Barclay – Center of Attention

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

barclay_boomerang-7

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.

 barclay_boomerang-21

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.

barclay_boomerang-12

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!”

 barclay_boomerang-23

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.

barclay_boomerang-31

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”

 

Three Tails, Six Sets of Whiskers, Twelve Pink Paws = Three Magical Friends David, Erin, and their cats Larry, Nora, and Nick

nicknoralarry-45

David and Erin are two of the many people out there who realize how many cats there are living on the streets, in shelters, and in rescue organizations that are waiting to find their forever home. Ollie’s Place happens to be in their neighborhood, and they used to pass by all the time. Whenever they did, they saw the sweet little kitties staring out at them through the window. One day they decided to walk in. They didn’t expect that they would be walking out with melted hearts and adoption papers.

 nicknoralarry-66

In total, David and Erin now have three cats from Ollie’s Place – Larry, Nora, and Nick. According to Erin, Larry spent time living on the streets in Pine Barrens, NJ. Ollie’s Place worked for several months trying to capture him, and finally one day while he was running after a mouse, he ran right into the trap. He was taken to Ollie’s Place and as Erin put it, “he became a bouncer for Ollie’s – checking IDs at the door, keeping the peace, and distributing kisses to any and all.” I guess all of his time on the streets made him the tough guy! Nick and Nora came to Ollie’s place after they were born behind a Chinese restaurant. Erin says “they traded chicken lo mien and general tso’s for hearty meals of kibble and bits.”

 nicknoralarry-52

David and Erin took home Larry and Nora first as they decided that two cats would be the right number. Only a few months later, after Nora “put a guilt trip on her humans for having left her pale male brother behind”, they went back and got Nick. All three cats are doing great at home. Nick has a habit for jumping onto dressers and knocking into small items on the ground. Larry has a tendency to jump inside the refrigerator every time it opens. And Nora likes to wake David and Erin up by jumping on their heads in the morning. Besides these antics, David and Erin say that their manners are “perfectly delightful” and that you would never know they were living on the streets.

 nicknoralarry-33nicknoralarry-38

David and Erin feel as if these three cats have had a major impact on their lives. They can point to five specific things that have changed since these three kitties came into their home: First, they said that there is less room in the bed. Second, it’s now a little harder to sleep in on the weekends. Third, they now keep small patches of grass in little pots here and there in the apartment. Fourth, hair clips can never be found when they need to be (more a problem for Erin than David!). Last, but most important, they now come home every day to “the happy pitter patter of little dancing cat feet.”

 nicknoralarry-10nicknoralarry-12

Both David and Erin could not imagine not sharing their home with “three tails, six sets of whisker-beds, twelve pink paws, and three magical friends that go meow in the night…..and every other time of day!”

They both feel that Ollie’s is so loving and caring and friendly. What drew them most to Ollie’s Place is the fact that it is a no-kill rescue organization. “When a cat is in a dire situation, there is no better place for them to end up while waiting for their forever homes.” By taking in these three kitties, they feel that all they have done is free up space for more cats to come and wait for their families to take them home.


nicknoralarry-1 nicknoralarry-3

Rescuing Animals: Eren’s Leading Role

eren-3

For as long as she can remember, Eren has been rescuing animals. She remembers that when she was a little girl, she would cry whenever she saw pets in their cages. She has had pets that have come from the pound, rescued from other people that no longer wanted them, the side of the road, and even from a box in front of a grocery store. Eren’s first NYC dog rescuing experience was a pit-bull she found in Spanish Harlem laying on the street with a broken leg. She took him to the vet and he had an operation to put a steel rod in his leg. Once he recovered, he was an active, loving dog who loved to chase balls and sticks around for the rest of his life. Since then, Eren has been a pit mom! Eren’s first NYC cat rescuing experience was when she came across a man who had a pillow case full of kittens he was planning to dump in the Hudson River. She has had cats ever since, sometimes even two at a time.

Eren has always believed that rescuing is the “morally correct” thing for people to do. In fact, she estimates that between her and Jon, throughout their separate lives, they have had a combined total of at least 14 different rescued animals. Now, as a couple, they have two – a pit-bull named Terry and a cat named Benito.

eren-7

Terry came to them through the ASPCA. With no real understanding or clear reason, Terry had been returned to the shelter three times before finding her forever home. It may have taken a little crate training and discipline, but Terry had no major issues that would provide any indication on why she was returned.

When they decided to look for a cat, the criteria was somewhat specific – they needed one that was “dog friendly”. Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place was one of the hits. Eren had always seen the Mighty Mutts van in Union Square and their setup inside of PetCo. When she got her first Pit a number of years ago, she actually used information from Mighty Mutts’s website to help her navigate the joys and troubles of owning a Pit. So when they saw the video of Benito on the Ollie’s Place website, they knew they had to meet him.

 eren-25

Benito came to Ollie’s Place after spending some time out in New Jersey. His backstory is a bit of a mystery, but it left him a little anti-social. There were lots of people rooting for him to find a home, and it seems as if he did well with Eren and Jon. Benito is really relaxing into his environment. He likes to sit in the window sill and stare out or lie in the middle of the floor gently swishing his tail back and forth. Everyone still seems to be figuring each other out. Eren said that “he is slightly moody and a very indignant cat. He observes his humans and the dog with such superiority! Like any proper black cat would do!” But, Eren feels that with time and patience, it is all worth it. She said that “No matter, what the challenges or problems have been with pets, every day with them is worth it- after all, it is also really hard to train humans.”

Eren also told me that in some way, she feels that all of the animals have actually adopted her. She said that with all of the crazy NY roommates, apartments, and relationships, her pets have helped her through. “I know that I could not have made it through all these years alone in the Big Apple without my four legged saviors who kept me sane (well by NYC standards anyway) and loved.” She also said that she would absolutely rescue again and that even though some of the animals that have come into her life had some health problems or left prematurely, every day they were with her was worth it. Her philosophy is: “I believe that rescued animals understand that they are rescued. They have chosen us. They in effect have rescued us. When we are humane, we are in essence more human.”

eren-13

When it comes to adopting a rescued animal, Eren feels that an organization can be a great aid in starting people off with the right support and initial health costs. Knowing a little about the pet’s backstory also helps understand the psychological profile of the animal. Knowing these facts, in her mind, are “crucial to making a furry companion as happy as they make us.” All of these factors, combined with organizations that spay/neuter and vaccinate animals helps take some of the financial burden off as well.

With respect to Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place, Eren believes that the organization is “awesome with a great reputation.” All the people involved with the group that she has met reflect that. She said that people who work in places like this organization “need to have a lot of heart to speak for those who can’t speak for themselves. It takes special people to take in rescued animals, but it takes really special people to make sure the animals and humans find each other!” Eren and Jon are glad that Terry, Benito, and all of their previous pets all found them.

eren-2

Ten Years and a Houseful of Pets: Ed, Fred, Daisy, Sebastian, and Terin

ed-8

For Ed, the decision to go to a pet store or a rescue shelter was never a question in his mind. He believes that you do not go to a pet store or a breeder knowing that there are so many loving animals waiting for homes in shelters all over the world. He adopted his first cats from the SPCA, before he knew about Mighty Mutts & Ollie’s Place. Back in early 2004, Ed came across an article in the NY Daily News that talked about a new cat adoption center called Ollie’s Place. He read the article but didn’t really give it any further thought. Later that year, Ed found himself out of a job so he decided that he wanted to give back and volunteer his time. He was talking to a friend of his who brought up the idea of volunteering at Ollie’s Place. This past July, Ed marked his ten year anniversary being a volunteer for Ollie’s Place.

Throughout these past ten years, Ed has adopted numerous pets from Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place. Below are the stories of the dog and three cats he currently has:

Fred – Ed adopted Fred in November 2004, shortly after he started volunteering at Ollie’s Place. Fred was a “good sized”, orange and white tabby. At the time, he was somewhere around 3 or 4 years old. Ed remembers that Fred was in one of the crates lower to the floor. He told me that when he went down on his hands and knees to say hello, Fred came running from the back of the crate, head-butted him, and then started to rub his face against Ed’s cheeks. The behavior was somewhat strange since Fred seemed to be disengaged from other cats and people and would spend a lot of time in his crate. That interaction was enough for Ed, and Fred became his first adoption from Ollie’s Place. Now, Fred is a senior cat. Ed says “he follows me around, sits on my lap at night, and talks to me in his high-pitched, squeaky voice. He even begrudgingly shares the pillow with me at night!”

 ed-12

Daisy – Ed took Daisy home in October 2010. To Ed, this was the most unexpected addition to the family. It had nothing to do with him not necessarily looking for another pet. It is because Daisy was a dog – Ed’s first ever. A month before, Ed was volunteering at Ollie’s Place when Mighty Mutts volunteer, Irene, came in with her foster dog, Daisy. She needed to take care of something for only a few minutes so she asked Ed to keep an eye on Daisy. He fell in love. Not just with Daisy, but with Beagles in general. Before coming to Mighty Mutts, Daisy was taken from a home where people were being abused. Ed attributes Daisy’s fear of loud noises to being in that environment. After giving it some thought, and considering how having a dog would play out in the home, he decided to take a chance and adopted Daisy. He was lucky – he believes that his cats think of Daisy as a larger version of them and therefore they all seem to get along well. While he never planned to have a dog, Ed can honestly say that his life would not be as rich without Daisy. He says that she is the “sweetest and most loving creature he’s ever met.”

 ed-3

Sebastian – Sebastian and his sister Viola came to Ollie’s Place after their previous owner passed away and there was nobody that could care for them anymore. Since they had spent their entire lives together, the hope was that they would be adopted as a pair. This proved to be difficult as they were roughly 11 years old and it is hard enough as it is to get older cats new homes – let alone two together. Unfortunately, over time, Viola became ill and rather than let her suffer, the difficult decision to put her down had to be made. Sebastian’s loneliness was obvious to Ed. Having lost two of his cats at home, Ed decided that he wanted to give Sebastian a new home and new siblings to cheer him up. So in March 2012, Ed brought Sebastian into the family. He was immediately accepted by Fred and Daisy. In fact, as soon as Sebastian came into the apartment, Daisy went over and licked the side of his face – they have become good friends ever since. Ed says that Sebastian is a good cat, but is also the bossiest and has to be watched a little more than the others.

 ed-28

Terin – Terin is Ed’s newest cat. Back in February 2011, Terin was adopted by another family. While Ed was happy he was going home with someone, he always loved playing with him when he would volunteer. Last summer, Ollie’s Place received notice from the owners that they were going to return Terin (per the written agreement built into every adoption contract). Ed did not have the heart to let Terin go back into a cage so he talked with John and made the decision to adopt. Ed’s luck continued and the rest of his pets had no problem letting Terin into the family. Ed describes Terin as “very intelligent” and that he shows “just the right amount of defiance to Sebastian.”

 ed-23

Throughout his time at Ollie’s Place, Ed also adopted two other cats that are no longer with him. Both cats were older and had their health challenges. But, that did not stop Ed from providing them the love and support they needed – including the financial burden that came along with each. Jake passed away in 2008 after a battle with cancer. The other one was Sascha, a Russian Blue that was about 12 years old when he got her. She was found dumped by the side of the road. Ed knew that she had health issues, one that even led to her losing a leg. But, Ed continued to make sure that Sascha had the best life. She was about 17 when she died.

With all of the animals that Ed has brought into his home, other than the occasional accident in the apartment, there have not been too many challenges. He said one of the things about having both cats and dogs is that “when you have a dog, it’s like a game to keep the dog out of the cat food, but it becomes good exercise chasing them around.”

Ed’s passion, loyalty, and commitment to giving these animals the best life possible is clear. He is also deeply committed to the principles of Mighty Mutts and Ollie’s Place. He has always adopted older cats, which sometimes means more medical issues than a kitten, but he feels he is equipped to deal with those issues. He also believes “there is something special about growing older with an older cat or dog – they love you in a special way.”

Ed believes that having a dog or cat helps him stay grounded and focused on what is important- sharing love. He says that “even when you are tired, or beat down a cat or dog loving you just makes the whole world seem better.” In addition, another benefit for him is that having a dog means getting out of the house and meeting other people and their dogs. He has also learned to be more patient as a result of both the volume of animals he has and the various challenges he faces with the pets he brings in.

 ed-21

He knows that he will adopt again when the timing is right. Despite the rare frustrations with the various behaviors, the love and joy he has experienced with his pets are an important part of his history. They have left him to be more concerned about the well fare of others – cats, dogs, and humans.

He also feels that it’s important to adopt from an organization like Mighty Mutts/Ollie’s Place because these groups are the ones who give these animals a second chance and loving home. So many of them come in abused or neglected and they don’t trust people. Mighty Mutts helps these animals overcome that fear and they take the time to find them the perfect home to call their own. In his time volunteering for Ollie’s Place, he has seen so many timid cats that are emotionally scarred blossom into sweet loving animals that bring joy to their humans each and every day.

ed-1

Second Chances: Michael, Suzy, Cosmo, and Rupert

rupert_cosmo-19

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.

rupert_cosmo-6

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.

 rupert_cosmo-48

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.

rupert_cosmo-45

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

 windowcat

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.

 danny

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.

 danny2 copy

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.

 Bad Cat10 copy

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.

shelby2

Chasing Shadows: Christine, Finn, and Lulu

arax-18

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.”

 arax-8

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!

 arax-1

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.

arax-14