Lenny and Squiggy, two strays who were rescued by a veterinarian and his wife, recover after receiving their last treatment for heartworm disease.

Lenny and Squiggy chill out in the “beach bungalow” of Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Raleigh, N.C., where the two strays received treatment for heartworm..

Lenny and Squiggy look right at home at their new forever home after they were rescued from a life of scrounging for scraps on Grand Turk Island.

Scavenging dogs at an island resort captivated the imagination of a North Carolina veterinarian who returned home with two unusual mementoes.

Dr. Darren Holman and his wife were introduced to potcakes— stray dogs named after their habit of foraging scraps of food caked in cooking pots–while vacationing in Grand Turk, the capital island of the Caribbean’s Turks and Caicos.

“Dr. Holman and his wife noticed two potcakes in particular who continuously congregated at the doorstep of their vacation house,” said Julie Papp, Hospital Manager at Gentle Care Animal Hospital, where Dr. Holman is the head veterinarian. “It didn’t take long before they fell in love with the dogs and made arrangements to fly them back to the states for medical testing and treatment for heartworm disease.”

At the hospital, the friendly pups—named Lenny and Squiggy—quickly became a popular fixture hanging out in their “beach bungalow,” an area the staff created to replicate their former home. 

While the long heartworm treatment was arduous, today the dogs are happy and healthy.

“They are doing great,” Ms. Papp told us. “Lenny and Squiggy are living happily together in their forever home, which is actually with two of our hospital’s employees!”

For more information on Gentle Care Animal Hospital in Raleigh, visit http://www.petrepair.com/

To share a story about your veterinary practice, email us!

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Veterinary Clinic Spotlight

Help Animal Flood Victims

In the wake of historic flooding and storms that have devastated the Southeast, the ASPCA® is asking for help to continue its efforts to save displaced animals. Our friends at the ASPCA have established a special fundraising campaign to support this lifesaving work that spans nine states.

Tim Rickey, senior director of field investigations and response for the ASPCA, said the flooding and tornadoes that have ravaged the Southeast are the worst he’s ever seen. Tens of thousands of animals have been affected along with residents, Mr. Rickey said.

“We see entire communities flooded. Animals are stranded on dog houses, in trees and other small patches of dry space,” Mr. Rickey said. “For many of these victims, rescue is their only hope for survival.”

ASPCA President and CEO Ed Sayres said the ASPCA has focused its work in Pemiscot County, Mo., and Shelby County, Tenn., at the request of local authorities and animal welfare groups. The ASPCA has assisted other communities with sheltering needs, transporting displaced animals to temporary shelters, conducting field assessments and offering supplies such as pet food to residents. Staff and ASPCA volunteers had helped nearly 6,600 animals as of May 23. Through one Memphis, Tenn., warehouse, workers assisted more than 3,000 animals and provided supplies to 12 communities in six states.

The ASPCA has established a dedicated contribution area to help support this effort.

The ASPCA also is carrying out plans to move animals who were in shelters before the storms to make room for others displaced by the disaster. So far, 46 dogs from shelters in eastern Arkansas and 70 dogs from Georgia and South Carolina have moved to shelters in New York and New Jersey.

“The ASPCA’s Animal Relocation Initiative moves animals from areas of oversupply to areas where there are few, if any, similar pets available in shelters for adoption,” Mr. Sayres said. “In this case, moving shelter animals out of the weather-affected areas increases local organizations’ abilities to rescue or shelter animals until they are reunited with their families.”

Mr. Sayres says the ASPCA is committed to continuing to help the communities in need.

“Our responders’ tireless work, expert care and unyielding commitment to the protection of animals are playing an integral role in the relief efforts in the Southeast,” Mr. Sayres said. “Disasters of this scale can cause widespread, unpredictable devastation, but our staff has stepped forward and seized the opportunity to help these communities both prepare for and respond to the needs of the thousands of animals affected. We will continue to do everything we can to help these communities as long as we’re needed.”

Click here or on the image below to help with the ASPCA‘s relief efforts.

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ASPCA Happenings

Want to play? Pet parent D.J. says he doubts Verdandi will grow out of her puppyhood, despite her rough start.

Verdandi has reason to celebrate—she’s found her forever home after being abandoned along the highway. Her pet parents credit Verdandi’s horseshoe marking with bringing her good luck.

Verdandi, a black and white pit-bull mix, and her pet parents’ other dogs enjoy romping together. Big brother Grant, far right, lost one of his legs after being bitten by a rattlesnake and running into the street. Pet parents D.J. and Bella rescued all three dogs and made sure they got the medical treatment they needed following their ordeals.

Our customers often go the extra mile for their dogs and cats. For one man who recently wrote to us, that’s literally true. The open road has delivered three lucky dogs into the loving home of retiree D.J. and his wife Bella.*

D.J., who frequently drives far from home, was on a highway when a car traveling in the opposite direction swerved, startling him. The car cut back, but D.J.’s attention snapped into focus. On the side of the road, he noticed a black and white object rolling on the ground. He knew he had to stop.

He walked back to the spot and saw a small, black and white Pit Bull puppy. "I waited long enough to make sure she was still breathing, picked her up, and carried her to the truck," he said.

D.J. and Bella were already parents of multiple pets. At home, they had several mixed breed dogs, including two who had endured hardships as strays. One rescued dog had suffered from cancer, but died as a member of their family. To console their first dog, D.J. and Bella adopted another tough pup—an amputee who had survived a rattlesnake bite only to lose a leg in a truck accident.

Though they already had dogs, as well as a cat, D.J. was determined to make room for one more. When he saw the puppy—later named Verdandi—on the side of the highway, he knew his pet family would have to grow bigger.

"I fully believe I was meant to save this dog," D.J. told us. "If I was 15 seconds earlier or later I never would have seen it."

After feeding the severely injured puppy, D.J. called Bella, who was at home, to tell her to prepare herself for another puppy. Bella was reluctant, but D.J. was insistent.

Driving away from the scene, D.J. could tell Verdandi’s condition was critical. He believes the dog was injured when a motorist tossed her from a vehicle.

"I stopped about 100 miles up the road and carried her out of the truck so she could potty, but her back end was too broken for her to stand up," D.J. said.

When he got home, D.J. took the dog to a veterinarian, who said Verdandi had a broken leg and dislocated hip. The doctor wrapped the bad leg in a splint and sent the dog home. Unfortunately, the puppy fell ill with parvovirus soon after her initial visit with the veterinarian. Still, the puppy fought on.

Now happy and healthy, Verdandi is enjoying life with D.J. and Bella’s other animal rescues. The horseshoe marking on her back might be one reason she’s survived her road journey—the animals who have found their way to D.J. and Bella’s home certainly are lucky!

"I don't know why we found her, but we have to believe we were meant to have her," D.J. said.

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Customer Stories

One night in early June, my Border Collie, Sage, alerted me to something in the drainpipe that runs under my driveway. We have a lot of feral cats in the area, so I figured the noise was from some felines. Sure enough, when I got a flashlight and reached into the pipe as far as I could, I was greeted by two sets of kitten eyes.

I’ve always found it impossible to ignore that vulnerable look I recognized in those kitten eyes staring back at me. Like many of my colleagues at the Hartville Group, I’ve made it my personal and professional mission to help animals as much as I can. That’s been my goal in the eight years I’ve worked at Hartville, and when I moved to Florida, I got involved with a local rescue group that spays and neuters feral cats. So I assembled one of the group’s humane traps that I have on hand to try to help those little kittens.


A few hours later, I caught one of them and arranged for the kitty to spend the night in our garage. I set a second trap but, unfortunately, it was still empty in the morning. 

Meanwhile, my husband and I brought the first kitten into the house for a bath and check-over.  He was just a little guy, about 8 weeks old. Despite how scared he was, he was still very sweet, and he purred while I picked fleas out of his fur, cleaned his ears and trimmed his nails. 

It was only a few days before we named him Oliver and made him a permanent place in our home. Oliver quickly adjusted to his life on the inside, and his new feline siblings, Ranger and Jetta, readily accepted him. 

Over the next few months, I often saw a gray kitten sitting on our back porch, and I knew it was the second kitty from the drainpipe. I fed him and tried to catch him several times, but with no success.

Sadly, one Sunday morning in October, Oliver died suddenly. We learned he had a rare congenital heart defect. We were absolutely heartbroken. In his honor, we created a “cat café” outside so the feral cats can have a constant supply of fresh water and food.


Two weeks after Oliver passed away, I finally caught the other gray kitten I’d been feeding.  At this point, he was 6 months old and almost completely wild. After we neutered and vaccinated him, we moved him into our spare bedroom. We borrowed another Charles Dickens name and called him Fagin, which also means “joyful.” 

Poor Fagin was lucky to have even survived six months outside as his belly is a roadmap of scars where another critter attacked him. He’s also had a few medical complications from a chronic infection that resulted from the attack. But, as I slowly work to heal his infection, I’m also trying to socialize him. 

It’s possible that Fagin may have the same heart defect as Oliver, but I’m not going to worry about it. Instead, I’m focusing on giving Fagin the best life I can for however long he is with us!

Jaclyn Carrington, Hartville Group’s Veterinary Services Manager, volunteers with a rescue group that spays and neuters feral cats in Florida.

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Hartville Group News & Info


As we’re dedicated to making a difference for pets, we want to keep you informed about pet health topics and your ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. Our blog will provide you with fresh, interesting and informative topics—from pet health tips and customer stories, to the latest industry news and a Pet Parent Q&A column. Most of all, we encourage you to share comments and join the discussion!

Meet the Author

Julia H.

Social Media Coordinator

Pet Parent to:

Lucy, an 8-year-old rescued Golden Retriever/Chow Chow mix

Blog Guidelines

While we’ll strive to present all viewpoints on this blog, comments will be reviewed before posting. Offensive or inappropriate language, off-topic remarks and comments containing personal policy information will not be featured.

Also, conditions discussed in this blog aren’t necessarily covered by every ASPCA Pet Health Insurance plan. For full coverage terms, conditions and exclusions, please refer to your plan.

As always, if you have a question about your plan, call us at 1-866-204-6764.

*Note: While these testimonials may include examples of recent claims payouts, reimbursement is subject to the terms and conditions of your plan. Identifying information has been changed.