Sidnee D. grew up with animals her whole life. She and her family have always been advocates for adoption rather than purchasing a pet from a breeder or pet store. She really missed the love and companionship of a dog who brought so much joy to her childhood. When Sidnee had settled into her life in New York City, she felt ready to add a canine to her family, so she browsed adoptable dogs on the ASPCA website.
As she scrolled through adoptable animals, Cher’s happy-go-lucky character shone through the images on Sidnee’s computer screen and sparked her love for this furry star. But this pup’s life wasn’t always as bright as her personality.
A Sad Start
In March 2018, Cher was rescued alongside another dog by the New York City Police Department (NYPD). As a young adult, she should have been happy and healthy, but instead she was thin and frightened. Little Cher was a vulnerable dog who needed immediate care and attention.
After an initial evaluation at the ASPCA Animal Recovery Center (ARC), Cher was moved to the Gloria Gurney Canine Annex for Recovery and Enrichment (CARE). CARE houses innocent dogs who are the subject of criminal investigations by the New York City Police Department. Their length of stay can be uncertain, and for some—like Cher—stays can be for several months.
R&R – Rest and Reading!
Cher was monitored closely at CARE to ensure that she gained weight and settled in. But as her stay grew longer—and she matured—Cher had a tough time in her kennel. Fortunately, the ASPCA has special programs in place to help the residents feel more comfortable. In CARE, dedicated volunteers can read to the dogs to help soothe and socialize them. Cher seemed to enjoy this time with one particular volunteer.
Suzie E. had volunteered with the ASPCA for over two years and understood the difficult situations that CARE residents come from.
“I started reading at both the Animal Recovery Center (ARC) and CARE, but stayed with CARE for the past two years as the dogs can, unfortunately, be there for quite a while,” Suzie says. “I love being able to build trust with the dogs I see on a weekly basis and I think they are happy to see me too!”
This was true for sweet Cher, who seemed to look forward to her weekly visits from Suzie and the gentle attention that gave her the opportunity to relax. During this time together, Suzie formed a special bond with Cher.
“Cher would bark quite a bit but as soon as she got used to me, she was so excited and would grab her bone and show it to me before settling into her bed for a story,” Suzie recalls fondly.
Fun in Foster
Noticing the special relationship between Cher and Suzie, CARE staff asked Suzie if she would foster Cher for a short time. The foster period would not only give Cher a break from shelter life, but also prepare her for life in a home again. Suzie jumped at the opportunity to help Cher! And she was a model foster pet.
“[Cher] was completely housetrained from the first day and was calm during the day when I went to work,” says Suzie. “She was so smart and understood the difference between me getting ready to take her for a walk and me getting ready to leave for work. She would sit calmly in the kitchen when I left for work but was so excited to go for a walk! She needed a little guidance on leash around other dogs, but she worked hard at redirecting her attention. She was really good with all of the strangers around her and never reacted to bikes or skateboards either.”
Cher finally became available for adoption almost a year after her intake. During her time in foster, Adoption Center staff took the time to learn more about Cher’s personality so that our expert Matchmakers would be able to help find a good fit for her.
Cher’s Next Chapter
After Sidnee was smitten with Cher’s sweet face online, it was time for her to meet her future furry friend face-to-face.
“When I came to meet her in person, her silly and loving personality won me over instantly,” says Sidnee, when asked about her initial impression of Cher.
Sidnee fell in love and made the adoption official on March 13, 2019. She also renamed the superstar something a little spicier—Kimchi!
“Kimchi is doing great! She is a sweet and playful goofball who fits in perfectly in our home,” Sidnee tells us. “She still thinks the cats are her friends, but they have other ideas! She’s learning quickly and absolutely loves our walks to Prospect Park.”
Kimchi may have spent a year waiting in limbo for the next chapter of her life to start, but staff and volunteers at the ASPCA made her as comfortable and content as they could. She now has a devoted family who adores her for who she is, despite her history.
“Life is so good for the two of us now!” Sidnee beams. “Kimchi brings so much joy and happiness to our lives. She’s a happy girl and is especially happiest when we’re out on walks and hanging out in the sunshine!”
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