In February 2014, Luca the pug was dropped off at the ASPCA. His owners had purchased him from a pet store, and when he was no longer wanted, they left him at our door. The truth is, most puppies sold in pet stores come from puppy mills—large-scale, commercial, substandard breeding facilities—where dogs are kept in inhumane conditions and do not receive proper veterinary care. Luca was a sad reminder of the many ways the puppy mill system fails its animals. We were overjoyed to see Luca adopted just a few weeks later, and we couldn’t resist following up with his new mom for this week’s Happy Tail.
When Regina S. first met Luca, she was going through a hard time. After losing her mother, she had been laid off from her job and was looking to get her life back on track. She spotted the two-year-old pug’s picture on our website, and ran over to our Adoption Center that same day to meet him.
At their first meeting, Regina felt an immediate kinship with Luca. Like Regina, Luca was going through a hard time. After being born into the inhumane puppy mill industry, he was separated from his mother and sold to a pet store, where he was bought and discarded within the span of a year. As the result of his puppy mill past, Luca was struggling with separation anxiety, shyness and fear. In some ways, it was as if Luca and Regina were meant to rebuild their lives together.
“When I first saw my Luca, my heart broke to think that such a nice dog had been surrendered to the shelter,” recalls Regina. “I decided to adopt him so we could both start spending our better days with each other.”
After three months in Regina’s home, Luca is happier than ever. She says, “It’s like he’s lived here all along. I enjoy his company, and he is almost like my little shadow!” Regina takes Luca everywhere, and says that they bring each other joy every single day. She is looking forward to further adventures with the precious pug as the weather warms up.
We are so thrilled that, after a rough start to life, Luca found his perfect match. He and Regina are proof of the joy that can come through struggles, and we wish them nothing but a lifetime of happiness together. Please visit our No Pet Store Puppies page to learn more about puppy mills and how you can help more dogs like Luca.
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Happy Earth Day, pet parents! Today, billions of people around the globe will take a pledge to live more sustainably. But what does the green movement mean for our animal companions? Just like us, our furry friends leave a lasting impact on our environment. Here are some easy things you can do with your pet to cut down on waste and show a little love for our planet.
Clean Green Clean up pet messes with rags or recycled paper towels to cut down on paper products. And reach for vinegar instead of bleach—this household staple is an eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals.
Buy in Bulk Buy pet supplies in bulk or opt for the largest size available. You’ll save money on your pet’s favorite treats and help cut down on discarded cardboard and packaging. Even better, opt to buy from companies that use sustainable packaging.
Go Natural for Toys and Bedding Protect your pets from toxic chemicals by giving them sustainable toys and products made from recycled plastics and natural materials.
Donate to Animals in Need It’s spring cleaning time. Before you throw away old pet products, call your local shelter. They may need gently used towels, bedding, leashes, litter boxes and pet toys.
Scoop Poop the Eco-Friendly Way Swap out plastic and scoop your pup’s poop with biodegradable bags or reusable cloths instead. If you use kitty litter, choose brands that offer plant-based alternatives like wheat and wood chips.
As the nation’s second-largest animal welfare grant maker, there’s nothing the ASPCA loves more than to see our grantees succeed. That’s why we were so thrilled to meet Wiley, a wolf-dog hybrid who stopped by the ASPCA office in New York City as part of an educational visit from Lockwood Animal Rescue Center (LARC).
Last October, the ASPCA provided LARC with a $50,000 grant to shelter 25 wolf-dog hybrids. The wolf-dogs were rescued from Dancing Brook Wolf Lodge, a sub-standard so-called “sanctuary” in Bristol, New Hampshire, after the owners were evicted from the property. Since wolf-dogs are not adoptable to the public, they needed a safe place to live and thrive. Through LARC’s “Warriors and Wolves” program, these giant canines have received daily care and rehabilitation from veterans, helping them heal from their respective traumatic experiences.
Visit newarc.org to learn more about how the rescued wolf-dogs are doing!
Please note: The ASPCA does not support exotic pet ownership. In most states, wolf-dog ownership is either illegal or restricted. We are grateful to organizations like LARC who provide these animals with much-needed sanctuary.
While natural disasters can strike at any time or place, the ASPCA Field Investigations and Response (FIR) Team is ready to deploy at a moment’s notice. Over the years, the FIR Team has assisted animals in the aftermath of natural disasters nationwide, including hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and earthquakes. This month, FIR Team members are using the expertise they’ve developed throughout their deployments to help lead disaster preparedness drills in communities throughout the country.
Earlier this month, Dr. Dick Green, ASPCA Senior Director of Disaster Response, participated with the Louisiana National Guard in a category three hurricane simulation in New Orleans. During the simulation, coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, the ASPCA responded with the Louisiana State Animal Response Team (LSART) to reports of stranded animals.
The ASPCA also participated in a two-day Defense Support of Civil Authorities Training in San Antonio, Texas, focusing on military response to animals during natural and chemical, biological, or nuclear disasters, and determining how the military could best interface with civilians and their pets in times of disaster. Dr. Green presented on emergency animal sheltering and how the ASPCA can collaborate with military agencies during disasters.
Dr. Green, along with ASPCA FIR Medical Director Dr. Sarah Kirk and Adam Leath, FIR Southeast Regional Director, assisted with a Florida state-wide emergency animal evacuation exercise hosted by the Department of Agriculture and the University of Florida in Ft. Myers. Later this month, Dr. Green will help conduct disaster response trainings in Mendocino, California and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
At four years old, Taco seems like any other dog. He plays with toys, snuggles in bed, and runs around with fellow pups. But if you look closely, you’ll notice that Taco isn’t like most other dogs. He has a limp, a drag in his step that serves as a reminder of all he has been through.
Doctors at our hospital moved into action quickly, only to discover that much of the damage to Taco’s vertebrae was inoperable. Determined to help the 10-pound pup, they began a regimen of intensive care that involved painkillers and a full-body brace—keeping him safe and comfortable until he was strong enough to begin physical therapy.
During his stay at the hospital, Taco received love, attention, and unwavering care, possibly for the first time in his life. Slowly but surely, he regained his mobility. When he was ready, he transferred to our Adoption Center and was quickly adopted into a loving home. Though Taco will always have a limp, his new family tells us that “he is full of energy and life, and he never lets his gait hinder his stride.”