Barclay – Center of Attention

Meet Andrew, and Barclay (and his brother Boomerang).

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After speaking with Andrew, the love and respect that he has for his dogs is obvious. Like everyone else involved in this project, Andrew is a firm in his belief that there is no other option than adopting or rescuing a pet. He says “there are so many shelter animals in need of a home and the majority of them never find one.” That’s why he made Barclay the second rescue dog to join his family. Five years ago, they rescued six month old Boomerang from the ACC. At five years old, they decided to get Boomerang a younger sibling. They saw Barclay in Union Square one Saturday and immediately fell in love with him.

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Barlcay’s history is all too familiar. He was left tied up outside of a vet’s office in Brooklyn, somewhere near the Barclay center – hence his name. The vet took Barclay in, examined and treated him, and then contacted John of Mighty Mutts.

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Andrew knew that dogs have a tendency to act differently at adoption events as opposed to when they are brought home – especially in Union Square. When they brought Barclay home, he had non-stop energy, no matter how long the walk or how much playing was involved. Andrew said that he just wanted to play with everything and seemed to be on “overload” with the number of toys in his basket. Andrew said he was “the epitome of a happy-go-lucky puppy.” One positive was that Barclay came housebroken and never had an accident in the house. There was also an adjustment period between him and Boomerang. In the beginning, Boomerang was jealous and did not like having to share the love, attention, and his toys. After one squabble where Andrew had to step in, they seemed to take the hint. Now, they chase each other around all day and are great together. Barclay has since calmed down and adjusted well to his new environment. Andrew says “he listens very well, is extremely loyal, and is one of the best cuddles around. It’s his favorite thing to do!”

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Since their family already had a dog, Andrew was aware of the responsibilities involved with being a parent to a four legged fur-baby. To them, the only difference is that now there are two. They feel that it is the best thing ever to come home to happy dogs that constantly make you feel good.

Andrew has said that he will always have a dog for as long as he lives and he plans to only rescue them. By doing this, he believes that he is giving them a second chance and they reward you back many times over.

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When asked how he feels about Mighty Mutts, Andrew said: “adopting from an organization such as Mighty Mutts was much different than going to the ACC, where they are simply trying to find ANY home for their animals. [With Mighty Mutts] There was an application process, including meetings and a home visit to ensure that the dog was going to a good, safe home. It shows how much the organization cares for their animals”

 

Second Chances: Michael, Suzy, Cosmo, and Rupert

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To Michael and his wife Suzy, having pets was the only way to live. He grew up with all types of animals – dogs, cats, fish, and others. His philosophy is that dogs and cats bring love and joy and always makes life better. Back around 2004/2005 he was introduced to Ollie’s place and began volunteering for the organization.

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Currently, Michael and Suzy have two cats that they adopted from Ollie’s Place. The first, Cosmo, came from an abusive home. Through observing Cosmo’s behavior, Michael was able to deduce that he was likely hit with a belt at some point in his life – if not on a regular basis. He figured this out one day when Cosmo first came home. Michael was getting dressed and just before he went to put his belt on, he dangled it in front of Cosmo in an attempt to play. Cosmo took off and hid – a clear sign to Michael that he needed to work on rehabilitating his new cat to recognize that he was now in a safe place. Despite his early life, Michael and Suzy say that this cat is filled with nothing but love. Through training, they say that Cosmo no longer fears belts and he now loves to play with them.

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Their second cat, Rupert, was part of a litter that came to Ollie’s place via John. Out of all his siblings, he was the biggest. Michael and Suzy describe him as a “giant mushball.” Aside from an odd habit of eating cloth, Rupert is a sweet, playful, and affectionate cat and he loves to play with his brother, Cosmo.

They have plans to continue rescuing pets. Michael and Suzy know that they will love him forever, unconditionally. Providing them with that second chance makes it even better.

Having been on the inside of Ollie’s, Michael has seen first-hand how much love and care the cats get, especially since Kit took over. Michael and Suzy are proud to be part of Ollie’s Place and Mighty Mutts and truly believes they are amazing organization.

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Love (Literally) at First Sight: Alexandra, Danny, and Shelby

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For Alexandra she knew that adoption was the only way that she would get her cats. With millions of healthy, beautiful loving animals at rescue organizations, she would not dream of going anywhere else. Back in 2006, she made the decision not only to adopt two cats, but also give back part of her time by volunteering with a rescue group. Her thought process was that while she was volunteering, she would get to know the cats and it would help her choose the two that she would eventually take home. Her mother happened to live right across the street from Ollie’s Place, so she was familiar with the organization and it was an easy choice for her to want to volunteer there.

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It didn’t take long for Alexandra. On her first day as a volunteer, she walked upstairs into the cat room and she met Danny. As Alexandra put it, “it was love at first sight!” Danny was about a year old when she adopted him. She recalled how she saw this big, gorgeous, tabby cat was perched up in a cat tree and how he had this goofy, but sweet expression on his face. It turned out that his looks were not deceiving – he actually was as sweet and goofy as he looked. She said the decision was easy – “I bent down to say hello to the cats below him and he stuck out his paw and tapped me on the head.” That was all she needed to decide that Danny would be hers. Since bringing him home, Danny has been sweet, healthy, and as friendly as they come.

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The second cat that she fell in love with was Shelby. Shelby was a little older – she was somewhere between eight and ten. Alexandra said that Shelby used to lounge around all day on a huge leopard print cat bed right in the middle of the floor. One day, Alexandra went over and lay down next to the bed and gently called Shelby’s name. Her head popped up, she turned and looked at Alexandra, and without hesitation she walked over and crawled into her arms.

Alexandra was lucky that these two cats had no major medical or social issues. There were the typical annoyances that come with adopting a cat – scratched furniture, early morning feedings, and litter box duty – but it wasn’t anything that a good scratching post and rearranging of a schedule couldn’t fix. Besides, those things were outweighed by the joy her cats brought to her life.

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Sadly, Shelby passed away about two years ago. She became very ill and there was nothing that Alexandra could do. She told me that she wouldn’t have traded the six years she had with her for anything in the world. Her message to anyone who is nervous about adopting an older cat is: “Don’t base your decision on the age of the animal, but the personality.” With a personality that was cordial and slightly aloof with others, Shelby loved Alexandra unconditionally.

She feels that Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place has an incredible and dedicated staff of volunteers. Her advice when making a decision is to “talk to the volunteers who know the animals well – ask questions. Spend some time meeting the cats/dogs and get to know their personalities. Consider fostering an animal first if you are unsure about adopting. There may be an adjustment period – but nothing worth doing is without its challenges. The rewards are tenfold. And a rescue animal will never forget you gave it a second chance.” Alexandra told me that she would 100% adopt again.

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Chasing Shadows: Christine, Finn, and Lulu

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Christine and her family have a long history with Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place. Shortly before 9/11, one of their family cats passed away. In November 2001, they were walking through Union Square and they met the Mighty Mutts crew. They followed up with John afterwards and ended up adopting a 4-year old cat that they named Sophie. She was a cream and white striped, British Short-Hair. This past fall, she became sick. Christine said that she spent many nights just sitting with her, petting and rubbing her. Christine said “one morning she ran into the bedroom and jumped into my arms. I held her as the bells of St. Brigid’s pealed and she passed away.” When they made the decision to get another cat, there was no question as to where they would go: Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place. She said that she has “no interest in getting a pet through a breeder or a store.”

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Christine now has two cats from Mighty Mutts: Finn (originally named Goose) and Lulu (originally named Blue Girl). Finn lived out with John at the NJ barn for many years. He is now about nine years old. Blue Girl is about two, but her backstory is unknown. Christine said that since they adopted both of these cats, they have been fortunate that neither has had any seriously bad emotional issues or physical ailments.

These two cats have changed Christine’s life. “I cannot imagine living without them – they give me great comfort and completely nonjudgmental companionship. My home seems ghostly empty without Finn and Lulu in it.” They make her and her family happy. She said they also make them laugh, sometimes falling over in stitches because of some of their antics. One of the funniest things that Lulu likes to do is jump halfway up a wall to try and catch a shadow. Christine thinks that they would love to try and catch the pigeons on the windowsill, but instead they try for shadows. I suggested to Christine to try shining a light on the wall to see if Finn and Lulu would chase it. She tried it and said that they “LOVE” it!

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To Christine and her family, rescuing again is not open for debate. She has done it several times before and she will continue to do so until she is no longer able to provide adequate care. She hopes that if and when that time comes, whoever is taking care of her takes equally good care of her cats.

Christine wishes, as so many of us do, that there was no need for any rescue organizations. However, she knows that there are literally millions of homeless dogs and cats in America and that places like Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place are crucial. She truly believes that John and his crew have done a great job and will definitely be returning to Ollie’s Place the next time she is ready to adopt a cat.

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