2013-12-18 / Columnists

Pets, Pets, Pets

How many cats can brag that their face and whiskers have graced the huge NASDAQ marquee in Times Square? How many kitties can say they were invited to the stock market closing bell? While we’re at it- how many people can make that claim to fame? (Minus the whiskers part.)

Well, Last Hope kitten “Frankie” can- thanks to his friends at The Animal Medical Center (better known as “The AMC”) who also donated their expertise and time to perform intricate eyelid surgery on our adorable orange tabby. During the summer, a Last Hope volunteer rescued Frankie, this tiny, bewildered kitten, from a Baldwin yard. Frankie’s tearing and irritated eyes were not due to an infection, but instead from a congenital malformation called eyelid agenesis. His lids were non-existent. The AMC’s highly skilled specialists reconstructed his eyelids during a delicate operation several months ago.


“Frankie” waiting for the countdown with NASDAQ V.P. David Wicks and AMC CEO Kate Coyne. “Frankie” waiting for the countdown with NASDAQ V.P. David Wicks and AMC CEO Kate Coyne. The AMC, located on the Upper East Side of NYC, is a non-profit veterinary institution that has been a national leader in animal care, education and research for over a century. The AMC treats about 43,000 cases each year with a staff of 100+ veterinarians who utilize an interdisciplinary approach in more than 25 key specialties and services 24 hours a day, every day of the year.

AMC TO THE RESCUE: Frankie’s special surgery was provided to Last Hope via AMC TO THE RESCUE. Recently, The AMC established this new Community Fund, specifically to provide subsidized specialty care to animals currently cared for by rescue groups, whose health is an obstacle for adoption. The kitten’s vision impairment would have deterred prospective owners. Frankie’s mom Ali fostered, and eventually adopted, Frankie while he was waiting to grow big enough for his surgery. The AMC TO THE RESCUE program is relatively new at the AMC. Frankie was the only recipient present at NASDAQ but there are other astounding cases too.


“Frankie” on the NASDAQ marquee in Times Square “Frankie” on the NASDAQ marquee in Times Square For example, “Chula” was one of 70 Rottweilers rescued from deplorable conditions in Wallkill, NY. Mountain Rottie Rescue said: “Chula was kept in an outdoor kennel all year round, living in filth, mud and rat infestation. She shared her kennel with two other Rottweilers. This kennel provided no shelter from the elements except for a single broken-down wooden doghouse large enough to fit only one dog, and this makeshift doghouse contained several rusty and exposed nails. Her daily diet consisted of stale bread and dirty water, but despite such unspeakable conditions and neglect, Chula remained gentle and forgiving.” In January, Chula underwent total hip replacement at The AMC and is now in a loving home, pain free and regaining her mobility, thanks to the generosity and expertise of AMC TO THE RESCUE.

Our Feline Financier: Last week on Dec. 12, The AMC staff invited Frankie, his mom Ali and several Last Hope volunteers to join them at the closing bell ceremony in NASDAQ headquarters (Broadway & 43rd St.). The AMC was still celebrating after their Top Dog Gala earlier in the week honoring renowned journalist Barbara Walters, a former AMC trustee, and paying tribute to “Rosie” & “Clarence” deemed to be the nation’s first comfort dogs for first responders. These two champion St. Bernards have helped alleviate stress for emergency workers responding to the tragedies at the Sandy Hook School and Boston Marathon. The remarkable dog duo belongs to Bill and Laura Gordon, both officers with the Greenfield Police Department in Massachusetts. Rosie and Clarence are official police dogs there.

Frankie was such a feline financier! He wore a harness and leash for extra security and a Christmas necktie to be spiffy during the NASDAQ ceremony; then posed for group photos with his mom, doing unexpectedly well in St. Bernard proximity. All the dignitaries cradled our grateful Last Hope kitten while at the podium- Kathryn Coyne, The AMC CEO, Dr. Richard Goldstein, medical chief of staff and even David Wicks, NASDAQ vice president who made a speech with Frankie in his arms.

After the bell signaled the end of stock trading, the day’s guests including Frankie (in his carrier) ventured across the street into the center of Times Square. As we watched a giant slide show of the festivities on the giant NASDAQ screen towering over the city, there was our Frankie larger than life, bigger than King Kong on the Empire State Building, for all of Manhattan, for the entire world to see. Imagine the hush over the crowd, gazing at Frankie’s new fancy eyelids up on the big screen.

It was truly a “Miracle on 43rd Street.” Not bad for a once-nearly-blind kitten from Baldwin...the very same orange kitten that, on the way back to Penn Station, began meowing his desire to drop the ball in Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Stay tuned...

For Adoption at Babylon Town Shelter (631-643-9270) Lamar St. W. Babylon: “Nikki” 13-579 is a sweet young dog and current office pooch. She came into the shelter with a litter, and all the pups succumbed to a virus except for one. Meanwhile “Benzie” 3-595 is a gorgeous Maine Coon mix with Russian Blue coloring. Cats: “Winnie the Wonderful”: 3-534; “Tucker” 3-352- tabby…Abandoned together. Dogs: “Nakita”, the special needs but very sweet Akita; “Jake” 13-613-Pit/Pointer; “Canby” 13-407- Shih tzu; “Jingle” 13-742- handsome Pomeranian; “Luke” 13-685- brindle boy.

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