of more today

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ASPCA Happy Tails: Something to Wag About

After recovering from trauma, the one thing animal victims of cruelty need most is a stable, loving home. For them, the opportunity to thrive in a safe environment can be incredibly healing—and sometimes, their healing is a two way street. In the case of Poncho the Chihuahua and his new adopter, Lauren, their newfound companionship helped both of them overcome heartbreak and find new joy. Here is their story.

Poncho with new friend

Last November, the NYPD rescued five-year-old Poncho from a tragic situation of abuse. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, it became clear that some of the trauma he had suffered was irreparable, and our veterinarians had to remove his left eye surgically. As he recovered we learned more about the 8-lb. pup, like the fact that he was quite shy and preferred to stick close to his friends. We knew that after all he had been through, Poncho deserved nothing more than a home to call his own.

While all of this was happening, Lauren T. of Westchester County, New York, was doing some recovering of her own. In 2013, she had adopted a dog, Norman, who turned out to be really sick. “He had such a zest for life,” she recalls, but one night, she came home and he was having trouble breathing. A trip to the emergency vet revealed a tumor, lung torsion and fluid build-up. “It had turned out he was a really sick little boy, too sick to save unfortunately, but you would never have known there was anything wrong until the very end,” she says with tears in her eyes. “He was that kind of happy dog.”

After losing Norman, Lauren knew that she wanted to rescue another dog. In fact, she and her husband, Tony, had recently moved to a house with a large yard, in which they had cleared out a lot of space for Norman to run. “We felt like we had to give that opportunity to another dog,” she recalls.

Poncho with Lauren

On a trip to the ASPCA Adoption Center with her brother, Adam, Lauren spotted Poncho. She says, “As we toured, I locked eyes—‘eye’—with him through the glass and he crouched down on the ground, tail wagging, just as sweet as could be.” We filled Lauren in on Poncho’s backstory, and she was convinced that he was the right dog. She raced back to Westchester to get Tony and her 11-year-old dog, Daisy, so they could all meet the precious pooch. After a happy gathering, they made the adoption official and changed Poncho’s name to Diego.

Poncho with Tony

In the months that followed, Diego’s life has become more wonderful than he likely ever could have imagined. The once-abused pup now loves his new house and his new life. Lauren says, “He loves to sit on our chests while we watch TV, kissing our faces and totally blocking our view. He also loves running as fast as he can outside and chasing birds and squirrels he has no chance of catching.” Diego also likes to sleep under the covers in Lauren and Tony’s bed. “Whenever I can’t find him, I know that’s where to look!” she laughs.

As for Norman, Lauren says, “We had him cremated and keep his ashes on a shelf in the new house so that he, in whatever spiritual fashion, can enjoy the space and country a little bit too.” Though his passing was a heartbreaking experience, it paved the way for Diego to join the family and put his own sad past behind him. Now his life is pure joy. “Diego does not just wag his tail when he’s happy—which is most of the time,” Lauren says with a smile. “He wags the whole back half of his body. It all wags!”

We are so happy that after a lifetime of suffering, this resilient dog has found so much to wag about.

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Road Trip Tips for You and Your Pet

dog with straw hat

June has arrived, which means it’s finally time to break out the sunscreen, beach balls and barbeques—and to start planning that summer vacation! At the ASPCA, we think travel is always more fun when you bring your furry friends along, but we understand that road trips can be a big deal for pets. Fortunately, with the support of our sponsor, Subaru of America, Inc., we are providing these helpful travel tips to keep you and Fido safe on the road this season and all year long:

  • Prep your pet.  Get your pet geared up for a trip by taking him on a series of short drives first, gradually lengthening time spent in the car. If you’re planning to travel across state lines, bring along your pet’s rabies vaccination record. While this generally isn’t a problem, some states require this proof at certain interstate crossings.
  •  Ride safely. Keep your pets safe and secure in a well-ventilated crate or carrier. The crate should be large enough for your pet to stand, sit, lie down and turn around in. Secure your pet’s crate so it will not slide or shift in the event of an abrupt stop. If you decide to forgo the crate, don’t allow your pet to ride with his head outside the window, and always keep him in the back seat in a harness attached to a seat buckle.
  • Bring a pet-friendly travel kit. Bring food, a bowl, a leash, a waste scoop, plastic bags, grooming supplies, medication and first-aid, treats and any travel documents. Pack a favorite toy or pillow to give your pet a sense of familiarity. Be sure to pack plenty of water, and avoid feeding your pet in a moving vehicle. Your pet’s travel-feeding schedule should start with a light meal three to four hours prior to departure, and always opt for bottled water. Drinking water from an area he or she isn’t used to could result in stomach discomfort.

For more information, read our full list of travel safety tips brought to you by Subaru. Happy trails!

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Michigan Gov. Signs Bill to Protect Pets of Domestic Violence Victims

Michigan Gov. Signs Bill to Protect Pets of Domestic Violence Victims

The ASPCA applauds Michigan lawmakers for taking an important step forward in the fight against domestic abuse with the passage of critical legislation giving judges the authority to include pets in protective orders issued to victims of domestic violence. The bill was signed into law by Governor Rick Snyder on May 19.

Research shows that nearly one out of four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime and, sadly, the decision to save their own lives becomes much more difficult when pets are involved. All too often, loving owners can delay seeking help or remain in dangerous situations for fear of what will happen to the pets they leave behind.

“The inability to flee an abusive relationship places domestic violence victims, their children and pets at a much greater risk of emotional and physical trauma, and even death,” says Vicki Deisner, Midwest Legislative Director for the ASPCA. “This new law will help keep people and their pets together and encourage victims to seek help.”

Michigan Gov. Signs Bill to Protect Pets of Domestic Violence Victims

The law takes effect immediately, making Michigan the thirtieth state to authorize judges to include pets in orders of protection for victims of domestic violence.

We thank Governor Snyder and Rep. Robert Kosowski, the bill’s sponsor, for their work passing this meaningful legislation to better protect Michigan’s families and pets. If you’re a Michigan resident, please join us in thanking the Governor and Rep. Kosowski for their efforts.

Not in Michigan, but still want to help? We need your voice to pass the U.S. Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act, which will expand federal domestic violence protections and help victims of domestic violence and their pets escape abusive environments and seek the safety they need. Visit the APSCA Advocacy Center to take action today.

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Five Years Later: The ASPCA Revisits the Joplin Tornado

Five Years Later: The ASPCA Revisits the Joplin Tornado

In May 2011, a devastating tornado tore through the town of Joplin, Missouri, and left a path of destruction in its wake. The ASPCA deployed to the area—a town of about 50,000—and provided emergency sheltering and assistance for approximately 1,300 animals displaced during the disaster. We helped reunite nearly 500 animals with their families and found loving homes for 800 more. This past weekend, we were honored to return to Joplin to participate in Joplin Proud, a four-day event commemorating this community and the incredible progress they have made in the five years since the storm.

2011: A crowd of thousands from 24 states came to Joplin to adopt animals displaced during the storm.
2011: A crowd of thousands from 24 states came to Joplin to adopt animals displaced during the storm.

In honor of Joplin Proud, the ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society held a “Paws in the Park” free microchip clinic and adoption event at Parr Hill Park this past Saturday, May 21. While there, we met a number of Joplin residents whose lives were impacted by the tornado—many of whom will never forget the ASPCA’s assistance in its wake.

One resident, Murray Fields, recalls the day of the disaster vividly. “I was taking a nap, when suddenly I was awakened by what sounded like electrical transformers exploding,” he says. When the tornado passed, Murray set out to gather his eight dogs. He found three-legged Norton on the floor, covered in debris, as well as Beagles Mitsy and Maxie, and Starkers, an Australian shepherd mix. “I assumed the others had been crushed in the rubble.” 

Murray Fields visited his dogs daily while they were boarded at the ASPCA’s emergency shelter
Murray Fields visited his dogs daily while they were boarded at the ASPCA’s emergency shelter.

The next day, church volunteers dug three of the dogs out from the wreckage—Pinky, a stout, white pit bull; and mixed breeds Plumpkin and Janna. Skunknose, a Shepherd mix, was found days later at an emergency animal shelter being operated by the ASPCA next to the Joplin Humane Society (JHS). “That we all were unscathed is a miracle,” he says.

Janyce Prier was another Joplin resident whose house was destroyed. Her beloved cat Gus also went missing. But 16 days after the tornado, she spotted Gus on a local television broadcast from the ASPCA’s temporary shelter and was able to positively identify him by the mole on his nose.   Today, the 15-year-old feline is “living large, just as healthy and strong as he was five years ago,” says Janyce, who moved to northwest Arkansas a year after the tornado. 

Janyce Prier after reclaiming her cat, Gus, who was lost in the tornado.
Janyce Prier after reclaiming her cat, Gus, who was lost in the tornado.

The events in Joplin also served as an important reminder for pet parents everywhere. “Fewer than five percent of the animals we rescued after the tornado were micro-chipped,” said Tim Rickey, a Joplin native and Vice President of ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team. “We’ve learned that a microchip can be a pet’s only ticket home if they become lost or disaster strikes again.” At Saturday’s event, the ASPCA and JHS provided nearly 200 free microchips or vouchers for microchips, and helped nearly a dozen animals find new homes.

“The Joplin tornado displayed nature at its most destructive, but also people at their most compassionate,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Even though our approaches to animal protection and rescue have improved in the past five years, we still draw strong inspiration from the commitment and heroism that brought so many of those lost animals and people together.”

Joplin resident Murray Fields in the wake of the tornado, 2011.
Joplin resident Murray Fields in the wake of the tornado, 2011.

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Finding Comfort in a ‘Speedy’ Recovery

Finding Comfort in a ‘Speedy’ Recovery

The Hernandez family of East Harlem, New York, was still dealing with one tragedy when another one nearly fell upon them. In 2014, an infamous gas explosion destroyed their apartment, killing eight-year-old Rosalie Hernandez’s older sister and mother. Six others died in the blast.

In an effort to help the family—especially Rosalie’s 15-year-old brother, Oscar, who was critically wounded in the blast—a friend offered them a Pomeranian puppy named Speedy.

“He was a very good therapy dog for the whole family, especially Oscar,” said Rosalie’s father, José Hernandez, through an interpreter at the ASPCA. “He really helped our recovery process.” But at a birthday party last March, Speedy leaped from someone’s arms and fell awkwardly, breaking both of his front legs. José took Speedy to a local veterinarian.  “We thought we would have to euthanize him,” he said.

An X-ray of Speedy’s broken legs.
An X-ray of Speedy’s broken legs.

The family was referred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where veterinarians assessed Speedy’s injuries and determined that they could help.

Sadly, what happened to Speedy is not unusual in toy breeds, or dogs weighing less than seven pounds, including Chihuahuas, Yorkshire terriers, and Maltese. “These are common injuries as these dogs tend to jump down from furniture or out of their owner’s arms and then sustain a break,” says ASPCA veterinarian Dr. J’mai Gayle, who repaired Speedy’s legs with bone plates and screws. 

Doctors at the ASPCA Animal Hospital were able to repair Speedy’s legs with bone plates and screws.
Doctors at the ASPCA Animal Hospital were able to repair Speedy’s legs with bone plates and screws.

Toy breeds’ small bone structure makes them more vulnerable to traumatic injuries. They also often have thin skulls and misaligned teeth, which can lead to medical problems. And because they’re so small, toy breeds can easily fall from a handler’s arms or purse, get stepped on, or fall victim to predators.  “Poor breeding practices are also to blame,” says Dr. Gayle, noting that toy dogs are very popular, especially in crowded areas like New York City.

The good news is that, with the help of ASPCA veterinarians, Speedy made a full recovery. “Speedy ultimately did very well,” says Dr. Gayle. “We’ve seen dogs that have been hit by cars and sustained multiple fractures which can be fairly dramatic, but most do well with proper care.”

Speedy recovering in the ICU.
Speedy recovering in the ICU.

This was very welcome news for the Hernandez family, who relied on Speedy not only as a loyal companion, but as a valuable source of comfort. “Speedy really lifted Oscar’s spirits,” said José. “Before, Oscar didn’t even want to leave his room. But Speedy motivated Oscar to walk and is the reason he gets up every morning.”

Rosalie, who was eager to see Speedy after his surgery and accompanied José to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, sobbed when she first saw the splints on his front legs. But José says the family bonded during his recovery. “He gives the kids responsibilities, as well as a reason to be excited about life,” José says. “With his help, we’re moving forward.”

Speedy and Jose.
Speedy and José. 

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ASPCA Happy Tails: Sweet as a Peach

It is always heartbreaking when an animal is surrendered to a shelter—even more so when he or she has been in the same home for a long time. Animals, like people, grow attached to their family and surroundings, and pet relinquishment is never easy. In fact, we have an entire team dedicated to helping pets stay in their homes, but we understand that sometimes it is simply not an option. In those cases—like that of a Lab/pit bull name Peach—we work hard to ensure that the pet finds a new, loving family as soon as possible. Fortunately for Peach, her second home proved to be precisely “where the heart is.” Here is her Happy Tail.

Rescued Dog

Peach’s story began all the way back in 2008, when the ASPCA rescued her from a cruel situation. She was just nine months old at the time, and she appeared to have struggled with poor nutrition when she was very young. The precious puppy’s growth was stunted, and she had a mild respiratory infection. After receiving treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (AAH), Peach was soon adopted, and we happily sent her on her way.

Sweet Peach in a BlanketSweet Peach and her Guardian

Fast forward to September, 2015. Peach’s adopter was moving to a place that did not allow pit bulls, and she was forced to return her to the ASPCA. It was a sad scene, but the adopter had no other option. To make matters worse, Peach was now eight years old—a senior pet. She was also overweight and had two tumors on her thighs.

At AAH, veterinarians assessed Peach’s tumors and determined that, given their location, they could not be effectively removed. Though it wasn’t possible to predict the course of her cancer, we knew that in time the tumors were likely to grow. We decided that the best thing to do for Peach was to find her a loving home, and fortunately, it wasn’t long before we met Eitan.

Eitan had recently lost his childhood dog, Tootsie, and was missing the companionship of a canine. “I preferred to get a dog that really needed a home,” he said, so he decided to visit the ASPCA Adoption Center. Peach was the very first dog he saw. “She was older and had cancer, so I figured no one would take her,” Eitan recalls, and on November 30, she became an official member of his family.

In the months since her adoption, Peach has done incredibly well. She is on a prescription weight loss diet and her health is stable. Eitan says, “She has become my best friend, roommate, confidante, and alarm clock.” We are so happy that this special girl has found a warm, loving home with Eitan, and we wish her continued health and happiness for many years to come.  After all, this is one Peach who deserves all the sweetness she can get! 

Sweet Peach on the Couch

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ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Animals rescued from abuse are often fearful and shy, but past experience has taught us that the right home can go a long way for victims of cruelty. In the case of a cat named Curry, a first-time adopter proved to be just what the doctor ordered, and now these two are both experiencing the singular joy of human-pet companionship. Here is Curry’s Happy Tail.

ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Eric K. had been thinking about adopting a cat for a very long time. He had never had a pet before, much less visited an adoption center, but, he says, “I knew that there are a lot of animals who need homes.” In November, as the New York City air grew colder, Eric decided it was time. “I wanted a cuddle buddy and an animal to play with,” he recalls. Fortunately, Eric’s cousin, a former ASPCA volunteer, pointed him in our direction.

At the ASPCA Adoption Center, Eric arrived with the hope of finding a senior grey cat. He and his roommates played with almost every adoptable feline at the center, but none of them felt like “the one.” On his way out, he stopped by another floor of the building, and that’s where he met Curry.

ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Curry was nothing like what Eric had envisioned: The 10-lb. brown tabby was less than two years old and very, very shy. In August, he had been rescued from extreme cruelty by the NYPD, and spent the following months in and out of the ASPCA Animal Hospital receiving treatment for a painful urinary obstruction. What’s more, he was quite fearful around new people, so he’d been having a hard time getting adopted. But for Eric, there was just something about Curry.

“Volunteers told me that he had had a pretty tough life. They told me that he had a urinary tract problem and that no one would adopt him because of that. He wouldn’t even come out of a cardboard box to play with us,” Eric remembers. But he had a feeling about Curry, and patiently tried to lure him out of his carrier with treats. “Without even showing his face, he reach his paw out of the cardboard box, grabbed the treat and took it into the box with him,” he laughs. “I knew I liked him at that point.” Eric then reached his hand into the carrier, assuming that Curry would try to swat or bite, but was surprised to find that the kitty rested his head on his hand. “That was when I knew for sure that he needed to come home with us,” Eric says.

ASPCA Happy Tails: There’s Something About Curry

Back in his apartment, Eric gave Curry a new name: Graham. “Graham and I fell in love pretty quickly,” he tells us. “The first night he would hardly come out of his travel carrier, and the following week he would constantly hide underneath our couches, but after that he grew accustomed to us and now he can’t stand when we leave.” Eric was also unfazed by Graham’s medical issues, and was pleased to report that the sweet kitty underwent urinary tract surgery and is drastically improved!

Despite a tough start to life, Graham proved to be an ideal pet. Eric tells us, “He loves lap time and napping with us during the day, and he loves to sit with us when we watch movies.” For both this formerly-abused cat and his new adopter, it seems that the first time was the charm. Congrats! 

Graham taking his customary after-breakfast nap in his new home.
Graham taking his customary after-breakfast nap in his new home.

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ASPCA-Supported Food Program Adopted by San Francisco Schools

ASPCA-Supported Food Program Adopted by San Francisco Schools

Yesterday, the nationwide movement toward local adoption of the Good Food Purchasing Program (GFPP) gained even more ground as the San Francisco Unified School District became the latest institution to sign on. The San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously to adopt the GFPP, which the ASPCA is actively supporting in cities around the country.

The goal of GFPP is to help school systems, municipalities, and other entities with massive purchasing power source food that meets five value criteria: animal welfare, nutrition, support for local economies, worker justice and safety, and environmental sustainability.

The GFPP’s animal welfare aspect addresses the conditions in which farm animals are raised for meat, milk and egg products. It relies largely on third party-audited animal welfare certification programs, which are important for ensuring both welfare and transparency, and has the potential to beneficially impact millions of animals’ lives.

The ASPCA is collaborating with many other sectors—including health, environmental, educational, and labor—to pass the GFPP in cities and school systems around the country. Last year, we helped secure a renewed GFPP commitment by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). To date, both the LAUSD and the City of Los Angeles have adopted the GFPP, and conversations have begun in other cities as well.

Please stay tuned for further news about GFPP efforts in particular cities. If you’re not already signed up, be sure to join the ASPCA Advocacy Brigade so we can alert you should we need support for GFPP in your home city!

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ASPCA Helps Researchers Demonstrate Differences between Accidents and Abuse

ASPCA Helps Researchers Demonstrate Differences between Accidents and Abuse

Most ASPCA supporters are familiar with our life-saving rescue operations and cruelty intervention initiatives for animals. But what many of you may not know is that we are also deeply involved in veterinary research, forensic investigations and the study of animal abuse. In fact, much of our behind-the-scenes work has paved the way for breakthroughs in public policy, legal advocacy and other fields within the animal welfare community. That’s why we want to share the news of significant findings in a recent study of blunt-force trauma and accidental and non-accidental animal injuries.

The joint study, conducted by the ASPCA and the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University, was published online in the Journal of Forensic Sciences and will appear in print in September, and the ASPCA’s own Forensic Science Supervisor, Dr. Robert Reisman, D.V.M., is a co-author.

Comparing data from 50 criminal cases of animal abuse provided by the ASPCA and 426 motor vehicle accident cases from the Foster Hospital for Small Animals at Cummings School, researchers demonstrated different injury patterns in abused animals and animals hit by cars. This means that, without having witnessed the incident, veterinarians presented with injured animals can more readily determine whether the animal was a victim of an accident or of cruelty.

According to a press release issued by Tufts, the study found that abused animals generally had more damage to their head, ribs, teeth and claws. Pets involved in motor vehicle accidents tended to suffer skin abrasions, lung collapses and bruising and hind end injuries. They also found that victims of non-accidental injury were more likely to have evidence of older fractures, a pattern that is similarly seen in human abuse cases.

“The forensic veterinarian’s job is to use scientific evidence to tell the story of an animal victim of cruelty. This study serves as a valuable tool in that process,” said Dr. Reisman, who leads the five-person veterinary forensic sciences team that supports the NYPD/ASPCA Partnership. “This study contributes to the expanding body of research in the growing field of veterinary forensic medicine and will help forensic veterinarians continue to give a voice to the voiceless.”

Although the Journal of Forensic Sciences is primarily dedicated to human forensic sciences, the findings of this study are quite significant for both animals and the scientific community at large. Visit Tufts.edu for more information on this important research.

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X-ray Shows Cat Swallowed Sewing Needle

X-ray Shows Cat Swallowed Sewing Needle

When two-year-old Oreo arrived one morning at the ASPCA Animal Hospital, she was lethargic, hypothermic and dehydrated. Her owner, Rosa A. of Manhattan, reported that she had been vomiting and not eating for several days. ASPCA veterinarian Dr. Felicia Magnaterra also noticed a string, or thread, protruding from Oreo’s rectum. “It was no surprise. String-type foreign objects can get stuck in cats and dogs, and do all the time,” said Dr. Magnaterra. Items like thread and dental floss are among the most common mistakenly ingested by cats.  

But Oreo’s x-rays soon pointed to another culprit: a sewing needle lodged in her colon, which had made its way through her gastrointestinal (GI) tract, attached to thread. “That was a total surprise!” Dr. Magnaterra exclaimed.

Oreo's x-Ray

Oreo was soon anesthetized and, using careful digital—finger—manipulation, another ASPCA veterinarian, Dr. Marisa Altieri, gently re-positioned the needle from a perpendicular position to a parallel position in line with Oreo’s colon wall. “The process took carefully planned movements to avoid puncturing the colon wall with the sharp ends of the sewing needle,” explained Dr. Magnaterra. Once the needle was in the correct position, Dr. Altieri gently applied traction until it was exteriorized through the rectum. The entire procedure took 30 minutes.

“It’s very uncommon, but impressive, that the needle had made its way all the way through the GI tract without causing significant damage to tissue,” Dr. Magnaterra said.  Doctors speculate the needle may have come out with Oreo’s next bowel movement, but pulling on the string would have likely changed the needle’s position once again—from parallel to perpendicular to the colonic wall—causing it to lodge in her colon.

Oreo

“It could have perforated her stomach, small intestine or colon,” Dr. Magnaterra explained. “Had this happened, GI contents would have leaked into the abdomen causing a septic peritonitis, or infected abdomen, a very serious condition and surgical emergency that comes with a very guarded prognosis for full recovery.”

Oreo, however, was lucky. Because of the needle’s shape and size, and because the GI contents were able to pass around it, her body was able to move the needle through her GI tract. A day later, she was back to her normal self and went home. 

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Five Years Later: The ASPCA Revisits the Joplin Tornado

Five Years Later: The ASPCA Revisits the Joplin Tornado

In May 2011, a devastating tornado tore through the town of Joplin, Missouri, and left a path of destruction in its wake. The ASPCA deployed to the area—a town of about 50,000—and provided emergency sheltering and assistance for approximately 1,300 animals displaced during the disaster. We helped reunite nearly 500 animals with their families and found loving homes for 800 more. This past weekend, we were honored to return to Joplin to participate in Joplin Proud, a four-day event commemorating this community and the incredible progress they have made in the five years since the storm.

2011: A crowd of thousands from 24 states came to Joplin to adopt animals displaced during the storm.
2011: A crowd of thousands from 24 states came to Joplin to adopt animals displaced during the storm.

In honor of Joplin Proud, the ASPCA and Joplin Humane Society held a “Paws in the Park” free microchip clinic and adoption event at Parr Hill Park this past Saturday, May 21. While there, we met a number of Joplin residents whose lives were impacted by the tornado—many of whom will never forget the ASPCA’s assistance in its wake.

One resident, Murray Fields, recalls the day of the disaster vividly. “I was taking a nap, when suddenly I was awakened by what sounded like electrical transformers exploding,” he says. When the tornado passed, Murray set out to gather his eight dogs. He found three-legged Norton on the floor, covered in debris, as well as Beagles Mitsy and Maxie, and Starkers, an Australian shepherd mix. “I assumed the others had been crushed in the rubble.” 

Murray Fields visited his dogs daily while they were boarded at the ASPCA’s emergency shelter
Murray Fields visited his dogs daily while they were boarded at the ASPCA’s emergency shelter.

The next day, church volunteers dug three of the dogs out from the wreckage—Pinky, a stout, white pit bull; and mixed breeds Plumpkin and Janna. Skunknose, a Shepherd mix, was found days later at an emergency animal shelter being operated by the ASPCA next to the Joplin Humane Society (JHS). “That we all were unscathed is a miracle,” he says.

Janyce Prier was another Joplin resident whose house was destroyed. Her beloved cat Gus also went missing. But 16 days after the tornado, she spotted Gus on a local television broadcast from the ASPCA’s temporary shelter and was able to positively identify him by the mole on his nose.   Today, the 15-year-old feline is “living large, just as healthy and strong as he was five years ago,” says Janyce, who moved to northwest Arkansas a year after the tornado. 

Janyce Prier after reclaiming her cat, Gus, who was lost in the tornado.
Janyce Prier after reclaiming her cat, Gus, who was lost in the tornado.

The events in Joplin also served as an important reminder for pet parents everywhere. “Fewer than five percent of the animals we rescued after the tornado were micro-chipped,” said Tim Rickey, a Joplin native and Vice President of ASPCA’s Field Investigations and Response team. “We’ve learned that a microchip can be a pet’s only ticket home if they become lost or disaster strikes again.” At Saturday’s event, the ASPCA and JHS provided nearly 200 free microchips or vouchers for microchips, and helped nearly a dozen animals find new homes.

“The Joplin tornado displayed nature at its most destructive, but also people at their most compassionate,” said Matt Bershadker, ASPCA President and CEO. “Even though our approaches to animal protection and rescue have improved in the past five years, we still draw strong inspiration from the commitment and heroism that brought so many of those lost animals and people together.”

Joplin resident Murray Fields in the wake of the tornado, 2011.
Joplin resident Murray Fields in the wake of the tornado, 2011.

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ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

At the ASPCA, we know that every animal has a story to tell. Each day, we meet dogs and cats who have been rescued from cruelty, abuse or neglect, but because they can’t speak, we don’t always know where their injuries and ailments come from. Despite this, our expert medical team is adept at giving a voice to these victims—and at making difficult decisions based off of limited information. In the case of one cat named Augustine, the loss of one limb translated into hope for a better life. Here is his Happy Tail. 

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

Augustine arrived at the ASPCA Animal Hospital on February 2. The 11-month-old tabby had been found as a stray in the Bronx, New York, and was suffering from severe wounds on his hind end. Because of the nature of his rescue, we had few clues as to what had happened or why, but our veterinarians knew that they had to act fast. In order to protect Augustine from severe, painful scarring and long-term discomfort, they amputated his left hind leg and also performed a neuter operation. He spent the next week in the hospital recovering, and was then transferred into a temporary foster home where he could receive extra attention and get used to his new anatomy.

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

Around this same time, Jamie B. and his wife, Deborah, were contemplating pet adoption. They had recently lost one of their two beloved cats, 16-year-old Rory, to cancer, and were finally ready to open their heart and home to a new feline friend. Ironically, they passed by the ASPCA’s Mobile Adoption Center in Union Square on their way to the ASPCA Adoption Center on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. There, they spent an hour or so meeting all of the cats, but nothing was clicking. “We were told, however, that there was a sweet young male named Augustine out on the Mobile Adoption truck, and that we could wait for the truck to return and meet him,” Jamie recalls. “So we sat in the lobby of the Adoption Center and waited, watching as happy new owners walked out with excited new pets, wondering whether or not we would soon be joining them.”

Fortunately, their patience paid off: Shortly after the Mobile Adoption vehicle returned, Jamie and Deborah met Augustine and felt that “click” they had been looking for. “Everyone had such great things to say about him—how charming, friendly and loving he was,” Jamie says, “and everyone was right!” After spending less than ten minutes with Augustine in the play room, Jamie and Deborah were certain that the sweet orange kitty was meant for them.

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

Back at their home in Brooklyn, the couple planned to ease Augustine into his new life slowly. They began by setting him up in their bathroom so he could get comfortable before meeting their other cat, ten-year-old Miss Velvet, but the transition was easier than expected and the two cats were eager to meet face to face. It was clear that Augustine was ready to begin his new life as a pet, so the couple gave him a new name to go with it: Baskets.

Jamie says that Baskets did encounter one bump in the road early on, when his leg injury began acting up. “He was showing signs of pain—limping, falling, and biting at the area where his leg used to be. He had been so excited, running around in his new home while still getting used to life on three legs that he hurt himself,” Jamie says. They took him back to the ASPCA Animal Hospital, where veterinarian Dr. Maren Krafchik helped remedy the situation. “She was great—knowledgeable, compassionate and understanding, and she sent us home with some pain meds and followed up with us the next day.”

ASPCA Happy Tails: Baskets of Love

After that, it was smooth sailing for Baskets. Jamie says that he has continued to grow and improve day by day. “In fact, he amazes us with his speed and agility,” he says proudly. “Sure, he’s a little clumsy at times, but aren’t we all?”

We are so happy that Baskets has found the loving home of his dreams. If you would like to help give more animals like Baskets a second chance, please consider making a gift to the ASPCA today.

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Mayor de Blasio Provides Critical Funding to NYC Animal Shelters

Mayor de Blasio Provides Critical Funding to NYC Animal Shelters

The ASPCA is commending Mayor Bill de Blasio for allocating a total of $ 10 million over the next two years to support New York City’s homeless animals. Mayor de Blasio proposed $ 2 million be allocated this year and $ 8 million the following year to create two full-service animal shelters in Queens and the Bronx, giving homeless animals across New York City access to life-saving services and the opportunity to be adopted into loving homes.

“This important funding will go a long way toward helping Animal Care Centers (ACC) deliver a level of care and protection that New York City animals both need and deserve,” said Matt Bershadker, President and CEO of the ASPCA. “In particular, this money may finally bring full-service shelters to the Bronx and Queens, dramatically improving the chances for local animals to get adopted and find safe and loving homes. As longtime supporters of ACC and the city’s vulnerable animals, we thank the Mayor for including the funding in his executive budget.”

Currently in these two boroughs—home to nearly 3.6 million people—dogs and cats are taken in, but soon moved to other boroughs. This adds to the populations in those shelters, and reduces the chances of lost pets from Queens and the Bronx finding their ways back home. The lack of full-service shelters also puts an obstacle in front of potential adopters in Queens and the Bronx, which is unacceptable given the lives at stake.

“The ASPCA’s work with ACC over the past several years to drastically reduce euthanasia rates and increase adoption numbers demonstrate how much we can accomplish for New York City’s homeless animals through diligent work and effective collaboration,” added Bershadker. “We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio for recognizing the value of investing in our sheltering infrastructure and look forward to making the most of this opportunity with the goal of ending animal suffering across the city.”

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

It’s no secret that senior pets have a harder time finding a home, and that victims of cruelty are similarly hard-pressed. So when we met Thelma, a Wheaten terrier who is both of those things, we knew that it would take a special kind of adopter to see her potential and take her home. Luckily, it wasn’t long before this sweet dog met Rachel O. and her boyfriend, Sam. Here is Thelma’s long-awaited, much-deserved Happy Tail!

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.

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

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.”

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

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.

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

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!

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

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.”

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

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.

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A Safe Bouquet for Mother’s Day

A Safe Bouquet for Mother's Day

Nothing would ruin Mother’s Day faster than a trip to the veterinary emergency room because Mom’s furry friend got into her beautiful bouquet and became sick. Though any plant material can cause some mild stomach upset, there are safer options of flowers for pet parents. Here are some common plants found in bouquets that are considered to be non-toxic:

View our full list of toxic and non-toxic plants to keep your pet safe all year round.

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Baby lemurs make their debut at Philadelphia Zoo

PHILADELPHIA – Four baby black-and-white ruffed lemurs named Maddie, Lincoln, Teddy and Quincy climbed and jumped in their enclosure during their debut at the Philadelphia Zoo on Friday. The lemurs were born at the zoo on Feb. 21. Black-and-white ruffed lemurs get their name from the long thick fur that runs from their ears to their chin. In the wild they live in Madagascar and are a critically endangered species due to poaching and deforestation.
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Guess Who Is Sick But Doesn’t Have Medical Coverage?

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Sonic Sea screening evidence of good partnerships

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We are GRATEFUL to be a part of this evening’s showing in New York of Sonic Sea, a collaborative effort between IFAW, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and Imaginary Forces.

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Sea Lion Goes Shopping at Souvenir Shop

An unusual customer showed up at a souvenir shop in La Jolla, California, recently. A sea lion climbed 145 steps from the beach to browse at The Cave Store just before closing one night last month. Store manager Rachelle Agosti shared photos on Facebook of the animal checking out the store’s trinkets and making a stop at an ice cream freezer. He didn’t buy anything, and returned to the water with Agosti’s guidance. “He wandered around the store for nearly 10 minutes, confused and scared before I got him out the back door, through the garden gate, and heading back to the ocean!” — Read it at Buzzfeed

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Cat Stars in Viral Video for NBA All-Star Bid

The Minnesota Timberwolves want the Internet to vote Karl-Anthony Towns (whose initials are KAT) into the NBA All-Stars. So, what better way to woo the Internet than with a CAT? The team has put out a clever video showing KAT all over the world (or, in front of a green screen) with a gray-and-white cat. Its message is, “KAT and his cat have been all around the world. Now help send them to Toronto.” Toronto, of course, is the site of next month’s All-Star tournament. Voting closes in four days, so we’ll soon see whether KAT’s cat helps his cause. — Read more at SB Nation


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6 Fun Ways to Get Fit With Your Dog

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Who says that exercise must be limited to sweating at your local gym, fighting for the only unoccupied elliptical machine, or failing to keep pace in a spinning class? You can stay in shape — and have fun — by teaming up with a playful workout partner: your dog.

Regular exercise provides pets and people with physical and mental benefits. Exercise releases endorphins, helps maintain proper weight, improves coordination and balance, and it helps improve strength. Plus, studies show that people are more likely to continue with a weight-loss program if they exercise with their pets.

Warming Up

Before starting an exercise program with your pet, book appointments with your doctor and your pet’s veterinarian for complete physical examinations. Discuss the best workout plan for your pet, based on his health, age, body shape and likes and dislikes. After all, your Basset Hound may surprise you with very Retriever-like behaviors by insisting on fetching a tennis ball again and again. Dr. Marty Becker notes, “Remember to allow a few minutes for you and your dog to warm up, increase exercise gradually as fitness improves and always follow exercise programs recommended by your pet’s veterinarian and your doctor.”

Getting Out the Door

Our experts have identified several terrific options for getting fit with your canine pal:

Walking. Progressively work up to 20 to 45 minutes of walking at a brisk pace with your dog every day, if possible. Vary the route to offer new challenges (and new scents), such as hills, bark-filled paths and sandy beaches. Use this time to reinforce basic obedience commands such as “sit” and “down.” Encourage your dog to walk backward and move in a circle to work various muscles and enhance flexibility. If you notice your pup slowing down or lagging behind, return home and shorten the next session. Your dog should always be out in front of you or beside you — not trailing behind. And, be on the lookout for heavy panting or other signs that your partner is working too hard.

Fetching. For dogs that love to chase, find a safe place for them to be unleashed and let them zoom after their favorite ball or other object. Help prevent injuries to your throwing arm by using a ball tosser that can fling the ball farther than you can on your own. Keep your dog’s interest by flinging the object in different directions and to a variety of distances.

Swimming. Exercising in the water offers a good workout for muscles without the jarring impact that is associated with jogging. Seek a clean pool or body of water free of undertows and currents. Make sure your dog always wears a canine life preserver when he’s in the water. When finished, always rinse off your dog with water and a mild dog-safe shampoo.

Hide-and-seek. Reinforce your dog’s recall skills by playing this game indoors or in an enclosed outdoor area. Start by getting your dog in a sit-and-stay position. Then, hide and call your dog by using his name and saying, “Come.” Make a big to-do when he finds you and offer praise and small treats. The goal behind this game is to teach your dog that fun things happen when he heeds the “come” cue.

Agility. Dogs are not the only ones who need to be in shape to participate in this popular obstacle course sport. Their human teammates must also be able to turn, pivot and run while offering hand and verbal signals to their dogs to climb ramps, dash through tunnels, leap through tires and wriggle through weave poles.

Dancing dogs. Whether in the privacy of your living room or before a crowd at a canine musical freestyle competition, doing the cha-cha and other dance steps with your canine dance partner offers a fun workout.

Surprise Benefits

When it comes to making your pet your favorite workout buddy, consider this added bonus: Pets that exercise regularly tend to exhibit fewer behavior problems. “They are less likely to chew shoes, scratch furniture, bark excessively or commit other misdeeds because they have appropriate outlets for their energy,” says Dr. Becker.

Ageless Advice

Dogs of all ages need regular exercise to help keep their heart, lungs, joints and digestive and circulatory systems healthier. As pets get older, however, they often need their owners to modify their activity levels. Consider:

  • Rather than taking your senior dog on one brisk, 30-minute walk, switch to two 15-minute walks at a moderate pace — once in the morning and once in the evening — to be less taxing on his aging joints.
  • Swimming can also be a good exercise for older pets, especially if they have arthritis.

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Firefighters Free Kitten Stuck in Plastic Toy

A fluffy white 4-week-old kitten named Frosty found himself in quite a predicament on Monday night at his foster home in the U.K. His foster family called in fire crews to help after the little guy got his head stuck in a plastic toy. The Dudley Fire department used ring cutters, which are meant to remove a ring stuck from a person’s finger, to free Frosty from the toy, reported the U.K.’s Express and Star. Frosty was then happily reunited with Rebecca, age 5, and Evie, 3, who are helping to care for him. — Read it at People Pets

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5 Reasons an Australian Shepherd Might Be the Right Dog Breed for You

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A talented and hard-working member of the Herding group, the Australian Shepherd often likes to be busy and usually wants to be a part of whatever you’re doing. Learn more about this dedicated dog and whether he might be the right breed for you.

They’re usually devoted to their humans.

The Aussie is a dog who tends to love his people. Expect him to be as close to you as possible — you may find him sitting on your foot, leaning against your leg or trying to curl up in your lap.

They’re generally super-smart.

Considered one of the smartest dog breeds, the Australian Shepherd usually responds well to training and is capable of learning tricks, commands and games. But you’ll also need to pay attention to him unless you want to find yourself outsmarted. Keep him occupied by giving him jobs to do, such as bringing in the paper.

They’re often energetic.

Most Aussies need an active lifestyle to be happy. Keep him busy with dog sports like agility, flyball, flying disc games, herding trials, obedience and tracking. Or, take him for daily walks, jogs or hikes, provided your vet gives the OK to the exercise regimen.

There are two types of Aussies.

Some Australian Shepherds are bred strictly for their herding talents. Others are bred for the show ring and AKC performance events. The herding dogs tend to be smaller and thinner than show dogs and have shorter coats. Those traits can make them more agile as they move stock, and the shorter coat is less likely to snag on brush.

They can be protective.

If you’re looking for a watchdog, the Australian Shepherd can be a good choice. Like many Herding breeds, the Aussie tends to be wary of strangers. And If he sees anything out of the ordinary, he’ll usually alert you with a bark. But keep in mind that he may not be friendly with everyone he meets, even if he’s had plenty of socialization.

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10 New Year’s Resolutions You Can Make for Your Dog

It may be hard to believe, but once again the time has come to make our New Year’s resolutions. And since many of the promises we make ourselves might eventually fizzle out, we recommend trying something new this year: Make resolutions for your dog!

Whether you need to get back on track with his daily exercise or make that vet appointment you’ve been meaning to schedule, we’ve got plenty of ideas for goals to help your dog have a happier and healthier 2016. And, hey, maybe accomplishing your dog’s resolutions will inspire you to keep yours this year!

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Canine Resolutions to Tackle in 2016
1. Get healthy.: 2. Learn something new.: 3. Do something positive for others.: 4. Discover a new hobby.: 5. Take a trip.: 6. Kick bad habits.: 7. Send an update.: 8. Get a fresh do.: 9. Meet new friends.: 10. Most importantly, go to the doctor.:

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Video: Why Does My Cat… Meow?

Dr. Patty Khuly answers a frequently asked question: “Why does my cat meow at me?”
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Guess Who Is Sick & Needs Medicine But Has No Medical Coverage?

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4 Common Household Staples That Clean Pet-Stained Carpets

It’s every pet owner’s nightmare: You step into a fresh, wet "accident," and you’re out of your go-to carpet cleaner. Not to worry — there are actually quite a few household staples that work wonders on pet-stained carpeting!

Whether you’re house-training a puppy or caring for a cat who’s having trouble with the litterbox, click through the gallery below to learn which kitchen and laundry room standbys can be used for cleaning urine spots.

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Carpet Cleaners Already in Your Cabinets
White Vinegar: Club Soda: Baking Soda: Bleach:

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Pet Scoop: Study Finds Genetic Reason Labs Crave Food, Police Department Adopts Dog

May 4, 2016: We’ve scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it’s all right here.

Image: Labrador Retriever with sad eyes thinkstock 147915304


Study: Labs Genetically Food-Driven

Owners of Labrador Retrievers might not be surprised to hear their lovable dogs are hardwired to be more obsessed with food than other breeds. Researchers found Labs sometimes have a mutation of the POMC gene, which leads to more food-motivated behaviors like begging and scavenging for food. In studying lean versus overweight Labs, they found many of the heavier dogs had a POMC gene that looked “scrambled at the end,” hindering the dog’s ability to produce compounds to switch off hunger after a meal. Not all of the 310 Labs in the study who had the DNA variation were obese, and some who didn’t have the mutation were obese, but the mutation was associated with greater weight. The good news is that these food-motivated dogs might be easier to train, since they respond well to food rewards. In fact, of the 81 assistance Labs in the study, 76 of them had the POMC deletion. “You can keep a dog with this mutation slim, but you have to be a lot more on-the-ball … you have to be more resistant to your dog giving you the big brown eyes,” said study co-author Eleanor Raffan, a veterinary surgeon and geneticist at the University of Cambridge. The study was published in the journal Cell Metabolism. — Read it at Discovery News

Rare Wallaby Joey Surprises Keepers

Keepers at the Taronga Zoo in Australia were delighted to see an endangered brush-tailed rock wallaby joey peeking out of its mom’s pouch, more than a year after its father had left the zoo. “We weren’t planning for another joey, so it was quite a shock when we started seeing something moving inside the pouch,” said keeper Tony Britt-Lewis. The birth is the result of embryonic diapause, a phenomenon that enables some mammals to extend their gestation period and time the birth of their young. The joey appears to be healthy and about 6 months old, but the keepers don’t yet know its gender. — See photos at Zooborns

Scientists Say Cheetah Estimates Are “Guesswork”

A new study finds that the population of the cheetah stronghold in Maasai Mara, Kenya, is lower than previously thought. The authors say current estimates on the number of cheetahs in the wild are “guesswork” given the difficulty of counting them accurately. A team of scientists has now developed a new method to count them. During a three-month period, the researchers extensively covered the area and photographed each cheetah they saw to identify them based on their unique coat. As a result, their estimate for the number of cheetahs in the Maasai Mara was about half of previous estimates. They argue that accurate numbers are vital to conservation efforts. The study was published in the journal PLOS ONE. — Read it at Science Daily

Image: Ohio police department adopts dog


Police Adopt Stray Dog

In March, police in Kirtland, Ohio, found a stray dog and “tried to find the owner of this marvelous animal to no avail,” the police department wrote on Facebook. They didn’t want to send the dog elsewhere to be adopted — and now they’ve decided to give him a permanent home themselves. “With the permission of the Chief and the Mayor, JD has been adopted by the Kirtland Police Association but they also share the warmth this stoic animal has brought with City Hall and the Fire Department,” the post reads. JD, short for John Doe Dog, “fit into the environment as though he were here always. We are happy to have him in our department and our lives. He loves everyone and we love him.” — Read it at People Pets

Kitten and Cop Have Matching Mustaches

JD isn’t the only animal to find a new home thanks to law enforcement. In Spartanburg, South Carolina, a police officer with a soft spot for animals has made a tiny kitten his partner. “Another officer had found her in the rain under a trash dumpster and brought her into the department,” said Officer Cody Garrett, 28. “I offered to take her because I have another rescue at home who is currently nursing her four kittens.” Now, a selfie Garrett shared on Instagram of Squirt perched on his shoulder in his patrol car — with the two sporting matching mustaches — has gone viral. Squirt joined seven other pets at the animal-loving officer’s home. — Read it at ABC News
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Serena Williams Mourns the Loss of Her Beloved Jack Russell Terrier

After spending nearly half of her life with her beloved Jackie, heartbroken tennis star Serena Williams shared an emotional tribute to her 16-year-old dog on Instagram. Williams said she was 17 when she brought the Jack Russell Terrier home, just two weeks before she won her first Grand Slam. “She had a way of telling me it was time for me to be brave and let her go. With my dad by my side we were able to say a loving goodbye … I feel so lucky to have such a special friend. Give your dog, cat, pet a big hug,” she posted Tuesday, with several photos of Jackie. Condolences have been pouring in from her followers. — Read it at People Pets
 
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Guess Who Is Sick & Needs Medicine But Has No Medical Coverage?

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Download the free ACRX pet discount prescription card today at http://www.acrxnews.com and save up to 80% of all pet (human equivalent) medicine at the pharmacy today!

The Honest Kitchen Embark Grain Free Turkey Dog Food

The Honest Kitchen Embark is excellent for dogs that require a low carbohydrate or gluten free dog food. It is suitable for all life stages ranging from puppies to adult dogs. Embark Grain Free Turkey Dog Food is high in protein and fat, plus it is created with high-quality ingredients such as apples, spinach, celery […]
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You NEED To Hear This Husky Testing Out His Vocal Cords

This little Husky has a LOT to say, and we’re all ears because it is adorable.
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Guess Who Is Sick & Needs Medicine But Has No Medical Coverage?

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Download the free ACRX pet discount prescription card today at http://www.acrxnews.com and save up to 80% of all pet (human equivalent) medicine at the pharmacy today!

Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App

Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App

You love animals, and you love your phone. Combine the two, and what do you get? The easiest way to take action in PETA’s campaigns and the single greatest tool in the history of animal rights—PETA’s iPhone/iPad app!

Got one minute to spare? Ask retailers to stop selling animal skins, tell the circus to get out of your town, and even demand that the U.S. Department of Agriculture pay attention. Yup, it’s that easy!

Check out this video and see just how powerfully effective—and simple—it is:

But if you’re still not convinced, just take a look at what people are saying:

PETA iPhone iPad App-2

PETA’s app is a quick, easy, and extremely effective way to help animals. Get it now!

PETA's iPhone App

The post Check Out PETA’s Life-Changing iPhone App appeared first on PETA.

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Guess Who Is Sick & Needs Medicine But Has No Medical Coverage?

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Download the free ACRX pet discount prescription card today at http://www.acrxnews.com and save up to 80% of all pet (human equivalent) medicine at the pharmacy today!

PETA Statement: SeaWorld’s Earnings Confirm That Orca Prisons Are Sinking the Ship

PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman released the following statement regarding SeaWorld’s quarterly earnings, released this morning:

It’s crystal clear that the overwhelming majority of the public opposes the use and abuse of captive wild animals for entertainment. If SeaWorld is to stay afloat, it must do more than end its orca-breeding program—it must now build seaside sanctuaries where the orcas can live in penned-off areas in the ocean while under the stewardship of humans, offering them adequate space in which to swim and dive, novel and dynamic natural elements, the possibility of communicating with wild orcas, the chance to learn how to hunt, and the freedom to make choices. SeaWorld’s CEO has stated that it’s now apparent that the choice is “either a SeaWorld without whales or a world without SeaWorld,” and PETA wants the orcas out now, not after 40 years of continued captivity.

PETA’s motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment.” For more information, please visit SeaWorldOfHurt.com.

The post PETA Statement: SeaWorld’s Earnings Confirm That Orca Prisons Are Sinking the Ship appeared first on PETA.

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Guess Who Is Sick & Need Medicine But Doesn’t Have Coverage?

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Download the free ACRX pet discount prescription card today at http://www.acrxnews.com and save up t0 80% off of pet (human equivalent) medicine at the pharmacy today!

Pet Scoop: Boaters Save Dog From Gulf of Mexico, Officer Rescues Puppy From Tunnel

May 5, 2016: We’ve scoured the Web to find the best and most compelling animal stories, videos and photos. And it’s all right here.

Image: Dog saved from Gulf


Overboard Terrier Found

A lucky Jack Russell Terrier was reunited with his owner on Sunday, thanks to two couples celebrating birthdays on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico. They were about five miles offshore when Bruce Knecht spotted something in the water. At first he thought it was a buoy, but when they got closer, they realized it was a dog wearing an animal life vest. The little dog swam right toward the boat after they got closer, and Michael Sahr pulled him on board. "It’s like a needle in a haystack and the waves were pretty choppy," he said. The boaters radioed the Coast Guard and discovered that someone had reported a dog overboard three hours earlier. The owner had apparently gone down to the ship’s hull to check something, and when he came back up, the dog was missing. The Sahrs and Knechts brought the pooch to the Coast Guard station, and witnessed the emotional reunion between Jagermeister and his owner. "He had tears. He said, ‘I had given up. I had searched as long as I could and we just couldn’t see him, and we just thought we lost him,’" said Shawn Sahr. The boaters agreed the life vest had saved the dog’s life. — Watch it at Tampa’s Fox 13

Leopards Found to Be More Vulnerable Than Thought

A new study suggests that leopards have lost up to 75 percent of their historical range since 1750. The research, in part, prompted the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to recommend they be reclassified as “vulnerable” because stronger conservation efforts are needed. Many wildlife experts previously thought they were relatively abundant in the wild because they’re reclusive and adapt well. Humans pose the primary threat to leopards, because of their destruction of the animals’ habitat, hunting of animals the leopards prey on and revenge killings by farmers, among other threats. The study was published in the journal PeerJ. — Read it at The New York Times

Study Shows Why We Call Family Members by the Dog’s Name

It’s common for people to call friends by other friends’ names, or family members by other family members’ names — including the name of the family dog. Why? “It’s a cognitive mistake we make, which reveals something about who we consider to be in our group,” says Duke University psychology and neuroscience professor David Rubin, one of the study authors. “It’s not just random.” Lead author and PhD student Samantha Deffler said the study “does seem to add to evidence about the special relationship between people and dogs.” The slip of the tongue didn’t happen with other pets. “The dog’s name seems to become more integrated with people’s conceptions of their families,” Deffler said. The study was published in the journal Memory and Cognition. — Read it at Futurity

Image: Officer saves puppy from culvert


Officer Rescues Pup From Culvert

A Good Samaritan in Woonsocket, Rhode Island, called the police for help on Saturday when a lost puppy got trapped in the culvert she ran into when she was frightened by a passing car. Police Officer Joseph Brazil didn’t waste any time. He took off his shoes and rolled up his pants to wade inside the tunnel and save the 5-month-old Yorkshire Terrier and Shih Tzu mix, who was “clinging to the side and just shaking,” Brazil said. The woman who called for help, Peggy Edwards, caught a sweet photo of Brazil holding the puppy as they emerged from the tunnel, and shared it on Facebook to thank him. “He went in without hesitation and came out with a very wet, scared little dog. Great guy, Lucky dog. We are very happy he was able to save the little gal,” Edwards wrote. Cece was later happily reunited with her relieved owner, who said she’d just gotten the puppy and she escaped from a back door. — Read it at Rhode Island’s Turn to 10

Bloodhound Tracks Down Missing 89-Year-Old

Connecticut State Trooper Kerry Halligan and her 2-year-old Bloodhound, Texas, were called in to help locate an 89-year-old woman with Alzheimer’s disease who went missing from her home on Sunday night. Thankfully, Texas and Halligan located the woman in thick brush about a quarter mile from her home, after about 40 minutes of searching. She was transported to a local hospital by ambulance to be evaluated. — Read it at NBC Connecticut

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Boaters Save Dog Found Overboard

A dog who was wearing a life vest was rescued from the Gulf of Mexico three hours after he went overboard.
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