2007-08-29 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

by Joanne Anderson

Spooky and MJ: Peripheral Pet Victims

Although one is an older dog and the other a young cat, Spooky & MJ have a lot in common. Both were the invisible, peripheral pet victims in stories publicized in the news; both from the same village wound up at Babylon Town Shelter for months. After silly costumes failed to attract new owners at the shelter, each found loving families, thanks to Last Hope Animal Rescue and Rehabilitation.

Spooky, an 8-year-old Shepherd/Greyhound, may never have had a real home until now. He seemed to fend for himself, wandering around Lindenhurst. He spent a lot of time at Kydd's Marine. In fact, at one point the boatyard asked the shelter to set a humane trap to catch him. During one of his shelter stays, Spooky was bailed out by a neighbor of the marina. The dog went back to his old stomping ground.

On Jan. 28, a disgruntled ex-employee burned down Kydd's Marine with damage estimated at $2 million. Three days later, Spooky was in the shelter again. He lost his quasi-home. Since Spooky was used to being outdoors, he did not kennel well. He'd circle until his feet bled and bark incessantly, driving potential adopters away.

Spooky, above and MJ top photo. Spooky, above and MJ top photo. The Spookster was a different, delightful dog out in the shelter's yard where he'd frolic in the grass and smooze with everyone. He loved people and other animals, and walked like a show dog on a leash. When dog lovers did not respond to his tale of woe, Spooky tried to appeal to feline fanciers by wearing a cat mask for my 3/22 "Pets, Pets, Pets" plea. Still no takers.

In late March, Spooky became a Last Hope foster. (Perhaps the cat mask had touched Linda Stuurman the Last Hope president.) Spooky didn't do well in confinement at the Dog Center either. It was hard to coax him back into the cage. He was afraid of some male volunteers and touch sensitive in certain spots. Several Babylon Shelter volunteers came over just to walk their favorite fellow.

About a month later, Spooky met his soul mates. A family in Brentwood had just lost an older dog. They had lots of canine experience plus a huge yard where Spooky now romps with their other Shepherd, while two indoor cats look on. Spooky was in for culture shock. His new owners are bag pipers with the Hibernian Society and his new Dad is in a wheelchair. In addition, we just received word that Spooky is somewhat of a hero. He stood by his new Mom after a fall, helping her up so she could call 9-1-1. Then he refused to leave her side during her convalescence .... Meanwhile the 70-year old marina arsonist pleaded guilty in May. The judge promised to sentence him to 2 to 6 years in prison.

MJ, an incredibly friendly tabby, came from a filthy Lindenhurst house, in February. The home had no heat or hot water, and was strewn with debris and bodily waste. The three children who lived there with their mother were immediately put into foster care. The story ran in the papers and on TV. Actually the police weren't sure whether this cat belonged to the lady or if MJ had come in an open window during the massive clean up. The SPCA asked the town shelter to seize the cat.

For about two months the shelter held MJ out of view while they tried to reach the woman or her attorney. Finally the lady called to say the cat was hers, promised to send someone for her, but never did. She didn't give any history or even a name for the poor tabby. The staff was quite impressed by how affectionate and clean the cat was, despite her former home.

After being put up for adoption at the shelter, the tabby was chosen to wear a Spider Man outfit in my Beacon 5/31 "Costume Cats" column. Hence the name "MJ" for the Kirsten Dunst character in Spider Man 3. MJ was amazingly cooperative, posed in her disguise for a half hour. Trust me. No cat does that. Once MJ's photo was published, several folks came down to see her, but no one adopted her. More important though, her pictures caught the eye of Last Hope cat coordinator, Bonnie Gaines.

In late May, MJ became a Last Hope foster cat. After the vet discovered a spay scar, Bonnie set MJ up at PetSmart with her portfolio of Spider Man shots and articles. Within a week she was adopted by a lovely family in Dix Hills. MJ has the home she truly deserves.... Meanwhile the estranged husband of her former owner is trying to sue Suffolk County for failing to protect his 3 young daughters.

Spooky and MJ are upstaging the adoptable poster pets this week. However, Oyster Bay Town Shelter (677- 5784) Miller Pl. Syosset has several dogs and plenty of cats and kittens needing good homes. Spay/neuter is included in the adoption process. Photos are available on the shelter's Petfinder site.

  • Dogs: "Elan" #474 (aka "Lua") - young Vizsla mix; "Sheba" #738- Belgian Sheepdog mix.
  • Cats: "Catalina" 3692- gorgeous female Siamese mix; cinnamon and white cutie kitten #733- get her now while her eyes are still baby blue.
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