Happy Tails: A “Little” Light

Have you ever heard someone describe a major change as “the difference between night and day”? For most people, it’s just an expression, but for a two-year-old pit bull named Little, it was reality. You see, last summer, Little and another dog, Big, were found chained up in a dark basement with no access to food or water. Thankfully, the dogs were rescued by the NYPD just in time.

When Little was discovered, she was emaciated, her coat was covered in urine and feces and she couldn’t walk. Over the next several months, staff at the ASPCA Animal Hospital helped nurse Little back to health.

Julia met Little on her first ever visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center, and she knew instantly that they were meant to be. On December 13, Julia adopted Little and changed her name to Weela.

Over the next few months, Weela’s life changed in ways we are sure that she never could have imagined: gone was the fear, darkness and sorrow. Weela loves to play games. “She makes me feel like a kid,” she says. “I love her dearly and I can’t think of living without her.”

happy-tail_a-little-light_062916_body1It is a very happy ending to a tragic story, and we can only imagine the joy Weela must feel in her new life. Big also went on to find a loving home, and the abuser in the case was charged with overdriving, injuring and torturing animals.

Julia tells us that her primary goal with Weela is “to love her as much as I can,” adding, “I feel like Weela is returning my favor.”

After years in the darkness, we are so happy that this special dog is finally getting the chance to live a sunny life. Congratulations, Weela!


Copyright © 2017. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All Rights Reserved.

Happy Tails: A Second Chance for Chandler

Sometimes, it takes a village to save a life.

happy-tail_chandler_062216_body1-leftIn New York City, multiple organizations—including the ASPCA, the NYPD and Animal Care Centers (ACC) of NYC—teamed up to ensure that a six-month-old kitten named Chandler got a second chance. The gray kitten was discovered on Rockaway Beach in late February. NYPD officers took Chandler to a nearby veterinarian and then to ACC of NYC, the second stop on his 37-day journey to a new life.

An ACC veterinarian determined that Chandler needed hospitalization and life-saving care, so in stepped Stephen Valentin, supervisor of ACC’s New Hope program. The New Hope team, with support from the Alliance for NYC’s Animals’ Wheels of Hope program, places about 15,000 homeless pets each year with 300 dedicated animal rescue organizations that eventually find the animals homes. Stephen drove Chandler to ACC’s Manhattan location and the next morning, with help from ACC’s Joe Dipalo and Ryan Denmark, he was transferred to the ASPCA Animal Hospital.
Woman with long brown hair wearing a black and white striped shirt holding a long-haired gray cat
Upon arrival, Chandler weighed just three lbs. and “was dehydrated, dull, and depressed,” reports Dr. Danielle Delfino, an ASPCA veterinarian who oversaw his treatment. Chandler remained in the ASPCA’s Intensive Care Unit for nearly a week.

Chandler’s next stop: a foster home with DonnaMarie S., an ASPCA volunteer. “He was different from our other fosters,” recalls DonnaMarie, who, along with her husband, has fostered nearly 100 animals—specializing in under-socialized and near-feral cats and kittens—over the past seven years. They nicknamed Chandler “The Dude” for his “too cool” personality.

DonnaMarie introduced Chandler to a former co-worker, Eleonora “Ellie” K., a financial case manager who lives in Queens. On April 4, she and her boyfriend, Chris K., adopted Chandler and renamed him Ethan.
Copyright © 2017. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All Rights Reserved.

Happy Tails: A Better Life for Brooklyn


Looking at Brooklyn today, it’s almost impossible to comprehend all that he’s been through. Thankfully, after recovering at the ASPCA, Brooklyn found a loving home and the very happy life he deserves. Here is his story.

Brooklyn was rescued by the NYPD in March 2014. At the ASPCA Animal Hospital, Brooklyn was diagnosed with multiple rib and limb fractures—some old, some more recent—which required three separate surgeries to repair. His broken forearm needed metal screws put in, and his hind legs, hips and neck were all fractured as well. In addition, Brooklyn’s right eye had to be removed. His left eye had a cataract and was completely blind. The poor little guy had spent most of his life in pain.

Brooklyn’s abuse also left him with emotional scars. The 7-lb. pup was perpetually nervous, frightened of new people and very wary of other dogs. Our primary goal was to find the sweet dog a loving, patient adopter who would be willing to work through his special needs. Thankfully, in July, we met Danika R.

Danika is currently in her second year of veterinary school outside of Chicago. “As a vet student, I figured I should get a dog that might not otherwise find a good home,” she says. “Brooklyn had some trust issues and needed a lot of TLC, but I was up for the challenge.” It was a perfect match, and she adopted him that day.
In the year since Brooklyn’s adoption, he has grown by leaps and bounds. “When I first got him, he did not know how to walk on a leash or go up stairs, and now he is a pro, despite his blindness,” Danika beams. Brooklyn is also a big fan of peanut butter, and, of course, his new home.

Danika says proudly, “I can truly say I know he is a happy dog, and I’m a happy mama!”

Copyright © 2017. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All Rights Reserved.

Happy Tails: Fievel Goes Home

Gray kitten with light blue collar sitting next to two orange plant pots with green leaves coming out of them.

During the summertime stretch known as “kitten season,” animal shelters across the United States are inundated with thousands of homeless and newborn cats. Although more than 2,000 kittens come through our doors each year, some, like Fievel, require extra special care. Here’s his story.

happy-tail_fievel_081716_body1When Fievel arrived at the ASPCA in April, he was less than four weeks old and weighed only a single pound. Like the other newborn cats in our Kitten Nursery, he needed to be syringe-fed warm formula every two hours—both day and night—and to receive regular brushing with a toothbrush, drying with a gentle blow dryer and consistent socialization. But unlike the other kittens, Fievel also had Feline Immunodeficiency Virus, or FIV.

Although the prognosis for FIV-positive kittens is good—many clear the infection as they mature—we knew that Fievel’s weakened immune system and need for special care might make for a difficult road to adoption. Fortunately, by the end of May, he was healthy enough to begin his search for a home. That’s when we met Gabrielle L.

On Gabrielle’s first-ever visit to the ASPCA Adoption Center, she spotted Fievel and was immediately drawn to his spunky personality.

happy-tail_fievel_081716_body3Although she was intrigued by the kitten, she admits that he still had one final hurdle to overcome; “I’m allergic to some cats, so I went back a couple of times to check on him and see how I was reacting,” she says. At some point during the course of her visits, she fell in love.

In the months since his adoption, Fievel has continued to grow and thrive.

Gabrielle tells us, “He loves when I carry him,” and after all that he’s been through, we’re sure he must be happy that she’s the one who carried him home. 

Copyright © 2017. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). All Rights Reserved.

Autumn, 18

I wish to go to Hawaii


Riley, 11

I wish to have a climbing room 


In Search of Your Purpose

HuffPo Header
Originally published in Huffington Post 7/5/17  

By Shane Power, President of 
Watertree Health, and Lisa Chau, Communications Manager of Watertree Health

Brunette female team leader talking with mixed race group of people, writes with a marker on the model of house.

This year, Tim Cook gave the commencement speech at MIT. The famous CEO of Apple admitted to a sea of new graduates and their families that it took him about 15 years to find his purpose. He kept searching for meaning while adding achievements to his resume, yet, the question remained for him: Is this all there is?

“…use your minds and hands and your hearts to build something bigger than yourselves. Always remember there is no idea bigger than this,” Cook advised before quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, “All life is interrelated. We are all bound together into a single garment of destiny.”

Purpose and people before profits.

Cook finally found his answer after joining Apple, where he realized his values aligned with their mission: To serve humanity. He noted that we should always put people at the center of our decisions — both personal and business. By doing so, you will have an enormous impact.

Unfortunately, finding one’s purpose may not be a top priority for those whose personal and professional lives are being made uncertain by technological advances. Robots are automating more and more business tasks. And, social media may be dividing us more than connecting us, and helping to create social isolation and loneliness. Skyrocketing suicide rates could become a public health epidemic.

Many of us are searching for our purpose and engagement, at home and in the office. According to The World’s Broken Workplace, written by Chairman and CEO at Gallup Jim Clifton, only 30% of Americans feel engaged at work. He found that generations younger than Baby Boomers rank their jobs equally or higher than creating a family. Because work is a greater priority to these millennials, they need more fulfillment in the office. They want to work at a company that has a clear sense of purpose of its own. One that they can embrace.

But it’s not just millennials seeking purpose – It’s people of all ages.

Maybe you have considered joining Apple in serving humanity. Or you thought about supporting TOMS Shoes’ One for One program that helps provide shoes, bullying prevention, sight, water, and safe birth services to people in need. If switching employers isn’t feasible, volunteering for nonprofits is another great resource for discovering social responsibility opportunities aligned with your values.

You may not find your purpose tomorrow, but don’t stop searching. Even some of the greatest minds and most successful executives have spent over a decade pursuing meaning in their lives. It’s not always an easy answer and the journey may be challenging, but your purpose does exist. You matter, and your actions matter.

Co-authored with Shane Power, President of Watertree Health, where Lisa works in communication and business development.