The Alliance Magazine Fall 2017

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<strong>Alliance</strong><br />

Animals. People. Community.<br />

A PLACE TO<br />


<strong>Fall</strong> <strong>2017</strong><br />

Pony and other<br />

special animals<br />

find their niche.<br />




Dear Friends,<br />

Editor: Pam Townsend<br />

Cruelty/Neglect Reports:<br />

202-723-5730, press 1<br />

Cruelty reports accepted 24 hours a day.<br />

Animal-Related Emergencies:<br />

202-576-6664, press 1<br />

Main Number: 202-723-5730<br />

Adoptions (New York Ave.):<br />

202-727-5494<br />

Adoptions (Oglethorpe): Ext. 503<br />

Behavior and Training: Ext. 236<br />

Development: Ext. 315<br />

Finance: Ext. 326<br />

Media Inquiries: Ext. 267<br />

Special Events: Ext 323<br />


71 Oglethorpe Street, NW<br />

Washington, DC 20011<br />

Adoption Hours: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. daily<br />

Closed for adoptions on Mondays.<br />

1201 New York Avenue, NE<br />

Washington, DC 20002<br />

Adoption Hours: 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. daily<br />

Closed for adoptions on Mondays.<br />

Stray animals are accepted<br />

24 hours a day at New York Ave.<br />


Roger Marmet...................Chair<br />

Jay Timmons......................First Vice President<br />

Lisa LaFontaine................President and CEO<br />

Amy Meadows..................Second Vice President<br />

Gwyn Whittaker..............Secretary<br />

Hon. Mary Schapiro......Treasurer<br />

<strong>The</strong>resa Fariello...............Vice President<br />

William Herman..............Vice President<br />

Gregory Riegle.................Vice President<br />

Lauren Talarico DVM, DACVIM<br />

Nina Benton<br />

Steven Bralove<br />

Priscilla Clapp<br />

Saone Crocker<br />

Pamela DeLoach-Jupiter<br />

Jackie Dobranski, DVM<br />

Louie Dweck<br />

Colleen Girouard<br />

Anissa Grossman<br />

Leslie Harris<br />

William Harrop<br />

Joseph Howe<br />

Kenton Keith<br />

Erika Kelton<br />

Betsy Marmet<br />

Matthew Parker, MD<br />

Laird Patterson<br />

Susan Ridge<br />

Robert Rosenfeld<br />

Erica Scherzer<br />

Hon. Carol Schwartz<br />

Andrew Weinstein<br />

Charles Weir<br />

Jean Whiddon<br />

Drew Willison<br />

Jeff Wilson<br />

Lois Godfrey Wye<br />

“Special”— many people use this word to describe the animals in their<br />

lives. Usually, this adjective describes the strength and intensity of the<br />

relationship we share with them. It also may refer to an unusual or<br />

unique ability, a physical abnormality or disability, or even a singular<br />

personality trait.<br />

I am lucky to have shared my life with dozens of animals who were—<br />

and are—special in one way or another. <strong>The</strong>y include Merlin the<br />

cat and my dog Sazzy, both of whom I wrote about in my <strong>Alliance</strong><br />

message in the spring. <strong>The</strong>ir stories and situations aren’t unique. Many<br />

of my colleagues at the Humane Rescue <strong>Alliance</strong> (HRA) have—or<br />

have had—animals they describe as special.<br />

• Lauren Lipsey, vice president of community programs, rescued<br />

two street dogs in Chile. One, a tennis ball thief, lived on scraps<br />

fed to him by local children, and the other was found at the age of 2 months, scrounging<br />

for food in a trash heap on the side of the road. Although Lauren says she’d never been an<br />

“animal” person before she met Oreo and Lily, she knew she couldn’t leave them behind<br />

when she returned to the States. Not only did they go home with her, they were the reason<br />

she got into the animal welfare field.<br />

• Media coordinator Pam Townsend and her husband adopted a puppy who was frightened<br />

by many things—the sound of the dishwasher and refrigerator ice machine, umbrellas<br />

being opened, a black briefcase, plastic trash bags, to name a few—and acted aggressively<br />

toward unfamiliar people and most other dogs. Although life with Tango was a challenge,<br />

Pam says the effort involved in managing him actually strengthened the unique bond they<br />

shared. She also learned more about dog behavior than she ever imagined and met people<br />

who not only improved Tango’s life but also enriched hers.<br />

• Stephanie Shain, chief operations officer, had no intention of adopting foster kitten Mae.<br />

Rescued by Animal Control Officers, the tiny girl was found dangling from a fence by her<br />

leg, which was so badly damaged that it had to be amputated. Stephanie agreed to take<br />

care of Mae for “a few days.” But the kitten’s irrepressible spirit and joie de vivre—which<br />

remained intact throughout some post-surgery complications—made it impossible for<br />

Stephanie to give her up. Today this “small and sassy and amazing” feline lives life to the<br />

fullest with no idea that she’s different from other cats.<br />

• Like Stephanie, Alison Putnam, director of finance and administration, thought her<br />

relationship with Dolley would be temporary. She and Dolley went through more than a<br />

year of service dog training, but in the end evaluators determined that despite knowing<br />

upward of 50 commands, Dolley was too social and loved people too much to work as a<br />

service dog. Instead, she took all the wonderful training she’d received and applied it to a<br />

new “career” as a therapy dog. She and Alison visit the Armed Forces Retirement Home on<br />

a regular basis, bringing comfort and joy to both residents and their family members.<br />

<strong>The</strong>se are just a few of the examples of the “special” animals HRA staff share their lives with.<br />

You can read more about their stories, along with others, at humanerescuealliance.org/special.<br />

We also encounter special animals every day at our adoption centers. <strong>The</strong>y may look different<br />

because of a physical injury or they may have been born blind or deaf, as in the case of Pony,<br />

the dog on the cover of this issue. <strong>The</strong>y may be species that most people would never even<br />

consider as pets. Our goal is to match people with companion animals of all varieties.<br />

Not every animal is suited to life in a home, but that doesn’t mean we give up on them; it just<br />

means we have to be creative in finding them a niche as special as they are. Our new program,<br />

Blue Collar Cats, is an excellent example of such an effort. Operated in partnership with our<br />

community cat program, Blue Collar Cats is a rehoming initiative that puts cats to work—in local<br />

businesses and residences—doing what they do best, in return for food, shelter, and basic care<br />

by human “landlords.” Although only in its infancy, this program is off to a great start, with both<br />

people and cats doing well. One Blue Collar Cat named Lady Dole even received a brand-new<br />

(second!), multi-level kitty condo as a “performance reward” from her human guardians.<br />

I hope you enjoy reading about a few special animals in this issue of <strong>Alliance</strong>.<br />



By Doug Conomy and Alejandro Salinas, Adopters<br />

Nearly 3 years ago, we walked into the Humane Rescue<br />

<strong>Alliance</strong> (HRA) looking for a dog. We’d been talking about the<br />

idea for months: learning about the adoption process, reading<br />

up on dog breeds, and considering how our lives would be<br />

impacted. As we started our search, we felt confident and<br />

prepared. <strong>The</strong>n we met Pony.<br />

At just 7 months, Pony was a stunner: an Australian shepherd<br />

puppy from Alabama with a black-and-tan merle coat and<br />

a bright pink nose. He was sweet and lively and, as his<br />

information card stated in bold letters, deaf.<br />

Pony was the first deaf dog we’d come across and, despite<br />

being smitten with him, our ignorance about his circumstance<br />

gave us pause. We hadn’t prepared for this scenario: we<br />

had so many questions about care and training but no real<br />

answers. All we had was a feeling—a feeling that told us we<br />

belonged with Pony. So we took a leap of faith.<br />

With an application submitted, we left HRA determined to<br />

educate ourselves about deaf dogs. We looked at books and<br />

websites and that’s how we found Deaf Dogs Rock, a nonprofit<br />

organization dedicated to the care of deaf dogs. <strong>The</strong><br />

organization’s website has training tips, articles, testimonials,<br />

and even a directory of deaf dogs in need of adoption. We<br />

used it to learn about hand signals and unique behavioral<br />

traits—like how deaf dogs require proximity to their human to<br />

feel comfortable.<br />



Having done our homework, we felt ready for Pony’s arrival but, once again,<br />

we were wrong.<br />

Pony’s first weeks at home weren’t easy. We struggled to bridge the<br />

communication gap, unable to get him to understand us. Long walks didn’t<br />

seem to tire him and he showed little interest in training. Over time, we<br />

became increasingly frustrated and we could tell Pony was, too. When he<br />

started nipping and barking at us on walks, we knew our situation had become<br />

untenable.<br />

Right around that time, a co-worker recommended Gwen Podulka (dogtrained.<br />

com), a dog trainer and owner of a deaf dog herself. We set up a meeting but,<br />

frankly, our expectations were low. We were ready to give up. But Pony wasn’t.<br />

Within the first minutes of meeting Gwen, Pony had learned to go to his bed<br />

on command. Clearly, Pony was eager to engage and Gwen had tuned into<br />

his channel. During the hour and a half she spent with us, Gwen taught us we<br />

needed to talk in Pony’s language and not the other way around. Pony knew<br />

what he was doing all along—we were the ones who needed training!<br />

Using clear signals, constant visual contact, and high-reward treats, she<br />

walked us through several sign commands (sit, come, bed). We learned that<br />

for dogs, mental stimulation can often be more tiring and rewarding than<br />

physical activity. After the session, Pony was visibly exhausted for the first time<br />

since coming home.<br />

That session transformed our relationship with Pony. Since then, the learning<br />

hasn’t stopped: he’s mastered about 30 commands (a combination of ASL<br />

signs and our own) and growing, and has been happily doing agility training on<br />

a regular basis for more than 2 years.<br />

“<br />

We needed to<br />

talk in Pony’s<br />

language and<br />

not the other way<br />

around. Pony<br />

knew what he<br />

was doing all<br />

along —we were<br />

the ones who<br />

needed training!<br />

”<br />


Looking back, Gwen was right (she usually is) when she told us Pony<br />

was a once-in-a-lifetime dog. At the time, it was a little hard to believe,<br />

but now it’s obvious how Pony has and continues to enrich our lives.<br />

Thanks to him, we’ve challenged our assumptions about deaf dogs<br />

and discovered a passion for sharing this knowledge with others.<br />

A year and a half ago, Pony got a little sister, Puma, a deaf Catahoula/<br />

Australian shepherd mix rescue from Florida. Training has been easier<br />

the second time around, with Puma quickly picking up commands<br />

from watching and mimicking Pony. If you’d like to stay up to date on<br />

their adventures or just say hello, you can find them on Instagram by<br />

searching for the handle @pony_the_dog.<br />


New Rehoming Options for Cats<br />

By Erin Robinson, Community Cat Program Manager<br />

Jojo came to the Humane Rescue <strong>Alliance</strong> (HRA)<br />

with her litter of three newborn kittens in early<br />

<strong>2017</strong> from an area where she could not safely be<br />

returned after her kittens finished nursing. <strong>The</strong><br />

pretty black-and-white feline had a safe place with<br />

HRA to help her kittens grow up and get ready for<br />

adoption, but since she had never been socialized<br />

with people, she wasn’t interested in being a lap<br />

cat. That’s when her resume went up for Blue Collar<br />

Cats, and a local theater was matched with Jojo<br />

as their newest hire! Jojo now stalks the costume<br />

and props storage as well as the rehearsal spaces<br />

and offices, ridding the theater of their persistent<br />

mouse problem. She sometimes even gives notes<br />

on performances!<br />

Poser had lived his whole life outdoors with his<br />

caregiver in Northeast DC, and he had a pretty good<br />

life. Sadly, his caregiver passed away and there was<br />

no one in the neighborhood to provide Poser with<br />

food and outdoor shelter. So the 2-year-old tabby<br />

came to HRA to find a better outcome. Since he’d<br />

always lived outside, Poser very much wanted<br />

to continue living in the great outdoors; thus, he<br />

was paired with a new caregiver: a homeowner in<br />

Capitol Hill who previously cared for a community<br />

cat and was looking for another to help with the rat<br />

issues that are all too familiar to DC residents. Poser<br />

now keeps her backyard and alley pest free—and<br />

provides endless photo opportunities.<br />

Poser and Jojo are just two of the more than<br />

20 cats whose lives have been saved since the<br />

launch of a new HRA program called Blue Collar<br />

Cats in January <strong>2017</strong>. Felines in this program are<br />

community cats who do a great job at deterring<br />

and controlling rodents. But every so often, one of<br />

them ends up in our care.<br />

Since they’re not ideal pets, these cats would<br />

normally be candidates for CatNiPP, HRA’s Trap-<br />

Neuter-Return (TNR) program, if they had a safe<br />

place to return to. However, such safe places<br />

aren’t always available due to known abuse in the<br />

area, the death of the cats’ caregiver, or even the<br />

razing of the entire neighborhood for development.<br />

And that’s where Blue Collar Cats comes in. A<br />

rehoming initiative operated in partnership with our<br />

community cat program, Blue Collar Cats puts the<br />


cats to work—in local businesses and residences—doing<br />

what they do best. It gives them a chance at a fruitful life<br />

while benefitting their new caregivers with effective and<br />

non-toxic pest control.<br />

Essentially, the program is the next step in saving every<br />

animal possible, even the cats whose behavior may not<br />

make them good house pets. All the cats taken into the<br />

program are sterilized, vaccinated against rabies and<br />

feline distemper, eartipped, and microchipped so they’re<br />

healthy and not interested in roaming or adding to the<br />

population.<br />

<strong>The</strong>re’s no one perfect place for a Blue Collar Cat; with<br />

appropriate space to hide from people and noise and<br />

a shelter to provide protection in cold or rainy weather,<br />

anywhere can be a great space for these special felines.<br />

Homeowners in Georgetown, Logan Circle, Shaw,<br />

Capitol Hill, and even Manassas, VA, as well as a brewery,<br />

hardware store, theater, and several restaurants have<br />

brought on Blue Collar Cats. <strong>The</strong> expectations of anyone<br />

“employing” a Blue Collar Cat are to provide daily food and<br />

clean water, shelter, and basic health care throughout the<br />

cat’s lifetime. And we’re already hearing from caregivers<br />

how hard these cats work: from an overall reduction in<br />

rodent sightings to seeing the cats in action!<br />

You can find out more about the Blue Collar Cats program<br />

and sign up to partner with us in this amazing and<br />

innovative new venture at humanerescuealliance.org/<br />

BlueCollarCats.<br />

“<br />

Poser and Jojo are just<br />

two of the more than<br />

20 cats whose lives<br />

have been saved since<br />

the launch of a new<br />

HRA program called<br />

Blue Collar Cats in<br />

January <strong>2017</strong>.<br />

”<br />



Snakes and Spiders<br />

and Lizards, Oh My!<br />

By Pam Townsend, Media Coordinator<br />

<strong>The</strong> vast majority of people who pass through the<br />

doors of the Humane Rescue <strong>Alliance</strong> (HRA) in search<br />

of an animal companion head straight for the available<br />

dogs or cats or perhaps even the rabbits. But some are<br />

looking for something a bit different.<br />

Every year, in fact, HRA finds homes for several dozen<br />

exotic animals—think snakes, spiders, and lizards—with<br />

the number topping 200 in 2016.<br />

Take Charizard for example. This 3-year-old female<br />

iguana was adopted last year by Parrie Henderson-<br />

O’Keefe and her son. <strong>The</strong> animal-loving twosome were<br />

no strangers to unusual pets, having had a Russian<br />

tortoise, a fat-tailed gecko, and an assortment of toads,<br />

hamsters, and Anole lizards over the years, along with<br />

a dog and a couple of cats.<br />

“My son loves reptiles and wants to study herpetology<br />

in college,” says Henderson-O’Keefe. “We were quite<br />

intrigued by Charizard, and since my son seemed to<br />

have a connection with her, we decided to adopt her.”<br />

Today, the large lizard spends her days eating, sleeping,<br />

and lounging on a cat tree in the sunshine that pours<br />

through the skylight in Henderson-O’Keefe’s top<br />

floor art studio. A heating pad and heat lamp provide<br />

additional warmth when needed. Every few weeks,<br />

she’ll go on a walkabout, wandering around the studio<br />

or even heading downstairs to explore other rooms.<br />

On the other end of the size spectrum is Ducky, a<br />

1.5-year-old leopard gecko, who found his way to HRA<br />

following an eviction. Fortunately, it didn’t take long<br />

for this little lizard to find a new home with Delaware<br />


“<br />

To anyone interested in<br />

adopting an exotic animal,<br />

Daniels has three words of<br />

advice: Research, research,<br />

research!<br />

”<br />

resident Grace Clampitt. Although Clampitt had never<br />

had a leopard gecko, she had previously cared for two<br />

bearded dragons, and had the lamps and enclosure<br />

necessary for housing a reptile. She reports that Ducky is<br />

doing well and enjoying his diet of meal worms along with<br />

the occasional wax worm—a particular favorite of his.<br />

Like Charizard and Ducky, Scuba Steve wouldn’t be the<br />

pet of choice for most people but, thanks to HRA, this<br />

bark scorpion also found the right home. Discovered<br />

in an apartment hallway last December, Steve—who,<br />

it turns out, is actually Stephanie—was rescued by<br />

HRA Animal Care and Control Officers and taken to<br />

the New York Avenue Adoption Center, where she<br />

quickly caught the eye of HRA Law Enforcement officer<br />

Stephon Daniels.<br />

“I’ve always loved exotic pets,” says Daniels. “As a child<br />

I watched documentaries and shows that depicted<br />

animals in their natural environment. Now I enjoy setting<br />

up enclosures for them as close to their natural habitat as<br />

possible. I already had nine tarantulas of various species<br />

and wanted a scorpion as well.”<br />

Before bringing Stephanie home, Daniels, who has<br />

more than 20 years of experience caring for exotic<br />

pets, researched both the legality of owning—and the<br />

responsibilities of caring for—a scorpion. Today, she lives<br />

comfortably in her own secure enclosure.<br />

“She’s awesome,” says Daniels, who recently introduced<br />

Stephanie and a couple of his tarantulas to youngsters<br />

at HRA’s Caring Kids Camps. “When I’m working on my<br />

artwork late at night and look up, I’ll see her patrolling her<br />

personal territory.”<br />

To anyone interested in adopting an exotic animal, Daniels<br />

has three words of advice: Research, research, research!<br />

<strong>The</strong>se animals often have more specific and possibly<br />

more time-consuming care requirements than more<br />

traditional pets, and if people aren’t properly prepared,<br />

the animals end up in shelters or worse.<br />



30th<br />

Annual<br />

BARK BALL raises $700,000<br />

Thank you to everyone who supported the 30th<br />

Annual Bark Ball. This year’s event was the largest<br />

to date, with 1,200 guests and more than 500 of DC’s<br />

best dressed dogs in attendance. <strong>The</strong> Washington<br />

Hilton served as the perfect backdrop for one of<br />

the region’s most sensational charity galas, which<br />

raised more than $700,000 to benefit the Humane<br />

Rescue <strong>Alliance</strong>’s (HRA) critical community services.<br />

Guests enjoyed exciting silent and live auctions,<br />

a delicious dinner, and a touching program led<br />

by event host Wendy Rieger, NBC4 anchor. Other<br />

special guests included the Honorable Bob Dole<br />

and Honorable Elizabeth Dole along with their pups<br />

Blazer and Leader, as well as Diana Bulger, the<br />

chair of the first Bark Ball in 1988. We are extremely<br />

grateful for their continued support of HRA.<br />

This year’s live auction excited our generous donors.<br />

Many were inspired by the Doles’ presence to bid<br />

on two personally autographed copies of Unlimited<br />

Partners. However, the auction package of the<br />

evening was an Exclusive On-Field Washington<br />

Nationals Experience. This package included a<br />

one-hour pitching lesson with Max Sherzer, starting<br />

pitcher for the Nationals; on-field batting practice<br />

with the whole team; and tickets in the exclusive<br />

Diamond Club. A bidding war was resolved when<br />

the donors, Erica and Max Scherzer, graciously<br />

decided to provide the experience to two winners,<br />

each of whom pledged $10,000. This brought in<br />

$20,000 for HRA, our animals, and our services for<br />

the community.<br />

Thank you to all of our incredible sponsors,<br />

especially Louie and Ralph Dweck, U.S. Chamber of<br />

Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers,<br />

and TTR Sotheby’s International Realty.<br />

We also want to thank our Bark Ball Chair Terri<br />

Fariello, whose leadership and engagement of a<br />

strong volunteer team helped make this success<br />

possible!<br />



Tributes listed here were received April 16, <strong>2017</strong> through July 15, <strong>2017</strong>.<br />



IN HONOR AND MEMORY Continued<br />

from Page 11<br />



humanerescuealliance.org<br />

facebook.com/humanerescuealliance<br />



instagram.com/humanerescue<br />

twitter.com/humanerescue<br />


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