Category Archives: Adopted Animals

Whatever Lola Wants…

A Rabbit Success Story

by Nikki Senecal

After finding a rabbit on Petfinder, Steven Calvanese and Kristen DiRado filled out the ACDC application. Lori, ACDC’s rabbit coordinator, contacted them with disappointing news. Three other families were interested in that particular rabbit. After a conversation where the affianced couple explained their lifestyle and pet ownership experiences, Lori suggested they meet Sally.  Kristen checked online for a photo of Sally, and fell in love with her coloring and her big, floppy ears.

“When we met her in person, her personality melted our hearts!  She immediately hopped up to me and Steven, happily greeted us, and then began playing without a care in the world.  She was very funny to watch, as she is extremely inquisitive. “

Growing up, Kristen had small animals, like hamsters, because of her allergies to cats and dogs.  Her family had rescued a very sick rabbit when she was young, and she noticed the fur didn’t bother her.  “Steven always had cats growing up, and I could tell he missed having a pet. “

Like many adopted pets, Sally has had a name change. After learning just how particular their new rabbit was, “we started calling her Lola; for whatever Lola wants, Lola gets!”

Lola receiving love in her new home.

Lola, Kristen says, is a character.  “She is determined and quite the risk-taker.  She is a champion hopper; one day I had turned around for a second, and then found her standing on top of her 30″ high house!  Although she looked very happy and proud, the thought of having to be rescued has stopped that from happening again.”  Lola likes to run up the stairs and dance and hop up and down the upstairs hallway.   After her bunny marathons, she likes to cuddle.  “If I lay on the floor, she’ll touch my nose to hers, lie down and fall asleep.  And no matter what she is doing, the minute you start petting those cheeks, she plops down and the world stops.  Of course stopping is not up to you; you get attacked by licks until you start again.”

Lola’s quite an ambassador as well. Kristen’s nieces are afraid of animals, but “It’s been nice to see my nieces interact with her.  We helped her by giving her a ‘furever’ home, but now she is helping my nieces understand animals more.”

Kristen recommends rabbits for those who have done research about rabbits and determined rabbits would fit with their lifestyle “Rabbits are not cats or dogs. Rabbits require space and attention.  But if you do your research, and love your bunny, you will be loved back, unconditionally.”

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Zippy’s New Home

Rabbits express joy by doing “binkies.” For those new to rabbits, binkies are when bunnies hop into the air often twisting midair and flicking their feet and heads. (Check out YouTube.) And since Zippy has gone to live with Amanda Mechlin and Mike Crowley in King of Prussia, he has been showboating not only with binkies but with his speed. “He likes it when we sit on the floor with him and he gets very excited and shows off.  He likes to come right up and let us pet him, and then he is off again! He is so fast!” says Amanda.

Zippy lives in Amanda and Mike’s living room where they can enjoy his company.  “It brings us so much joy to watch him run and hop around and do binkies.” When he’s not running around the room he likes to relax in a comfortable laid out position.

Amanda has always had and loved pets, which she feels are part of the family.  Growing up she had rabbits, “I always found them sweet and cute.”

When she saw Zippy’s profile, “I just fell in love with him.  I had never seen a rabbit with such unique colorings and a ‘lion’ mane!” When Amanda showed Zippy to her fiancé, Mike, he declared Zippy was “magnificent.” And the adoption process began.

Amanda describes Zippy as a “very charming little rabbit.” A fan of cilantro and romaine lettuce, Zippy also enjoys blueberries as a treat.

“I love spending our evenings with him. He has just made us so happy, and I can tell he is happy too!”

Amanda and Zippy

Please join the Animal Coalition of Delaware County in our support of the “Make Mine Chocolate Campaign” again this Easter. Rabbits, social but often fragile creatures, do not make good pets for small children.

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Older is Wiser

Frida is a well-mannered adult.

My friend the primatologist once told me that young mammals appear cute to humans so that we’ll take care of them. (We evolved to appreciate the “cute” characteristics rather than the other way around.) Who doesn’t want to cuddle a kitten or rub the belly of a new puppy?

This is part of what makes older animals so hard to adopt. They no longer possess the attributes (big heads, playfulness, clumsy maneuvers, etc) that pull on our heartstrings. When kittens fill up the shelters, older cats are often sacrificed to make room for the “more adoptable” kittens, and by older, we mean cats sometimes as young as one—those who’ve lost their kitten-appeal.

But there are many good reasons to adopt older cats:

  • Adult cats are neutered and have had their shots; they are generally trained to use a litter box
  • What you see is what you get—you know what the cat will look like, what her size will be, and what her personality is.
  • Whether teething or just exploring, kittens can be very destructive chewers. Adult cats typically chew less, if at all.
  • Kittens tend to get into much more trouble. They climb you or your curtains, fall from high places, and knock over collectibles like your mother’s Belleek (ask me how I know). Adult cats have manners.
  • Older cats require less time and energy. Give them some quality time each day, but not your entire day. They are usually content to curl with you and snuggle in for a long nap.
  • While adult cats groom, kittens are just too busy exploring to clean themselves properly.
  • Adult cats may sleep with you or in their own cosy spot but they are generally happy to sleep when you do. Kittens often run around through the night, doing anything possible to wake you up for fun and games.

Relinquished cats aren’t “defective” There are lots of reasons cats ends up in shelters: family members developed allergies, or the owner is moving to assisted living, or the landlord said the cat has to go. They weren’t bad cats; they were just with the wrong people. But an adult cat might be the right cat for your family:

  • For homes with small children: a young adult. Little kids are often much too rough with kittens. Adult cats are better equipped to deal with kids. The wily cats can generally escape from children and hide.
  • For working people: young adult cat. Kittens become bored and mischievous when left home alone, but older cats know how to entertain themselves.
  • For senior human: senior cat. Older cats often end up in shelters because their human companions have died, and no relatives or friends wanted to take them in.  Senior cats are perfect for senior citizens who might pre-decease a younger cat.
  • For a household with a senior cat mourning a companion: another senior cat. A natural choice because older cats don’t tolerate the stress of a new kitten. With careful introduction, you can find companionship for your aging cats.

Older cats are grateful for a second chance at a loving home, and when you adopt them that gratitude is showered on you. If a senior cat is right for you, please check out Maggie; if a young adult will complete your home, consider FridaBlaze, or Marcus.

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Fostering versus Sheltering: Why Adopt an ACDC Pet

by Nikki Senecal

photo by Ezgisu Atacan, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

You’ve seen the signs in the neighborhood: “Free kittens.” Dogs come inexpensively on Craig’s List. Back in the day when classrooms had furry pets like guinea pigs, your kid might bring one home for the summer. There are still many ways to get a free pet, so why would anyone pay adoption fees?

What makes ACDC’s animals stand out among the others?

  • A Known Quantity: All ACDC animals are tested for dealing with other species as well as with human children. Even before Fido is plucked from the shelter, he or she has been rigorously tested for signs of aggression. Because ACDC’s dogs have been with a foster family for an average of 60 days, there are humans who can tell you about the schedules and quirks of your new friend. One foster parent even sends her charges to their new homes with a complete dossier. Since animals can’t talk, you’re way ahead on understanding your new friend. Priceless.
  • A Healthy Animal: no pet will be adopted out who is on (temporary) medication until they have completed their course of treatment, or have had their medical issues stabilized. You only have to read the story of Nellie to see that ACDC takes the time to ensure an animal’s health prior to adoption.
  •  Socialization: the animals ACDC rescues learn to interact with humans, other animals, and new places as warranted. Dogs who are properly socialized are less likely to be aggressive or fearful. Cats who are handled regularly learn to interact with humans in a satisfying way.  Isn’t that worth paying for?
  • Training: Foster parents want an animal who is housebroken as much as you do, and they work hard to train this behavior in puppies and kittens. Older dogs might learn new tricks from their foster parents. This type of training teaches dogs to be happy and confident. Knowing tricks can help calm energetic dogs and teach them to redirect undesirable behavior.
ACDC can’t claim our animals are perfect, but they’re headed down the right path. What is that worth to you?

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The Dog that Changed a Girl’s Life

Nellie and Lucy

Nellie and Lucy agree on one thing.

By Nikki Senecal

Shortly after the Ryans lost their dog to cancer, mom Nancy began searching Petfinders for the right dog to join their family: must like cats, must be good with young children. (Younger daughter Kelsey is three.) Daughter Megan, 11, had felt the dog’s death keenly, “They had grown up together,” Nancy explained. She had looked at many, many dogs before seeing a post about Nellie. Nellie seemed like a good candidate.

On a run to PetSmart for cat food last June, Nancy and her mother, Mary Ann, happened upon an ACDC outreach event. Nellie was there. She was as wonderful in person as she seemed online. The pair raced home so Nancy could begin filling out an application for Nellie. Nana Mary Ann, who doesn’t like to drive, brought Megan back to PetSmart to meet the dog. In a school essay, entitled “The Dog Who Changed My Life,” Megan recalled the meeting: “When we got there I knew she had a monopoly on cuteness…I knew she was my type of dog.”

After a home visit, it was pretty clear that these were Nellie’s kind of people too. The match was made. After Nellie’s bladder infection cleared up, she could go to her forever home with the Ryans.

Nellie loves her littlest sister, Kelsey, and the feeling is mutual.

But a round of antibiotics didn’t cure Nellie’s problem. Veterinarians suspected ectopic ureter. While waiting for a scheduled appointment for a scan of her abdomen and bladder, Nellie began limping.

In September Nellie went to Drs. Lori Cabell and John DeBiasio for a physical exam. There was no evidence of ectopic ureter. (She did receive a prescription to control periodic incontinence.) Her hip X-rays, however, revealed dysplasia. The situation would be monitored for a few months as she matured, but it looked like surgery was in her future. Joining her forever home was pushed back again.

During this time, Nellie went to the Ryans for playdates with the family. It was during these visits they learned that she turns pink when she gets wet and how much she loves belly rubs. Dad Mark became a favorite wrestling partner. The Ryans decided to wait for Nellie, “She was such a great match for our family.”

“It was like a rollercoaster ride,” Nancy says. “Megan had really connected with Nellie, and she was devastated when she heard about the hip.” Megan sprang into action. She and her cousins collected their loose change and donated it to ACDC toward Nellie’s surgery. They even held a yard sale for the dog, with Mary Ann matching the money raised. (Donations to ACDC also covered the costs of the surgery and recovery.)

“I kept telling my daughter ‘try not to get so wrapped up in this, it might not work out.’ My mom used to ask if it was really going to happen. I didn’t want to think about it; it was too sad to think it wasn’t going to work. We didn’t want to give up.”

Nellie happily rests in the landscaping.

Finally, Nellie had her surgery. She came through with flying colors. After six long months, Nellie joined the Ryan family shortly before Megan’s birthday, the perfect gift.

Nellie may not know that she’s the dog that changed a girl’s life but she surely knows the girl who changed hers.

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Oh Mickey You’re So Fine!

By Mandy Buhle

It has been said that cats have an innate ability to always land on their feet when they fall, no matter the height or angle. Here at Animal Coalition of Delaware County, we can proudly say that we have proven that to be a true statement! Don’t worry, we haven’t gone crazy and and started tossing cats out the window. We like to think that all cats will find a furever home, regardless of the circumstances. Mickey, a Himalayan rescued by ACDC, is such a cat. He came from a great home where he was well cared for by a woman who, due to illness, sadly became unable to care for herself or Mickey very well. As much as we all would hate to give up our own pets, sometimes misfortune happens and we are forced to make hard choices. The wonderful upside to Mickey’s story is that his owner loved him so much that she called ACDC and asked us to place him in a new home.   There are many options for rehoming a cat-some less savory than others, but by calling us, Mickey’s owner knew that Mickey would be cared for and loved until he found his next furever home, no matter how long it took. We are delighted she chose to share her adorable, beloved Mickey with us. Continue reading

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My Cat Has What?

By Betsey Cichoracki

Herpes. Ever since high school health class that word has prompted “ewws” and “gross!” in the minds of many. So when our vet informed me that our cat Coal has herpes, I thought “ewww” before even learning what feline herpes really is. Turns out a herpes virus means many things among many species. Continue reading

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Life Is Like A Song

After two years in ACDC's care, Charlie found his forever home, where he is clearly quite content!

By Nikki Senecal

Two years is a long time to wait, but Charlie (aka Charlie Choo) has, at last, found his forever home!

When Charlie came to the Animal Coalition of Delaware County (ACDC), he was diagnosed with Immune Mediated Hemolytic Anemia (IMHA), a blood disorder in which the body’s immune system attacks and kills its own red blood cells. At diagnosis, Charlie weighed just over seven pounds, was severely jaundiced, and was not eating. He went home with Kim Butler, ACDC’s cat director, because she, unfortunately, had direct experience dealing with her own cat’s IMHA.

Cats with IMHA have to get blood drawn regularly to check “packed cell volume” (PCV). Normal cats fall into the range of 37-44, Kim explained. Charlie’s PCV was as low as 19; while not good, he wasn’t a candidate for blood transfusions. With medication, paid for through donations to ACDC, Charlie’s numbers eventually fell into the normal range.

When he was adopted he had been off all medication for three months. Still, Kim says, “he will still need his blood checked every few months to make sure he’s holding at a stable pace.”

At Last
Enter Melissa Lane, a volunteer at the PetSmart at Marple Crossroads. Melissa became involved with ACDC after her feline companion of 10 years, Alice, passed away due to kidney failure. At that time, she was moving in with her boyfriend, Stephen Hostetter, and his dogs, and says, “I pretty much gave up on the idea of having a cat because of the dogs.” So she decided instead to volunteer to help find homes for cats to satisfy her desire to be around cats. “At first, volunteering made me sad, but after a few times, I really enjoyed getting to know the cats there.”

Melissa came to know Charlie during her shifts at the adoption center. “I knew that Charlie was a sweet, mellow, beautiful cat. I also felt a lot of compassion for Charlie because I knew that it would take him longer to find a permanent home because of his previous health problems.” Melissa felt he deserved a good home. She even knew of one: hers. But she worried about mixing dogs and cats.

One Sunday afternoon, that changed. “Karen Bates was in the center trimming Charlie’s nails and cleaning his ears, and we got to talking about the possibility of having a cat in a house with two young huskies. She told me about having the dogs cat-tested and the rest is history!” In order for Melissa and Stephen to adopt a cat, the cat would have to be an adult with previous experience with dogs. Fortunately for Charlie, he fit that description and all the pieces fell into place for an adoption.

Melissa didn’t have misgivings about adopting a cat with such a rare medical condition (it’s more common in dogs than cats). “Charlie was given a clean bill of health, and I knew that if he had any other health issues, they would be addressed immediately.”

A Thrill to Press My Cheek To
Because Charlie has such a loud purr, Melissa and Stephen joke that “he has a V8 engine in his chest.” He’s also quite a talker, “He has one drawn out meow that sounds like ‘heellloooooooooo!’” Melissa explains. At five, Charlie still plays with the energy of a kitten. He also enjoys company when he eats. “Sometimes he’ll meow at me until I join him,” Melissa reports. “Charlie is not exactly a lap cat yet, but at night, he curls up to sleep next to my head on my pillow or sleeps belly up, legs up nestled up to my torso.”

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Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

At 12 years old, Lexie, now known as Roxie, got the home she deserves!

Lexie, now known as Roxie by her new adoptive mom, came to the Animal Coalition of Delaware County after a good Samaritan found her on the streets of Philadelphia. 

When she was found, Lexie had recently had a litter of puppies and was having some problems with sores where her puppies had nursed. It turned out that Lexie was quite an experienced momma. She was 12 years old and had been having two litters of puppies a year for most of her life. Can you imagine?! Her puppies would end up for sale at a local flea market and Lexie would continue on living in the same poor conditions year after year. As a result of all this frequent nursing and inadequate weaning of her puppies, poor Lexie’s problems were chronic and she needed surgery to cure them. She also had a few broken and infected teeth from living on the streets and needed extensive dental care. And last but not least, she needed to stop having puppies.

After taking antibiotics for over a month to fight the infections from all her long standing problems, she finally had surgery and had everything fixed all at once. Her foster mom was more worried for Lexie than she was! She picked her up the day after surgery expecting to find a sore and tired senior dog that was going to need a lot of TLC to nurse her back to health. Instead, Lexie came flying through the waiting room door like a puppy herself! She was almost uncontrollable with licks and kisses and hugs for everyone. Her foster mom thinks Lexie was just so grateful not to be sick anymore and was thanking everyone the only way she knew how.

While waiting for Lexie’s scars to heal and her stitches to be removed, she met up with her new adoptive mom, who had been waiting for Lexie to become available for adoption for two months! Lexie’s new mom knew that Lexie was the four-legged friend for her the minute she saw her. She joked that they were both senior ladies and were meant for each other! These days, Lexie, now known as Roxie, is a happy girl indeed! She has been living with her new mom for almost a month.

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Blaster’s Happy Ending

Blaster with Matilka, one of the members of his adoptive family

One of our guinea pigs, Blaster, was recently adopted and is VERY happy! ACDC rescued Blaster along with six other guinea pigs that had been jammed into small cages where they couldn’t move. As a result, they were fighting with one another and Blaster’s ears were ripped. However, since ACDC rescued him and he was adopted, he is living the life of luxury with a very caring family!

Blaster’s adoptive family shared that he recently started making the traditional guinea pig sound, “aweek aweek,” meaning he has settled in and is very comfortable. His new family shared that he’s even been talking when someone walks by his cage or is holding him and said, “It’s neat to see his personality coming out.”

Many are not aware of the care these special creatures require, but Blaster’s new family did a great deal of research on guinea pig care. These are the kind of happy endings ACDC loves! Yeah for you, Blaster! Click here to see all the ACDC animals looking for homes.

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