Tender Loving Care
the sweet power of three little words
Everybody — and “everybunny”— needs TLC. In the last few months, since adding rabbits to my foster program, I’ve learned a lot about caring for these precious bun-buns. For instance, I’ve discovered that they are highly social and like to cuddle and that they have sensitive digestive systems and need a proper and balanced diet along with plenty of fresh water. And like all pets, they need veterinary care, including vaccinations.
Because August is National Pet Immunization Month, I thought I’d remind everyone how important it is to make sure all of your pets are up to date on their shots. In late July, I took Stephen and Sunnybunny to see Dr. Molnar and vet tech Rochina at Shinnecock Animal Hospital for their RHV2 vaccines to protect them from Rabbit Hemorrhagic Disease, a fatal virus that kills domestic and wild rabbits, is highly contagious among rabbits (does not affect humans or other animals), and can be prevented with a series of two vaccines and an annual booster. Both Stephen and Sunnybunny were so well-behaved in the vet’s office. Gosh, I was proud of them!
I’m even prouder of little Delores, our New York City bodega survivor. As you might remember from my April blog, Delores spent her first 14 (!!!) years, unspayed, living in a dark, dirty bodega in New York. I heard about her when a kind-hearted customer begged the owner to let her take her to a vet, and from there she came to me. Although I believe that Delores’s story has shed some much-needed light on the hard lives of most bodega cats, I constantly imagine those who haven’t been so lucky.
Delores in April, left, and in August, right, healing from eye surgery and almost ready to fly.
This sweet, gentle girl had lots of problems due to poor nutrition and lack of medical care. I don’t think she would have survived much longer at that bodega if she hadn’t been rescued. I’m thrilled that she’s made such incredible progress. She recently had eye surgery and is doing well, and she’ll be on pills for the rest of her life for hypo-thyroid condition (not “hyper,” but “hypo,” which is very rare in cats). Once again, it’s amazing what good veterinary care, a healthy diet, and TLC can do for an animal. Since April, Delores has become a favorite among my followers and our family, and I can’t wait for the day when we’ll see her thriving in a forever home. Whoever takes her home will soon know that Delores is pure JOY!
I realize, of course, that at her age and with her medical challenges, Delores doesn’t have a long life ahead of her. But then, I remember Yoda and Grogu and, well, you never know!
From left to right: Yoda, my marshmallow man, and my darling Grogu.
When Howard and I met Yoda and later, Grogu, we never thought they’d live as long — and well — as they did. Yoda was with us for more than eight years after receiving a prognosis of just a few months. Grogu also had a dire prognosis, so Howard and I decided not to adopt him out but to hold him close and love him for the rest of his days. He was not supposed to live more than a few weeks, yet we enjoyed 10 months with that sweet, happy, little Persian! I think both Yoda and Grogu felt so much love and joy that they just didn’t want to go! More TLC magic.
We were so lucky to have had them in our lives and we think about them every day, grateful we were able to help give them such love and care in their last days/months. The end was not easy and you’re never ready for it, but I will always cherish the unconditional love and appreciation I felt because of this very special relationship.
Over the years, I’ve taken in several fosters knowing we were not going to have much time together. In the animal rescue world, this situation is called Fospice, a combination of foster and hospice. At North Shore Animal League America, we recently introduced the Comfort Pet Hospice Care Program for people in the New York Metro Area that places elderly or terminally ill animals with foster families, covering medical expenses through our Pet Health Centers.
How utterly gut-wrenching to think of these animals sitting in a shelter at the end. Yes, Fospice care is difficult work, but it’s also beyond rewarding and profoundly beautiful. And honestly, the connection that develops is indescribable. I gave my Fospice pets love and care, and in exchange, they taught me lessons about resilience, acceptance, and cherishing each moment, lessons I will never ever forget. So if you live in the New York area and are interested in finding out more about what is perhaps the ultimate TLC experience, please contact [email protected] If you live elsewhere, please check with your local rescue organization to see if it offers a Fospice program. You will never regret it.
August is also special because on August 1st the whole country celebrated DOGust 1st, the Universal Birthday for all Shelter Dogs, a holiday “invented” by my clever colleagues at Animal League America. August is also famous for being the Dog Days of Summer, which if you remember last July’s blog has to do with heavenly constellations, not hot pups.
Not long ago, as I was thinking about the Dog Days of Summer, I read about a gentle Pittie named Vanessa who spent 11 years in a Louisiana shelter where she was overlooked year after year after heartbreaking year. In July, grey-muzzled and so sweet, she finally found her forever home. So, in her honor, and for all the Pittie mixes who deserve a whole lot of TLC, here are three good dogs at North Shore Animal League’s Adoption Center in Port Washington, New York, who would love to be taken home and spoiled rotten!
ALICE (ID: G25956) Cuddly, beautiful Alice is a sweet Pittie mix who loves to spend time with her trusted NSALA handlers in the sun. She prefers to be the only pet to get all of the attention! Alice has a good amount of energy and is looking for an adopter experienced with larger breeds who can continue her training journey to become the best dog ever! Alice is looking for someone who will take time with her, so if you’re ready for a lifetime of unconditional love, Alice is ready for you. Meet Alice and watch her video.
BOBBY (ID: G27993) is a big dog with an even bigger personality. This handsome Blue Nose Pittie mix recently started his training journey with our team and is looking for an adopter to continue his education at home. Bobby would do best with someone who will provide him with regular structure and guidance to help him become the best dog he can be. He would also prefer owners who are experienced and ready to handle all the love he has to give. Meet Bobby and watch his video.
ROXY (ID: T105808) is a sweet girl from Tennessee. A nervous and fearful Terrier mix, Roxy is looking for an experienced adopter who can give her the time and patience she needs to learn to trust. The ideal home for Roxy would be in a quiet, suburban neighborhood, with a large fenced-in yard. With continued training and confidence-boosting exercises, Roxy will show you just how good a dog she is and become a happy and loyal companion! Meet Roxy and watch her video.
And please take a moment to mark this date on your calendar: August 20 is International Homeless Animals Day. This summer, with the brutal heat we’ve experienced — and with more to come — I’ve thought about homeless pets and homeless people, and when I see the two together, my heart breaks. To me, the human-animal bond is especially moving when I see homeless people and homeless pets sharing their lives with love and dignity. For many pets and people, it doesn’t matter where or how they live, as long as they’re together. Several organizations help provide food and medical care for pets who belong to homeless people. One that I’ve looked into is Feeding Pets of the Homeless at petsofthehomeless.org; another is Greater Good Charities at greatergood.org. In this imperfect world, they are doing good work, providing TLC for those in great need.
P.S. Summer’s heat is far from over, and it poses so many threats to animals. I just heard from my friend Officer Gretchen “Cat Cop” Byrne (@bocaratona) in Coral Springs, Florida. She recently had to break a car window to save a dog in a parking lot. It’s hard to believe that people are still ignorant about the dangers ofhot cars and helpless pets…and kids…but it continues to happen far too often. In fact, it’s illegal in 31 states…it should be illegal in all 50!
We’ve put together some summertime tips to help you keep your pets safe this summer. My special tip is to put ice cubes in our cats’ water bowls. They love it.