May

Kitten Season Has Begun!

CupidsKittens1 As foster coordinator for the League, I know that kittens, orphans and nursing moms, do best in quiet home environments where they can be kept away from the stress of shelter life. And these babies arrive in spring!  This year, WARL’s expanded foster program tis ready to meet the needs of these incredibly vulnerable animals.

We’ve trained dozens of volunteers on the ins and outs of kitten fostering—from how to set up a home for nursing cat families, to bottle-feeding newborns and identifying signs of illness. These volunteers literally came to the rescue this spring, when “kitten season” welcomed many new feline babies to the world.

An area shelter called desperate for help – they were full up on kittens.  With foster homes on stand-by,  I knew the League could help.  We took in 10 orphaned kittens and 2 nursing litters.  The orphaned “bottle babies” need to be fed every 2-3 hours, 24 hours a day;  nursing moms and kittens need support, too.   We transported all 18 felines back to the League, where loving foster volunteers were lined up and waiting.

The cats arrived shortly after 7 pm with a surprise – one of the moms had given birth to 2 new babies on the way!  One foster took these guys straight home, while other volunteers loaded up with supplies. With only a few hours’ notice, we were now on round-the-clock newborn duty!

The kittens haven’t stopped coming since. Daily, we receive calls for help, and thanks to our foster program, we’ve been able to take in nearly 10 times as many kittens this year as last.

WARL and its volunteers will continue to give these vulnerable animals the best chance at life through fostering. But we could use your help. More than ever, we need donations of supplies to support these dedicated foster homes.  Digital kitchen scales are need to weigh the kittens and catch any early signs of illness.  Heating pads and snuggle safes provide critical sources of warmth. Canned kitten food, as well as non-clumping litter is sincerely appreciated by fosters who give so much to these guys. 

This Sunday, May 5, join us for the annual Kitten Shower!  Celebrate the rescue of these little lives, meet feline residents and join in some refreshments.  See our registry here:  http://amzn.com/w/2M24ZOOEDOX39

Like all babies, these kittens are growing up fast.  They will soon be looking for homes of their own! Please consider adoption, and take one (or two!) kittens home.

Mandie Worsley is the Washington Animal Rescue League’s Foster Coordinator and works in the Adoptions Department.

Apr

Puppies and Kittens!!

It’s getting to that time of year, and with the upcoming ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge that the Washington Animal Rescue League is participating in, I have no doubt we will be seeing plenty baby canines and felines. 

Puppies and kittens can be a wonderful addition to many homes.  They are cute, adorable, and are sure to win your heart!  There is not much cuter than a kitten.  Their big eyes and inquisitive personalities make them irresistible.  Puppies are equally precious.   It’s hard to not take them home with their clumsy gaits and happy-go-lucky attitudes.  However, there are a few things you should know before bringing one home so that you are as prepared as possible.

BlackLabMixPups1

What to know before adopting a puppy

  • New puppies have a critical socialization window that closes at 12 weeks.  During that period, puppies should be carefully exposed to as many men, women, children, elderly people, and other dogs as possible.
    • Puppies with insufficient exposure during this period may grow up to be more fearful, anxious, or aggressive than they otherwise would have.
    • WARL’s Puppy Kindergarten is a great supplement to any socialization program.
  • Housetraining is tough!
    • New puppies will need to go out about every hour, or you should be prepared for accidents inside.  They will need to go out this often for the first two or three weeks minimum.
    • Many new puppies will also need a middle of the night walk for the first few weeks.
    • After puppies are housetrained, most are physically only able to “hold it” for the number of months they are plus one.
      • For example, a three month old puppy could hold it for four hours max – that is if they don’t get excited, eat, or drink water!
  • This is the perfect age to acclimate your puppy to things you will need for him or her to be okay with as an adult.
    • For example, wearing a head collar or body harness, wearing a muzzle, clipping nails, brushing teeth, bathing and brushing fur, restraint, and learning basic manners.
  • Puppies under 12 weeks are often great additions to homes with young children because the puppy is still in the critical socialization period.  This means the puppy is less likely to grow up fearful, anxious, or aggressive toward children.
    • Keep in mind that if you decide to adopt a puppy into your family with young children, the puppy will be like adding an additional child.  The puppy will have his own needs (walks and playtime), friends, and appointments (vet and training classes).  Puppies need lots of attention and love to grow up happy and healthy, a neglected puppy is sure to develop behavior issues as he or she ages.
  • Puppies require lots of education.  New puppy owners should be prepared to bring their puppy to a Puppy Kindergarten class or two (I took my personal puppy to four!), a Puppy II or Basic Manners class, an Intermediate class or Canine Good Citizen class, and maybe a private session or two if any specific issues come up. 
    • All of this training should be done before the puppy is two or three years old.  This is the best recipe for a well-mannered canine companion.

What to know beforeCupidsKittens8 adopting a kitten

  • New kittens can get into places you wouldn’t even imagine, so “kitten proofing” your home is something to take very seriously.  Dangling electric cords, string, cleaning supplies, and some plants may all be dangerous for a young kitten.
  • Kittens under six months may not be right for homes with exuberant young children.  Kittens are tiny, and they can be easily injured by well-intentioned but energetic kids.
  • You may find yourself at home taking care of your kitten more than you thought you would have to.
    • They need to be carefully watched when not in “kitten proof” areas, so that they don’t accidentally get trapped somewhere or get injured. 
    • They also need twice daily playtime at least!
    • Kittens also benefit from training, consider a private session at WARL, or attend one of our cat training seminars.
  • Kittens don’t need walks, but they do need their litter boxes scooped twice daily and thoroughly cleaned once a week.
  • Kittens are a big commitment; they may live 15 to 20 years.  Where will you be in 15 to 20 years?  Will you still want a cat?
  • If you’ve done your research and are fully prepared to adopt, consider adopting two kittens!  Kittens, unlike puppies, are often best adopted as pairs. 
    • Adult cats may become territorial, and kittenhood is the best time to ensure that your home will be a multiple cat home.  The kittens will play with each other and learn from each other. 
    • Just make sure you have enough resources to devote to two kitties!  It means a larger cat tree, multiple scratching posts, multiple litter boxes (we recommend three boxes for two cats), more toys, more food, and more vet bills.

I hope this was helpful, and that you come out to support us during the ASPCA Challenge this summer.  If you end up adopting from us, I hope to see you and your new companion in one or a few of our many training classes that we’ll be providing this summer!

For more information on the ASPCA Rachael Ray $100K Challenge, visit: http://www.warl.org/news-events/news-from-the-league/washington-animal-rescue-league-to-take-part-in-2013-aspca-rachael-ray/

#100KChallenge

Michelle Yue is the Director of Behavior and Training at the Washington Animal Rescue League and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer.

Mar

The Question of Early Spay/Neuter of Shelter Cats and Dogs

I was recently asked about our policy of early spaying and neutering for our dogs and cats.

Dr  Rosen (9)

WARL’s Medical Center Director Dr. Jan Rosen discusses the question of early spay/neuter for shelter animals.

Most veterinarians recommend spay/neuter at around  six months of age.  This recommendation is based more on tradition than on facts or research; the fact is that no-one knows what the ideal age is.  Shelters tend to spay and neuter kittens and puppies much earlier, in order to adopt out animals who can’t make more puppies and kittens and contribute to the pet population crisis.  Our shelter starts spaying and neutering as early as  two months of age and  two pounds of body weight. The American Animal Hospital Association supports this practice, in the interests of population control.

It has been established that anesthesia and surgery can be done safely at this age, and we really don’t know if there is any benefit at all to waiting until the animal is 6 months old.  The real question for me is, “Is it best for the individual animal to wait until she or he is even older than  six months, and has gotten the benefit of sex hormones?”

The ideal age for this surgery actually depends on what you consider important.  For example, if you’re most worried about your female dog or cat getting potentially fatal mammary cancer, which is fairly common in dogs, you should spay her before she is  six months old (spaying before the first heat practically eliminates this possibility).  If you’re most worried about an increased risk of hip dysplasia, cruciate ligament injuries, or bone cancer in your large breed dog, one new study on Golden Retrievers suggests you may want to wait until your female or (especially) male dog is two years old.  If you want to prevent your male cat or dog marking in your house or roaming and impregnating females, you will want to neuter before  six months. There are several other health benefits from early spay/neuter (uterine infections, testicular tumors, pregnancy!)  Research is being gathered that may favor later spay/neuter as well though (decreased hip fractures in cats, possibly decreased incontinence in female dogs).

As a shelter veterinarian, I have an additional and very important consideration, which is population control.  It is well known that for every puppy or kitten that finds a good home, four others are unwanted, unloved, and possibly neglected or abused. In animal shelters throughout North America, four to six million dogs and cats are euthanized each year, and the number of stray dogs and cats living on the street or in the wild is unknown but huge.

Shelters, ours included, have tried to get adopters to bring their new pets back in for spay/neuter, and have found it difficult to impossible to get them all back.  And even one animal that is allowed to slip through the system and breed negates the effects of spaying/neutering a large number of others, because of the rapidity with which cats and dogs proliferate.

Since the pros and cons of early spay/neuter are debatable, while the benefit to cats and dogs as a group is obvious, my decision is also obvious.  I perform enough euthanasia and see enough homeless animals to know how tragic it is that there are so many cats and dogs and so few homes.  (And I see my share of orthopedic problems and cancers as well, so I’m not immune to the tragedies that can come with the health problems of the individual.)

I do promise that as new research becomes available, we will consider it and be ready to revise our positions and our policies, if warranted.  In the meantime, I urge you all to support shelters and to get your next (spayed or neutered) dog or cat  from a shelter, thereby saving a life, making a life immeasurably better, and preventing countless tragedies arising from stray, unwanted, unloved future generations of dogs and cats.

 Dr. Jan Rosen is the Washington Animal Rescue League’s Medical Center Director, providing veterinary care for the League’s population of rescued animals as well as the pets of Washington, D.C. residents through our income-qualified assistance program.

Feb

Philanthropic by nature, children and WARL benefit through Humane Education programs.

 

 

In December 2008 I started writing warlkids.blogspot.com, a blog for kids, teachers, and others who care about animals.   It’s a great forum to share information.  I post about the animals in my life; recommend my favorite books; and list lots of resources.

humane ed summer camp, art

Students at WARL’s Humane Education camps participate in art projects in addition to animal welfare themes.

One of my favorite updates happens regularly.  It’s when a student, or a group of kids, or an entire class does something for the animals.   The kind kids are not looking for accolades; they hold lemonade stands, bake dog biscuits, collect linens, and make toys to help the animals.

The headings read like who’s who is animal altruism.

  • Asia asked friends celebrating her 10th birthday to bring gifts for the animals at the League rather than presents for her.
  • Silver Spring Avenue Crew helps the animals at the League –The neighborhood team held a toy sale and lemonade stand that netted $171.00 for the animals!
  • Takoma Park 4-H Club designed and created cat comforters and toys, collected towels for the animals, and brought food, treats and cash for the animals.
  • Brent Elementary School’s Kids Care Service Club created a school-wide advertising campaign to highlight their linen drive.   Bags and bags and bags of much needed blankets, towels and quilts were collected at the school and transported to the League.
  • Kids get "hands on" at summer camp at WARL

    Kids get “hands on” at summer camp at WARL

    Chevy Chase Elementary School’s after school program students delivered gourmet dog treats to the League in brightly colored bags during spring break.

  • Grace Episcopal Day School Girl Scouts Troop 5602 created toys for shelter cats out of baby socks and catnip.
  • Swanson Middle School students collected TONS of towels and blankets and baked tasty treats for our resident dogs.
  • The Lab School of Washington students collected boxes full of linens for the animals.
  • Lafayette Elementary School donates nearly 200 lbs. of food to the Rescuers Food Bank!
  • Proceeds from Brownie Troop 2888’s cookie sales benefited the animals.
  • Temple Shalom 7th Grade Mitzvah Project – raised more than $300 for the animals, plus a large collection of linens, and cat and dog food and treats were delivered by the students and their families.
  • Edmund Burke 6th graders raised $413.01 through ticket and popcorn sales for a movie night benefiting for the animals.
  • Beth El Kindergartners collected towels, blankets and treats and baked cookies for the animals.
  • Washington Hebrew Congregation’s fifth grade class decorated a collection box with photos of their animals and filled it to the brim with donations for the League and Rescuers Food Bank.

A growing body of research shows that children, even nonverbal infants, are predisposed toward altruistic actions.  An October 2008 USA Today article highlighted a study by Just Kid Inc., a marketing and research firm targeting children that  found that nine out of 10 of the 2,000 kids surveyed said it is “extremely, very or somewhat important” to help others and to give back to their communities.  The animals in our care benefit tremendously from the philanthropic nature of children.   When asked why she contributed her birthday money to the League, 11-year-old Ariana Brenig said,”I love WARL! Everything makes me feel at home – the staff, the setup and the animals. I have a lot of stuff, and instead of gifts I wanted to make a difference at a place I think is special.”

Debra Duel is the Washington Animal Rescue League’s Director of Humane Education.

 

Feb

This Week’s Success Story!

 

 

 

We love getting updates from our adopters!  Here’s a great update from the new family of a lovable shih tzu, named Ethan here at WARL, but now renamed Remi.  Thanks proud parents Shayna and Jamie!

 

Dear WARL,

 

I’m writing to update you on our 2 year old shih tzu, Ethan (now renamed Remi), whom we adopted on January 12.  Remi came in with two other shih tzus,

Remi !

Remi !

Concord and Mia, but we didn’t know much about their background.

 

When I met with him in the playroom, Remi wouldn’t even look at me.  He circled the room, marked instinctively, and didn’t seem interested in human contact at all.  I was told that all three of the dogs might have separation anxiety, and that this was the reason for Remi’s behavior.  My boyfriend and I did discuss possibly adopting two dogs together, but Remi is my first dog and since we expected neither dog to be housetrained, we decided to only take Remi.  Now that he’s been home for a few weeks, you wouldn’t know that it’s the same dog!

 

 

Remi patiently waiting by the door to go out!

Remi patiently waiting by the door to go out!

 

 

First of all, we were delightfully surprised to learn that Remi is fully housebroken and crate trained!

 

 

 

 

He walked right over to his dog bed and crate and laid down on his very first night, as if he knew exactly what to do.  Slowly, his personality has also come out.  In addition to being extremely happy and playful, Remi is a smart dog and has picked up on his daily routine and knows a few commands already.

During the day, he loves sitting on the benches in the sunroom and watching the cars outside.  Since we also live near a fire station, Remi is quick to jump up to the windows and watch the action unfold whenever a fire truck is dispatched.

 

Remi keeping an eye out for fire engines!

Remi keeping an eye out for fire engines!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He also loves a good nap, and his favorite spot to do this is on my shoes–which I find adorable.

 

 

Asleep on the boots!

Asleep on the boots!

 

 

On his walks, Remi loves sniffing all the city smells, marking trees, and trying to chase squirrels in the park.  He’s gotten over his shyness, and loves greeting other dogs and trying to keep up with runners going by on the sidewalk.  He also drinks up the attention of passersby and as a result, gets frequent compliments and pets when we’re walking.

 

He still has some separation anxiety issues when he’s alone, but we’re working with him on that.  In the meantime, I enjoy having my little shadow following me around and playing at my feet all day. We feel very fortunate to have been able to add Remi to our family.  He is a complete delight and we love him very much!

 

Sincerely,

Shayna and Jamie

 

 

 

Feb

What is the single most important thing to teach your dog?

 

 

I get it, we’re all busy.  I’m busy too.  Believe it or not, I struggle to find time to train my dogs, probably similar to many of you with full-time jobs and active lives.  That got me started thinking about what is actually important.

If you could only teach your dog one thing really, really well, what would it be?

Michelle Yue

WARL’s Director of Behavior and Training Michelle Yue says teaching your dog “place training” is the key behavior for dogs to learn.

To me, it is place training.  Place training is teaching your dog to go to his place when you ask, and having him stay there until you release him with an “okay!”  The place can be a crate, blanket, dog bed, or mat.  It is hands down my favorite activity because it is truly a “cure all.”

Some ideas for when this might come in handy:

  • Dog too out of control when visitors come to the door
  • Dog barking out the window
  • Dog whining, pawing, or dropping a ball in your lap when you need some peace and quiet
  • Dog begging at the dinner table
  • Want to bring your dog to your friend’s house, but not sure he’ll behave
  • Getting your dog into the car
  • A picnic at the park with your dog
  • Eating at an outdoor restaurant where you can bring your dog or going to Starbucks
  • Getting your dog to go in the crate

To teach the “place” command, start with a plastic bag full of small, high-value treats cut into pea-sized pieces.  My favorite treats to use are dog food rolls, which look like a giant salami roll and can be cut into tiny cubes.  I love that it is dog food, so you don’t have to worry about your dog filling up on unhealthy treats.  You will also need something for your dog to go to, I really love a mat that you can fold up and bring anywhere.  Some of the crate mats work well for this.  And, lastly, your dog will also need to know sit for this exercise.

Once you have everything ready, walk with your dog over to where his mat is.  Have treats ready.  The second he steps one paw on the mat praise him heavily and drop treats one by one on the crate.  After you have praised and treated for 10 seconds, release your dog with an “okay!” and encourage him to walk off of the mat.  Repeat this step five times, on each repetition, encourage your dog to get more paws on the mat.  After these repetitions, take a break.

At your next session, review the first session exercise.  At this point, your dog should be happily going to his place and getting all four paws on the mat most of the time.  Now you can start adding the cue, “place” before you walk your dog over to his mat.

Over the course of several sessions, you should be able to begin extending the amount of time your dog will stay on his mat.  Once your dog is able to comfortably stay on his mat for up to a minute, start moving a small step back and return — praising and treating your dog for staying on his mat.

That’s it!  So simple….yet so effective in so many different situations.  Happy training!

Michelle Yue is the Washington Animal Rescue League’s Director of Behavior and Training.  She is a Certified Professional Dog Trainer, member of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers, and AKC Canine Good Citizen Evaluator, and has worked with hundreds of dogs in the Washington, DC area.

Jan

This Week’s WARL Success Stories

 

 

Meet Miss Molly and TrueLove!

Molly and Truelove 2

Molly and TrueLove enjoying their new home!

Molly and TrueLove are a pair of cats recently adopted at WARL.  They’ve found a wonderful forever home and couldn’t be happier!  Their family, the Reinhardt’s, report that they are both settled in and happily playing together! 

  

 

  

  

 

 

An Update from Rosecroft’s (now Arizona) new forever family!!

She is amazing and insanely smart!  She has already mastered all the commands our older dog took months to learn, including ringing the door bell when she needs to (or wants to!)  go out.  She tries to do everything the other dog does and they sleep and play together.  She was perfectly at home from the start.

rosecroft at home

Rosecroft is ready to play!

She is so much fun, has lots of energy, but is also a fantastic cuddler. We could not be happier. She is just INCREDIBLE! 

WARL did a fabulous job raising the litter from 3 weeks old to being well-adjusted puppies. Rosecroft was the last one to go at 5 months and we are so happy we picked her.  When she sleeps- man on man she sleeps *hard*.  And there is nothing she loves more in the world than sleeping with her Daddy, Mommy, or sister.  Also- she loves to sleep in the strangest positions.  She’s so bendy it’s like she has no bones!

rosecroft asleep with dad

Rosecroft enjoying her new home and family!

Oh yes- and she loves sticks… who ever invented “sticks” is totally her hero!  Today she tried to bring a 4 foot long stick into the house… as you can imagine it was pretty adorable.

 

Naphtali and Joshua

 

Jan

You helped in 2012 and we need you again in 2013!

2012 was a very successful year for the Washington Animal Rescue League on many levels.  With the help of our many donors, we were able to raise over $3,072,000 in support of our efforts to rescue, rehabilitate, and rehome animals that have nowhere else to go. 

This generosity allowed us to do so much in 2012:

  • 1,713 dogs and cats found loving new homes;

    Dumpling1

    Dumpling visits WARL’s Medical Center, generously funded by donations from people like you.

  • 93 dogs and 10 cats were rescued from puppy mills and hoarding situations in four states; 
  • 6,000 animals and their families benefited from our various services including our low-cost vaccine clinics, the food bank, and our Medical Center that serves income-qualified clients;
  • We increased our community involvement with additional adoption and fundraising events, such as our Mega Match-a-thon and Yappy Hours. 

I am confident the League will continue to grow and serve even more animals and members of the community this year.  That is what sets us apart – our care and commitment to the health and well-being of the animals in our care, and our focus on finding them excellent homes and families.

Adoptathon80

Another successful adoption at WARL.

What you may not know about WARL: We do not receive any public or taxpayer funding. We exist solely from the generosity of individuals, foundations, and local businesses.  Our top adoption fee (for a pure-bred puppy) is $300, but we spend an average of over $800 on each shelter animal in our care, and we have new dogs and cats coming through our doors every day.

Interested in supporting the League in 2013?  Here are a few ways you can give:

  • Make a donation today.  You can select a one-time or monthly donation in any amount.
  • Check out our wish list.
  • Spread the word!  Like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter (@WARLDC), subscribe to our eNews, and forward our messages to your friends and family.
  • Sponsor an animal in lieu of a gift for a friend or family member and we will send either a handwritten card or an eCard in their honor/memory.
  • Attend our events!  This year we are planning a variety of exciting events which will be posted here: http://www.warl.org/news-events/events/.  We hope that you will join us!
  • Even more ways to give are listed here on our website

This year, more than ever, your support will be critical in helping care for thousands of homeless dogs and cats.  Here’s to another successful year – we can’t do it without you!

-          Kyle Carter, Director of Development

 

Jan

This week’s WARL Success Stories

 

 

We receive wonderful stories from our adopters every week.  We wanted to share two of them from this week’s mail:

Hello to our friends at WARL!

rosalita

Rosalita (now MJ) enjoying toys at her new home!

My name is Renee Valdez.  My Honey, Scott, and I went to WARL a couple of weeks ago with the intention of possibly adopting a puppy, preferably Don Juan or Jelly Bean.  But, obviously, there was a different plan for us. 

Scott was leery about adopting a dog, especially a pitbull, who was not a very young puppy so we had not been looking at older dogs…then, Rosalia gently nudged at our hearts, just as she continues to do everyday! 

We took her out for a visit the afternoon we were there and immediately, she warmed up to Scott, totally melting his heart.  We also visited with Jelly Bean and Don Juan, and spent a little time with Garnet,  her sister.  When we got home that evening, and for the remainder of the week, we just couldn’t get Rosalita out of our minds.  I returned for a visit the following Saturday to visit Rosalita and see if that feeling we had initially was still there…it was!    We had fallen in love with her! I spent some time (WARL Animal Caretaker) Tina talking about Rosalita and the realities of adopting a 1-year-old pitbull. We decided to invite this energetic puppy into our home…

 I picked up Rosalita, now MJ, on Tuesday, January 15, 2013.  She was so excited to leave the shelter and the staff were just wonderful! 

I am writing this note on the evening of Friday, January 18, 2013.  Since MJ has been with us, she has been absolutely LOVABLE!  We take her out on lots of walks and we invested in several KONG toys, which she loves!  We are potty training her and she is doing quite well, minus a few mishaps, but she is learning.  Most importantly, she is happy and healthy!  She has THE BEST personality and makes us laugh!  She is loving and just a joy to be with!  We both are so grateful that she noticed us that day we went to the shelter and picked us to be her family!  We love her and are excited about the days to come!

 Thank you to all the WARL staff!  We’ll see you soon!

 Renee F. Valdez, M.A.

 

Meet Massachusetts (Now Brady):

Massachusetts

Massachusets (now Brady) has a new home!

We want to thank WARL for allowing us to have Brady (formerly Massachusetts) in our lives.  He fits in perfectly to our little family.  He is such a cuddler and gets along well with his sister, Piper (formerly Hazel), who we also adopted from WARL back in January 2010.  We have had Brady now for a month and a half and he is adjusting well and even lost some of the weight he gained during his 3-month stay at WARL.   He was a whopping 7.5 lbs when we adopted him!  We are certainly doing our best to keep him healthy and happy :)

 Here is a photo of Brady.  Our sincere gratitude to WARL for giving us such amazing babies.

 Thank you,

The Mavers

Jan

Update from WARL’s Team in NYC/Sandy Relief: Some good news for the animals!

Note:  WARL sent a team of four people to assist the ASPCA care for animals made homeless due to Hurricane Sandy.  They have been in New York for the past week.  Following is their latest post:

The past couple of days have been busy for the animals.  Over the weekend we had many people come in to visit with their dogs.  They are obviously relieved that their dogs are being cared for and given lots of  T.L.C. while they focus on putting their lives back together.  But you can still see the longing in their eyes, wishing that their family was whole again. On the other side of the building, eleven cats are put into carriers and are driven across town to the ASPCA adoptions center where they are now waiting to meet their forever families. 

It is always special to me to see the reunions.  Paws pouncing, tails wagging and human eyes a little teary.   One gentleman walks two hours everyday to visit his dog, a handsome  white Dane mix.  He talks to the dog, sings him songs and then they work on some obedience.  Another lady speaks to little elderly dog in Russian while feeding him his very favorite treat, — carrots.  One exuberant woman shares the news with her two dogs that she has found the perfect apartment.  Now they just have to be patient a little while longer, if they are lucky and get this apartment, they will all be together again.

Then I look around at the dogs who haven’t seen their people.  And I wonder how scared and lonely they must feel.  Wondering if today will be their day….

Sure, we are giving them extra enrichment.  Chew sticks and special recipe KONGS to pass the time.  They get one-on-one time with humans to relax and get a belly rub or to burn off some extra energy on a run around the block.   They might have a good game of tug or learning basic manners, even learning a new trick.  But, they know …  it’s not home and I’m not their real family. 

Well, today may be that day for them.  Today approximately 13 cats and dogs are being loaded on to a transport vehicle provided by the ASPCA and are about to embark on a journey.   The start of a new chapter in their lives that will take them to Washington DC and the Washington Animal Rescue League.  Now it’s your turn to complete their “happily ever after,” come visit these dogs and cats, maybe you’ll meet your perfect match.  If you can’t adopt, consider sponsoring one of these animals’ stay at WARL until their new family finds them. 

–Lisa Stemcosky

Lisa Stemcosky , who has been on the ground in New York with the ASPCA for the past seven days, started at WARL in 2009 as a volunteer.  During her time as a volunteer, she worked closely with both our medical center and our behavior and training staff.  Lisa is also a WARL Certified Dog Trainer.  She began employment at WARL as the volunteer manager and helped to quadruple the existing program.  At the end of 2012, she transferred into the training department where she can pursue her true passion of canine and feline behavior.  She will be testing for her Certified Professional Dog Trainer certification in 2013.  Lisa will return to the League’s facility today with the animals.