At the ASPCA, animal adoptions are at the heart of what we do. There is no better feeling than rescuing an animal from homelessness, abuse or neglect and helping them find the loving home they deserve. We work 365 days a year to create these “Happy Tails,” and in 2016, our New York City Adoption Center helped nearly 4,400 animals find families.
In honor of these new beginnings, we’re counting down the year’s ten most popular Happy Tails. These were the most read, most shared adoption stories of the year—and we are so thrilled to celebrate them here today.
10. Poncho Finds Something to Wag About
In late 2015, Poncho the Chihuahua was rescued 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. We hoped that the eight-lb. pup would find a loving home quickly, and thankfully, it wasn’t long before he met Lauren T. of Westchester County, New York. Lauren, too, was recovering from heartbreak, and the moment she saw Poncho, she knew they were meant to be. Lauren adopted Poncho and changed his name to Diego, and now this once-abused pup’s life has become more wonderful than he likely ever could have imagined. In fact, Diego is so joyful that he doesn’t just wag his tail—he wags the entire back half of his body!
9. Crimson’s Story
Crimson was part of a group of five dogs discovered in a Queens, New York, yard without food, water or shelter in harsh winter weather. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, the blind, flea-bitten Shepherd was not only treated for an embedded collar, emaciation, heartworm disease and thyroid issues—he was also introduced to an Animal Care Technician named Suehaley. “When he first came to us, it was hard to get him to walk,” Suehaley recalls. While nurturing Crimson over the next nine months, Suehaley fell in love and decided to adopt him. “He was ‘my’ dog, and having cared for him for so long, I knew I’d be able to continue to do it,” she says. Although Crimson still reacts to loud noises and bears the scars of his former life, this special Shepherd has formed an incredible bond with his new family, particularly Suehaley’s toddler, Amia. Now he’s hardly ever alone.
8. Kody’s 850-Mile Journey Home
When Dean Ericson read an ASPCA News Alert about a puppy mill raid in Clewiston, Florida, something about the accompanying photo of a frightened dog being carried to safety by ASPCA responder Sharon Wirant tugged at his heartstrings. “His face really grabbed me,” Dean remembers. “I said to myself, ‘I’ve got to find out where that dog is.” Dean contacted the ASPCA via phone and email, eventually learning that the dog was a seven-year-old Pomeranian named Kody. Dean and his wife, Heather, embarked on an 850-mile drive from their home in Smithville, Tennessee, to adopt Kody from Florida and bring him home. After his arrival, Kody became fast-friends with the Ericsons’ three grandchildren and 11-year-old Sheltie, Kinsey. Now he spends his days running, playing and snuggling into a laundry basket filled with blankets.
7. Angelo’s Second Act
When the ASPCA rescued Angelo from the home of a hoarder, the snow-white cat was suffering from skin issues, ear issues, a heart problem, allergies, diarrhea, functional blindness and a form of facial asymmetry known as Horner’s syndrome. Despite his many misfortunes, Angelo was a pleasure to be around, and during his four month stay at the ASPCA Animal Hospital (and a stint in our Office Foster Program) he proved to have all makings of a perfect pet. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before Rebecca and Scott of Brooklyn, New York, spotted his potential. “Even with all of his ailments—a heart murmur, a head tilt, an eye squint and a crooked walk—it was still love at first sight!” Rebecca says. The couple adopted Angelo and changed his name to Alexander Hamilton, and now he is the king of his very own castle.
6. Saved from Abuse, Zaza “Discovers” the Perfect New Home
Zaza was one of two dogs rescued by officers from Brooklyn’s 63rd Precinct in April 2016. She was bone-thin and suffering from multiple infections, but despite the horrific cruelty she had endured, Zaza was known around the ASPCA for her sweet, loving nature. In June, she joined former NYPD Police Commissioner William Bratton on the job for “Take Your Dog to Work Day,” and shortly after that she was selected to represent the ASPCA at Discovery Communications’ “Discover Your Impact” volunteer day. It was there that this precious pittie met Stacey, who fell for her instantly. After making the adoption official, Stacey gave Zaza a new name in acknowledgment of her new life: Dani. Now she enjoys all the comforts of a safe and loving home.
5. A Home to Grow Old In: Thelma’s Happy Tail
At nine-years-old, Thelma had suffered from unspeakable abuse. Brought into the ASPCA Animal Hospital by the NYPD, Thelma was malnourished, extremely underweight, suffering from various ailments as a result of neglect and in fragile mental condition. Thelma spent nearly two months recovering in the hospital as the veterinary team nursed her back to health. After a full recovery, the team at the ASPCA Adoption Center worried that it would be difficult to find Thelma the perfect home given her age and anxiety due to her past traumas. Thankfully, Rachel and Sam—two avid dog-lovers—had recently started searching for a dog of their own. Immediately smitten with Thelma, the couple knew that despite her past, they could provide her with the perfect home to grow old in. After a lifetime of waiting, Thelma found a home. Although it took some time to adjust, she found her voice as a playful, beloved pet.
4. A Former Victim of Cruelty, Greyson Finds Perfect Home
Greyson was brought into the ASPCA in the Spring of 2014 by the NYPD after suffering in cruel conditions. Despite being a victim of abuse, Greyson’s sweet spirit and hundred-watt smile never seemed to falter or disappear. The lovable 92-lb American Bulldog was looking for the perfect pet parents to complement his loving, playful nature. That’s when he met Angela W. and her partner Ciprian. The pair had decided to adopt their first dog together, and when Angela saw Greyson on the ASPCA website, she knew that he was the one they’d been searching for. Angela and Ciprian’s expectations were exceeded when they finally met the three-year-old pup in person. After his adoption, Greyson became Rocco, and he now spends his time exploring all parts of New York with his family. Rocco’s adoption brought more happiness than anticipated to the couple. Angela told us that the amount of love Rocco brought into their lives is truly remarkable and that, “some people spend their entire lives searching for love. I guess we don’t realize that all we have to do is look for four paws and a tail.”
3. Baskets of Love
Brought into the ASPCA Animal Hospital as a stray, 11-month-old Augustine was suffering from severe trauma to his hind leg. The veterinary team had to act fast to help the small kitty, and in order to protect Augustine from severe scarring and long-term pain, the team removed his damaged hind leg. After about a week recovering in the hospital, brave Augustine went to a foster home where he could recuperate and adjust to his new anatomy. Around the same time of Augustine’s recovery, Jamie B. and his wife Deborah were finally ready to adopt another cat after losing one of their beloved pets to cancer. However, as they toured the ASPCA Adoption Center, they had a difficult time finding the connection they were looking for with the various cats they met. That was when an ASPCA staff member mentioned that there was a very special cat out on a Mobile Adoptions truck, and that if they waited for the truck to return they could meet him. Sure enough, that very special cat was Augustine. The couple knew right away that he was the one for their family. After taking him back to Brooklyn, Jamie and Deborah renamed Augustine “Baskets,” and he settled in perfectly with his new pet parents and cat sister Miss Velvet.
2. From Sammi to Piglet: One Sweet Dog’s Transformation
Once a victim of cruelty, sweet Sammi was suffering from a blood parasite when she was brought into the ASPCA Animal Hospital by the NYPD. The veterinary team at the hospital helped the young pit bull make a full recovery, and soon she was ready to find a family of her very own. Fortunately for Sammi, the perfect adopter was just around the corner. After moving into her own apartment, Marissa B. decided that she was ready for her first dog, and when she saw Sammi she knew it was fate. After meeting the lovable goofball, hearing her snort and watching her wiggle around, Marissa made the adoption official and gave Sammi a fitting new name: Piglet. In the months since, Piglet has fully embraced her new life and identity. Marissa says, “The moment Piglet got to my home she was comfortable. She jumped on my bed and was basically like ‘this is my home now!’”
1. ASPCA Happy Tails: Taking Toby Home
Before four-year-old Toby was brought into the ASPCA, he’d lived with one family for his entire life. Sadly, his family was forced to surrender the 15-lb. Pomeranian when they moved to a place that did not allow animals. Though the precious Pom was a seemingly ideal pet, it took a while to find Toby his perfect, permanent home. Luckily, in October 2015, Christian and Carol F. were touring the ASPCA Adoption Center looking for a new pet to add to their family. After grieving the loss of their family dog, they were finally ready to open their home to another furry friend. The couple then met Toby, and they knew it was meant to be. After bringing him home, Toby was dubbed Chewie, and has proven to be the perfect pet we all expected him to be. He even formed a special bond with Carol’s sister, who has Down syndrome, and he also enjoys visiting Carol’s job at the boathouse, where he sits inside the boats and loves the attention he gets when other rowers see him.