Friday, February 27, 2009

Grace O'Malley Sweeney

I just received an email from a PSPCA graduate named Gracie, a 12-year-old shepherd mix (pictured above -- the black dog in the back) who came in as a stray and waited 5 months to find a new home. Now that Gracie is settled in with her new family, she wrote:

Hello everyone, it's Gracie! I'm starting to fit in well here. There are 4 other dogs for me to play with, but I've paired up with the terrier, Saoirise. She's the same size as me. We like to play together and sometimes, when I want company in bed, we'll sleep together, too.

My new mom is working on my blanket. She's almost done. In the meantime, they are letting me use some soft fleece blankets to sleep on and under. Sometimes I fall asleep before they have a chance to get a blanket under me, so they wrap me up as best they can in the fleece blankets. Mom said that once she finishes my blanket, she is going to make me a sweater for going outside in. They also bought me my own collar and tag with my name on it! Part of it is in Gaelic, too. Mom said that my full name in English is Grace O'Malley Sweeney.

My Mom and my Grandmom are working with me to go up and down the stairs by myself. I got going up the stairs down to a science, but sometimes I get scared going down, so I'll get their attention by crying until they come and walk down the stairs next to me. A couple times I've gone down by myself. I'm getting there, I think it will just take some time to get used to this whole "head first" thing.

Well, I hope I get to see you again when I come back to get checked out. It will be nice to see a few familiar faces during my visit. I miss you and thank you for taking care of me until I found my forever home!

Love, Gracie.

Bounce's 15 Most Lovable Shelter Pets Contest

The Pennsylvania SPCA partnered with Bounce (dryer sheets) and in a national contest called “Bounce’s 15 Most Lovable Shelter Pets,” which runs through March 9. The contest website is:

Five of the pets are from the Pennsylvania SPCA! By participating in the contest, we’re hoping to find new homes for each of them. Two of the animals -- Midnight and Shakespeare -- have already been adopted, but three of them are still here waiting…and waiting….and waiting.

So why is Bounce involved?

Four out of ten Americans say that “shedding” is their biggest pet peeve about pets (pun intended!), so the contest will promote how Bounce’s dryer sheets actually help repel pet hair. And it smells nice!

So please visit the contest's website and vote for your favorite pet! You're allowed to vote once a day, so make this part of your daily routine.....the animals will thank you.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

PSPCA Celebrities Work the Local Media Scene

You might not know this, but some of our PSPCA animals are also television celebrities. Check out a few of them working the local media scene.

Gabanna on "The 10 Show" on NBC 10:

Meringue, Precious, and Poncho on Fox 29's "Good Day Philadelphia":

Bonnie on NBC 10's "Dog Day Saturday":

No pawtographs, please :)

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Former PSPCA Ambassador Finds a New Home

If you hung around our shelter last year then you might remember Midnight, a 1-year-old terrier mix that stole everyones' hearts. 

Our Humane Law Enforcement Officers found him last August cruising around Philadelphia without an owner. Midnight was in rough shape so he stayed in our rehabilitation center for a couple months to get healthy and in October he went up for adoption.

Months passed and nobody adopted Midnight, despite his handsome face and his boyish charm. Unfortunately, dogs like Midnight -- Pit Bull mixes who are unfairly characterized as nasty and aggressive -- are sometimes hard to adopt, particularly after they've been here for a while.

But instead of giving up, we gave Midnight a job: he became the "ambassador" to all the new dogs that came into our shelter.

Whenever a new dog comes in, our Director of Animal Behavior, Nicole Larocco, does a 360-degree behavior assessment to identify red flags (such as dog aggression, resource guarding, or dislike of kids). Nicole uses a "test dog" to see how the animal reacts to other animals -- but the "test dog" must be friendly, diplomatic, and stable in case the other dog reacts poorly.

Midnight was a perfect candidate for the job.

And his hard work paid off.

In January, a man came to our shelter and fell in love with Midnight! He couldn't believe that nobody had adopted him sooner and he was eager to bring him home. And Midnight was just as eager to accept the invitation!

Today I received an email from Midnight's new owner: "He is really great, and he loves the dog park. Oh, how he loves the dog park!" And it turns out that Midnight was a closet fashionista: "He has a quilted Burberry jacket that he wore during our two bouts with snow in the last month." Who knew?!?!

Although we miss seeing Midnight around the shelter, everyone is thrilled about his rags to riches story!

PS: Midnight is a contestant in the "Bounce 15 Most Lovable Shelter Pets": Vote for Midnight!!!

Happy Mardi Paws

The Pennsylvania SPCA's party float (i.e., mobile adoption RV) rolled down to Old City Philadelphia February 24th to celebrate "Mardi Paws!" 

From 12:00 to 2:00 pm, five of our adoptable dogs partied outside Doggie Style wearing beads and festive collars and barking "Happy Mardi Paws!" to everyone who passed by. 

Our infamous kissing booth was occupied by the official "Mardi Paws Queen," a miniature poodle named Honey Child who came to our shelter as a stray. Honey Child doled out kisses for $1 each and her hard work paid off though....she found a new home! 

Another one of our party animals, a brown & white terrier mix named Jordan, fell in love with a camera man from ABC 6 who was there to film the festivities. 

Marshmallow, a white terrier mix, was named "Mardi Paws King" after he was spotted chewing on a fuzzy beer bottle (a toy, of course!) and rolling around on the sidewalk. What a party!

Valentine's Paw-ty at the PSPCA

Love was in the air when the PSPCA hosted a Valentine's "Paw-ty" at the shelter from 2:00 to 5:00 pm on February 14th. 

More than 100 people stopped by for games, music, raffles, and sweets (courtesy of Tastykake). The highlight was our "Smooch-a-Pooch" kissing booth, where doggies took turns giving kisses for $1 a peck. 

Best of all, 22 animals found new homes that afternoon -- and dozens more applications trickled in later that day. The "paw-ty" raised more than $550 for our shelter. 

Shouldn't every day be like Valentine's Day??!! 

For a detailed account of the paw-ty and more adorable pictures, read this wonderful article by Sarah Lockard on, the Region's First Online Magazine.

A Special Senior Moment for LT

They say good things come to those who wait and LT, a nine-year-old Labrador retriever mix, agrees wholeheartedly – especially now that he found his forever home. LT came to the PSPCA in October of 2008 when his owner became ill and could no longer care for him. The poor guy had been suffering from arthritis and allergies and needed veterinary care to ease his pain and discomfort. PSPCA staff worked hard to make LT comfortable and healthy, but he was still missing a family that would love him forever.

LT’s luck turned around in January 2009, when the Dorsey family came to the Philadelphia shelter to drop off blankets and other donations. As they were leaving, Mrs. Dorsey convinced her husband to take a quick peek into greenhouse to see the dogs up for adoption. That's when LT caught their eyes and stopped them in their tracks. As luck would have it, Mr. Dorsey is a Lieutenant in the Philadelphia police force and the officers gave him the nickname "LT." Mrs. Dorsey said, "I spotted LT and then I saw his name and I immediately grabbed my husband because I knew we just had to have him! It was like fate."

As if that weren't enough, the couple also adores older dogs, especially large dogs like LT. They already have two senior canines in their house: Maggie, an 11-year-old golden retriever, and Corky, an 11-year-old Akita. So for them, LT was the perfect match. And as experienced dog-owners, the Dorseys were prepared to care for LT's arthritis and allergies with a combination of veterinary care and a raw food diet, not to mention the love that can only come from a family.

PSPCA staff were thrilled that LT finally found a family that loves him and two furry friends with whom he can enjoy his golden years. When the Dorseys came to the PSPCA to pick him up, they brought Maggie along to escort LT to his new home. The two dogs trotted out of the shelter together, eager to make up for lost time. "I'm so glad we decided to walk though the greenhouse that day," said Mrs. Dorsey. We are, too!

"Old dogs, like old shoes, are comfortable. They might be a bit out of shape and a little worn around the edges, but they fit well." -- Bonnie Wilcox, author of Old Dogs, Old Friends

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