The ASPCA has been saving lives for 150 years. (Credit: ASPCA)
Credit: Getty Images
That PSA tearjerker really does work
♫ In the arms of the angel, fly away from here ... ♫
If watching that commercial brings tears to your eyes, imagine how Sarah McLachlan must have felt shooting it. The singer told Makers in 2015 that the advertisement helped the ASPCA receive more than $30 million in donations. So, as sad as it is, it sure does its part to help rescue animals.
How one man sparked a century-old rescue movement
You probably can't even imagine a world where the ASPCA isn't saving lives. Henry Bergh founded the nation's first and longest-standing animal welfare organization on April 10, 1866. Horrified by the animal abuse he witnessed involving New York City's horse and carriages, he was inspired to establish the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
A special team of rescue experts is always ready to respond
Every volunteer, veterinarian, trainer and rehabilitation worker helps bring smiles to the faces of thousands of pets year-round -- yes, of course, dogs and cats can smile. But 19 animal rescue experts from across the country, including NYC, are the shelter's extra-special players. They make up the ASPCA's Field Investigation and Response Team, a group of emergency responders trained to remove animals from sites of natural disasters.
The team is currently in the southern states, where they've rescued nearly 950 animals after Hurricane Matthew.
Kittens get round-the-clock care
Kittens need as much attention as a newborn baby, so the Manhattan adoption center built a nursery that specializes solely in caring for orphaned kittens and homeless cats. Staff and volunteers are around 24 hours a day to care for their every need -- just call it a rescue kitten's paradise. According to the shelter, more than 3,000 kittens have passed through the facility since it opened in 2014.
Sometimes dogs do the training
Many canine cruelty victims rescued by the NYPD come into the ASPCA's care with varying degrees of fear toward humans, depending on the circumstances of the situation they were rescued from, said Victoria Wells, senior manager of behavioral and training at the Manhattan adoption center. To show these fearful pups they're surrounded by love, they'll frequently be set up with a shelter bud who can help show them the ropes.
If a dog isn't into learning by example, trainers can help by throwing some treats, toys, love and positive reinforcement into the mix.
The ASPCA has an in with the NYPD
The NYPD teamed up with the ASPCA in 2014, marking the first partnership between NYC police and a local rescue group. Here's how it works: While the police take the lead in responding to all animal cruelty complaints, the ASPCA does more than place the animal in a new home; it handles the entire rehabilitation process, from forensic evaluations to medical treatments and training.
Since the two have teamed up, the number of rescues has tripled in NYC, according to the ASPCA.
It gets by with a little help from celebrity friends
OK, so there's a 99-percent chance that Sarah McLachlan is the first celebrity that comes to mind when you hear ASPCA. But according to the shelter, there are plenty of other A-listers who are big supporters, like Drew Barrymore, Nathan Lane, Sarah Hyland, 50 Cent, Edie Falco, Hilary Swank, Kaley Cuoco, Jason Schwartzman, Julie Bowen and Martha Stewart, to name a few. Just don't expect 50 Cent to take on McLachlan's front-of-the-house role anytime soon.
There's a vet on the move for the scaredy cats
Tricking Fido into the car with toys and treats before a trip to the vet can be exhausting for everyone. That's why the ASPCA has mobile spay/neuter clinics that'll bring certified veterinarians right to your door. Oh, and it's also because providing affordable and convenient medical care keeps pets off the city streets.
Record-breaking adoption numbers are always a reason to celebrate
The Manhattan adoption center placed 4,601 animals in their forever homes in 2015 -- that's an record high, according to the ASPCA.