Welcome to the Scarlett Room, named after the courageous mother cat who in 1996 fearlessly risked her life as she rescued her entire litter of kittens from a burning garage, and in doing so, carved herself a heroic place in history and in all of our hearts.
Scarlett is not only the Animal League's beloved symbol of courage and heart; she also symbolizes all the cats in our Sponsor Program who face various hurdles and challenges. Sadly, many of the dogs and cats that come to us have been abused or neglected and others are injured or have chronic illnesses. To highlight these amazing pets who persevere in the face of adversity, we have created The Scarlett Room.
The Scarlett Room is a fun and informative place where you can stay abreast on all the animals in the Sponsor Program - both cats and dogs - learn about their lives, their medical conditions, and perhaps share in their experiences.
We invite you to take a peek into the lives of the Sponsor Pets of North Shore Animal League America.
Below are highlights from some of our sponsor pets...
April 27th, 2012
North Shore Animal League America is sad to report that one of our Sponsor Program cats, Buttermilk, passed away on April 15, 2012.
Buttermilk entered the Sponsor Program in 2007, suffering from Atopic Dermatitis caused by severe skin allergies. Luckily, the condition was controllable through daily oral medication, a lifelong treatment protocol.
Buttermilk spent the last five years with a wonderful adoptive family, who also adopted his best friend and littermate, Anisette. The two cats were an inseparable pair that got along beautifully.
This Easter Sunday, Buttermilk began exhibiting unusual behavior, which was of great concern to Tara, his adoptive mother. Typically a very healthy eater with a big appetite, Buttermilk refused his food. In addition, his breathing was slightly labored.
Tara immediately brought him to the Animal League’s Veterinary Center, where tests revealed problems with Buttermilk’s liver values. He was admitted to the hospital and given fluids for dehydration.
Still unable to eat, Buttermilk was put on a feeding tube in the days that followed, and the determined cat seemed to gain strength, putting back a pound of lost weight. As Tara put it, “When we visited he seemed to be back to himself again—bright eyed, curious and cuddly.”
But test results that came back on Thursday, April 12, confirmed the family’s worst fears: the precious cat had cancer. Buttermilk was too weak to endure a biopsy to determine what kind of cancer, but the hope was that he would soon get stronger and be able to undergo treatment. Sadly, he passed away three days later.
Tara asked us to share her thoughts with all of those who have loved and supported her dear cat over the past five years: “I cannot begin to explain how heartbroken I am without him in the house. As a pet owner, you know the day will inevitably come when you see your pet get old and deteriorate. I just never expected it to be this difficult. No matter how young or old a pet is, you really don’t realize just how big a part of your day they are until they are not around.”
The Animal League extends our heartfelt sympathy to Buttermilk’s family. They, along with Anisette, are deeply feeling the loss of their beloved cat. The family asked us to thank all of you for so generously supporting Buttermilk and other pets like him through donations to our Sponsor Program.
The Sponsor Team
April 6th, 2012
North Shore Animal League America is sad to share the news that one of our Sponsor Program cats, Jesse, passed away on March 17, 2012. This sweet cat joined the program in 2008 suffering from two life-long conditions: a heart murmur/heart disease and hyperthyroidism. She also had a deep corneal scar that blurred her vision.
In February 2012, Jesse was diagnosed with diabetes. After three hospitalizations to regulate her insulin dose, she had appeared to be doing well. But her foster mother reported that on March 16, 2012, Jesse had what appeared to be a mini stroke and was having great difficulty walking.
The veterinarian confirmed that Jesse had, indeed, had a stroke, which she said was unrelated to her diabetes and more likely caused by her heart condition or possibly cancer. Her foster mother made an appointment for Jesse to see a specialist for an abdominal ultrasound, since the veterinarian had found fluid in the cat’s abdomen.
But Jesse took a turn for the worse that evening, becoming extremely weak. The next day, when the veterinarian saw Jesse again, her condition had deteriorated further, and she was suffering from dehydration and a subnormal temperature. The veterinarian told Jesse’s foster mother that the precious cat’s organs were beginning to shut down and that she would not recover.
Through her sadness, Jesse’s foster mother shared this with us: “I try to console myself with the fact that she spent the last years of her life in a loving home, where she was happy and well cared for. I want to thank you for all of your help and patience in answering my questions about Jesse’s care. I could not have asked for a dearer, sweeter and better behaved animal. She was truly a blessing.”
The Animal League shares in the grief of Jesse’s foster mother. We extend our deepest condolences to her foster mother, along with our thanks to all of Jesse’s devoted Sponsors, whose generosity gave this beautiful cat the medical care she needed to live out her last years in comfort and surrounded by love.
Jesse is dearly missed and will never be forgotten.
The Sponsor Team
February 29th, 2012
A poem from Victoria’s adopted human brother:
MY RESCUE DOG
I’m a rescue dog named Vicky.
When I was rescued,
my eyes were sticky like sandpaper.
My fur was knotted and dirty,
but my tail wagged a lot.
I don’t bark much, only when I see
a cat or a squirrel do I “woof.”
Sometimes I am a couch potato,
but I get up when I see my leash.
I slurp up my food in a flash and
I have a friend named Hunter.
I’m happy to be in a home
where I am loved.
February 8th, 2012
Update on Marty: Marty’s foster mother reports that he is doing wonderfully. Marty enjoyed the hustle and bustle of the holidays even though it was very hectic at home. His mother says that is one of the wonderful things about Marty, when you have loads of time to play with him he will play and when you find yourself busy or in need of rest he will entertain himself or rest. His mother did catch him smelling and snooping around the holiday packages, but when he saw her he stopped. He’s just like a kid at heart! He loves visitors and attention from anyone and he surely gets that from his family and friends. Everyone seems to adore him. Marty and his family would like to thank his Sponsors for their generosity over the holiday season!
February 7th, 2012
Update on Xena: Emotionally, Xena is adjusting well to her new home and her new family. Her adopted mother reports that she’s eating well and loves to take her medicine. Xena also loves to instigate with her playmate, dog Max. Watching them interact with each other is amazing. When her new parent’s son came home from college for the holidays and met Xena for the first time, she didn’t leave his side. She snuggled with him every morning until he went back to school. Her new family found out that she is a pleasure on car rides. Medically, Xena is also doing well. She just had her check-up at the Animal League’s medical center. Her liver levels have improved and there are no signs of urinary infections (which she is prone to). We look forward to Xena having an active, healthy year ahead.
February 2nd, 2012
NEW TO PROGRAM! Rex is a great example of strength from within. Rescued at only 7 months old in late 2011 by North Shore Animal League America from Tennessee, Rex is safe and in good hands. No longer a burden to anyone, this gentle, black Mutt-i-gree® (mixed-breed dog) and full of life angel will have a home in the Animal League for as long as he needs to.
Upon careful evaluation from the Animal League’s veterinary staff, it has been determined that Rex has a life-long medical condition. Most importantly, there is no treatment for this condition.
Sweet Rex arrived with an infection with Canine Distemper Virus (CDV). This virus initially causes gastrointestinal upset (vomiting and diarrhea), respiratory infection and neurological signs (twitching and seizures). Rex has a residual neurologic effect called Myoclonus. Myoclonus is an involuntary twitching of the muscles. This twitching is most pronounced in Rex’s hind legs.
Sadly, he is very weak in the hind end which affects his walking. Rex needs to be carried outside to use the bathroom. His legs need to be monitored so that he doesn’t develop sores. The possibility is present that Rex’s involuntary twitching may lead to seizure activity which may develop at any age.
Exercise is an important part of Rex’s life. In order to strengthen Rex’s muscles, Passive Range of Motion is followed. In these exercises, you move Rex’s legs through their normal range of motion (extending and flexing the joints) to encourage the muscle to build. Rex is allowed to move as he can tolerate. The Animal League fashioned a custom made wheel cart for Rex’s hind legs which he is learning to perfect.
What turns all this sadness around is Rex’s attitude. He is a happy spirit, young and aware, and ready for petting and pleasing. He shows a strong desire to be like any other healthy dog and looks to anyone who will give him a chance to prove it.
Because Rex’s condition requires a commitment to his lifetime care, most small shelters would not be able to accommodate his needs. Instead, it is likely that in a small shelter Rex would be put down. The Animal League is dedicated to helping him have the best quality of life possible. Therefore, Rex was a natural choice for enrollment in the Animal League’s life-saving Sponsor Program which caters to dogs, cats, puppies and kittens with special needs. Through a small, but dependable contribution each month, you can support Rex and all the animals in our care.
The Animal League’s programs, like the Sponsor Program, help to ensure that the thousands of dogs and cats that come through our doors each year receive the something they need. We can learn from Rex and you can make a difference in his life. Your strength from within can come from your support of the animals that need you most. Please join us in continuing our mission, founded in 1944, of Rescue, Nurture, Adopt.
February 2nd, 2012
Update on Toby: Toby gets three meals a day in his feeding chair and has a voracious appetite. Unfortunately, he’s also figured out how to sneak out of the feeding chair when his mother is not looking. Suddenly, she’ll find him in the kitchen instead of in the chair where he’s supposed to be. He also makes her chase him to put him in the chair or to put on his sweater when they’re going out. Toby is no longer the aloof loner he was when he first came to his new home. He expects a lot of petting. He scratches at his mother until she does his bidding. If she doesn’t invite him under the covers at bedtime, he scratches at her blanket until she puts it over him. If he finds a pile of laundry, he’s happy to catch a few winks on top of it.
January 6th, 2012
A Few Words from Carolyn, Toby’s Mother and Guardian Angel….
If you are looking to adopt a dog but are afraid a special needs dog will be too much work, please think again. I fell in love with a picture on the North Shore Animal League America website and only after inquiring about her did I find out that she was special needs. I was too much in love with her face to give up so I asked to find out more about her.
First the scary part:
Her name was Nelle then (Zoe now) and she has megaesophagus. That means her esophagus muscles don’t do their job of pushing food into the stomach. In a “mega,” the food just sits in the esophagus until the dog regurgitates it or, worst case scenario, inhales it into the lungs. This can lead to what is called aspiration pneumonia so it needs to be avoided at all costs. Megaesophagus can also make it hard for a dog to get enough nourishment and maintain a healthy weight. Zoe weighed 14 pounds when she first came to the Animal League and 27 pounds when I met her.
Now the not-scary stuff:
She sits in a special chair to eat (canned dog food with water added), which holds her upright on her hind legs and allows gravity to move the food and water into her stomach. She stays in the chair for about 15 to 20 minutes after she finishes eating. And that’s it! Otherwise she is completely normal.
She jumps up on her chair to let me know she’s hungry or thirsty and now that she’s an old hand at it, just naps while she waits for the time to pass. She doesn’t need supervision so I use that time to get my own stuff done. Zoe currently weighs 38 pounds (down from a too-chubby 41) and wants nothing more than constant love and a good bully stick.
Zoe can’t have treats so food can’t be used for training and when she’s out for a walk, you have to be careful she doesn’t eat anything off the ground. But if she sneaks something, I just put her back in her chair when we get back home. I let her drink water at the dog park on a hot day and just take her home to her chair shortly after. I can’t leave food and water out for her but I make sure she’s well-hydrated before I leave and I keep an air conditioner on in the summer.
Dealing with a “mega” takes a little more vigilance but other than that it’s not a big deal. In fact, I recently adopted my second “mega” from North Shore Animal League America. Toby, a Chihuahua Mutt-i-gree™ (mixed-breed dog), had been there for several years off and on and been through a few major health crises, including pneumonia, hepatitis and tooth decay. Every time I brought Zoe for a checkup I would ask about Toby, hoping that he had been adopted. Finally, after two years I decided I had to give him a real home (even though he was showered with love at North Shore Animal League America).
Zoe and Toby met and a month or so later two staff members drove him to my house, with his toys, his bedding, his medicine and plenty of his special food. Toby is still on medicine to help move the food down and he has skin allergies (therefore the special food), but otherwise he is an energetic, feisty, typical Chihuahua. He has an identical chair to Zoe’s except smaller and he gets his pills with his food but otherwise the routine is the same.
Keeping a “mega” healthy is the key, but once you get the hang of it, it’ll seem as normal as playing fetch.
October 19th, 2011
Once abandoned, now safe.
Alfredo, rescued by North Shore Animal League America from a local kill shelter, is now out of harm’s way. No longer a stray, this beautiful Pekingese and full of life angel will have a home in the Animal League for as long as he needs to.
Upon careful evaluation from the Animal League’s dedicated veterinary staff, it has been determined that Alfredo has a complex, life-long medical condition.
Little Alfredo arrived with an upper respiratory infection. Chronic conditions include luxating patellas (dislocated knees), hip dysplasia, corneal ulcers and most importantly a history of seizures that we do not know the cause of. He is being treated as an epileptic with Phenobarbital medication and his seizures are well controlled. Thankfully, both his luxating patellas and his hip dysplasia do not require surgery at this time. At an estimated 7 years of age upon arrival, orthopedic problems are of concern, and could result in pain or lameness. He will be monitored closely throughout his time in our care.
Because Alfredo’s ailments are extensive and ongoing, most small municipal shelters would not be able to accommodate his needs. His care would be too costly and comprehensive. Instead, it is likely that Alfredo would be put down. The Animal League is dedicated to helping him have the best quality of life possible. Therefore, Alfredo was a natural choice for enrollment in the Animal League’s life-saving Sponsor Program which caters to dogs, cats, puppies and kittens with special needs.
Your support of the Animal League’s Sponsor Program is helping to ensure that Alfredo and many other animals in our care receive the love they need to be as happy and healthy as possible. At the Animal League, they are safe, and loving care is guaranteed. Please help us continue to provide so many animals in need with this unprecedented care.
September 23rd, 2011
July 2011 Update:
We are happy to report Ranger is doing well and is living in a very loving home. His new family couldn’t say enough wonderful things about him, “our gentle giant, Ranger, is a perfect fit for our family”. James, his adopted father said, you would never believe he is sick with melanoma. Ranger will need to be monitored closely for the rest of his life. He has an appointment for a chest X-ray in that will be read by his Oncologist. Then he will need to have regular visits every six months. Ranger is a 2-year old Black Labrador Retriever Mutt-i-gree®, very strong, loyal and cares a great deal about his new family. James said Ranger is an incredibly loving dog. His gentle nature and sweet disposition make him very charming. Ranger spends most of his time playing with the family’s young daughter. He takes extra care not to be rough with her when they play. He is also very energetic when at the dog park, but at home he is very calm and quiet.
August 2011 Update:
We are happy to report that Ranger is doing well in his new home. Ranger has become very attached to the young daughter and she is just as much attached to Ranger. They both come running when called for dinner. He sleeps in the daughter’s room and each night they go off to sleep at the same time. The family loves to run and be playful with Ranger each day. They live near an open field where many other families go with their dogs to socialize and play. He is very trustworthy and listens well to all the commands they taught him. He knows never to stray too far and is very good with other dogs and children. They learned that Ranger is terrified of fireworks and wouldn’t join the family barbeque in the yard because of all the noise. His health is good and appetite better. They have mentioned again how happy they are to have been blessed with such a loving wonderful family dog.
September 2011 Update:
Bonnie, Ranger’s adopted mother, reports that Ranger has been very busy. They have been trying to get him outside as much as possible, however, with the heat wave, it has made it difficult during the daytime hours. Ranger is walked very early in the morning and after the sun goes down at night. The family recently dog sat for a friend whose dog happened to be a black labrador – whippet Mutt-i-gree® . They were so happy that the dogs got along well that they decided to make regular “doggie play dates’. Ranger continues to run into his regular dog buddies down at the dog park and he continues to show how social he can be with other dogs as well as humans. Ranger has been eating well and maintaining a healthy weight. He continues to enjoy his daily runs in the field near their home. Ranger’s latest trick is dancing with their young daughter. When she puts on the music, Ranger stands on his hind legs and the two of them dance together. They will be taking Ranger on vacation with them soon.