At North Shore Animal League America, it’s not uncommon to encounter animals in need of extensive compassionate care before they are able to be paired with the perfect adopter. Last year, we met Anastasia and Stanley, two special pets who immediately touched the lives of so many of us here because of their tragic beginnings and inspiring stories of resiliency.
Their heartwarming tales not only demonstrated our organization’s willingness to go above and beyond for animals in desperate need, but proved that the strength of the animal/human bond, forged by unconditional love, has healing powers that can leave medical professionals scratching their heads.
Gorgeous Kitten Suffering from Traumatic Injuries Finds Hope
Anastasia, a beautiful black and white Domestic Shorthair, was rescued by a Good Samaritan and brought to our campus with severe traumatic injuries to her lower body and spine, presumably the result of being hit by a car. After careful examination inside our Alex Lewyt Veterinary Medical Center, it was determined Anastasia had multiple pelvic fractures and a spinal injury resulting in nerve damage. The injuries prevented this adorable kitten from being able to walk and urinate on her own, leaving her in dire need of around-the-clock care. Months of rehabilitation and nurturing medical attention eventually led to a drastic improvement in her condition, so much so that she was eventually able to urinate on her own – a feat that was deemed unlikely when she first arrived.
With the help of intense physical therapy, Anastasia’s orthopedic injuries also healed, allowing her to regain her mobility and enjoy the kind of happy, healthy life that all companion animals should. Because of the unbelievable strides she made as a result of the care she received, the gorgeous kitten, who would have likely been euthanized if brought to a municipal shelter, was eventually cleared for adoption later in the year.
Animal League America Shines Light on Blind Puppy Mill Survivor
At just seven months old, Stanley arrived after spending the beginning of his life in a commercial breeding facility. Born with multiple disabilities in an environment of filth and irresponsible breeding, this handsome Cocker Spaniel needed a miracle if he would have any chance of living a fulfilling life. Luckily for him, he was one of the puppies and dogs rescued during one of our several Puppy Mill rescues throughout the year.
Carefully loaded on to one of our Mobile Rescue Units, Stanley was transported to our campus where he was promptly examined by our veterinary staff. A multitude of tests determined the young pup was not only blind, but deaf, which quickly explained why a puppy as sweet and handsome as Stanley remained in the facility for so long. He may have been set free from the Puppy Mill because he was no use to them, but we welcomed him with open arms and promised to find him the perfect situation once he was cleared for adoption.
Two Friends with a History of Rescue Provide Anastasia and Stanley Responsible, Loving Homes
Although Anastasia and Stanley arrived at different points in the year and under vastly different circumstances, it was only last month that both of them were fortunate enough to be adopted into the perfect homes. It just so happens that it would be a single Facebook post that would bring two friends – each with a long history of animal rescue – to our Long Island campus on the same day to provide these two animals with the loving homes they so desperately deserved.
Ava Probst and Brenda Maeder became friends during their time as volunteers and foster parents at Lucky Star Cavalier Rescue, an organization dedicated to the rescue, fostering, and adoption of King Charles Cavalier Spaniels across the country. The women’s relationship would grow even stronger when Brenda adopted Seth, one of the dogs Ava was fostering.
grow even stronger when Brenda adopted Seth, one of the dogs Ava was fostering.
Fast forward to early January 2017 when Brenda saw Stanley’s photo on Facebook. She immediately reached out to Ava, who had recently suffered the sudden loss of her oldest dog and was feeling the effects of not having a pet in the house for the first time in many years.
“Have I got the perfect dog for you,” she exclaimed.
One look at Stanley’s photo and Ava immediately fell head over heels – but just recently moving into a sixth floor walk-up in Manhattan – she knew a medium sized dog with disabilities wouldn’t be the best fit. In a twist of fate, she’d come across Anastasia’s heartbreaking story while browsing our website, inspiring a turn of events that would wind up working out for all parties involved.
“I told Brenda she should adopt Stanley if I couldn’t. She’s retired and has a ranch-style house that’s much more suitable for him. She also has six adult dogs, who can help him become acclimated to his new surroundings. It seemed like the perfect fit, just as I figured Anastasia would be for me,” she said. “Sure enough we wound up meeting up at North Shore [Animal League America] the next Sunday and made the adoptions official that day.”
It’s been a month since Anastasia and Stanley, renamed Claire and Jamie, as an ode to the main characters in the women’s favorite book series and television show, “Outlander,” were adopted. When you listen to Ava and Brenda speak glowingly about the impact the two animals have had on their lives, it’s no wonder why they take so much pride in rescuing animals who need a little extra TLC.
“Jamie makes number seven in my house and he’s fit in perfectly. I have six rescues and one other dog, but I wouldn’t have it any other way,” Brenda said. “Sometimes I just see a photo or read about a certain animal and they just call to me. Special needs pets need homes too. They deserve to be loved and to enjoy a quality of life. If I can be the one to provide that, then so be it.” Ava echoed those sentiments.
“I may need to do more laundry and use more upholstery cleaner around the house, but having Claire around has been a blessing,” she said with a laugh referring to the cat’s inability to fully control her bowels. “I’ve fostered so many dogs and had many of my own through the years, but having a playful, energetic cat around has been a nice change. Other than a little extra time and effort, there’s not much difference caring for a pet with special needs. If that’s all it takes to change a life, then I’ll continue to do it for as long as I can.”