The 10 Most Amazing Animal Stories of 2013

January 7, 2014

BOSTON, Jan. 7, 2014 – With the New Year underway the MSPCA-Angell today unveiled its 10 most amazing animal stories of 2013, a year filled with unbelievable survival stories and adoptions that underscore the indomitable spirit of animals, and those who care for them.

From the MSPCA’s world-class Angell Animal Medical Center to its Adoption Centers in Boston, Centerville and Methuen, Mass., animals stole the show in 2013.  The 10 stories that captured hearts and minds this past year include the following.  An accompanying photo gallery can be accessed on the MSPCA-Angell’s Facebook page by clicking here.

Tarzan rescued from construction site – covered in tar!
On a cold spring day in May a cold, hungry and frightened orange cat was found abandoned in a dirty construction site where he was hiding from fast-moving cars and construction equipment. Adding to his misery, the cat was covered head to toe in a sticky black tar.  Tarzan, as he became known to the MSPCA adoption center staff who rescued him, had to be nearly completely shaved in order to remove the tar.  The sweet natured cat endured the procedure without complaint and was adopted into a loving forever home soon after.

Blind, deaf and severely matted dog gets a second chance

In October a severely neglected dog arrived at the MSPCA so heavily matted she could not walk.  Her grotesquely swollen eyes had rendered her blind, and staffers later found out she was completely deaf.  The helpless dog was found abandoned in a backyard, trembling in fear and unable to navigate her surroundings.  Staffers, who named her “Petunia,” carefully trimmed her nails and shaved her matted, urine-stained fur.  And after an operation to remove her painful and unseeing eyes, Petunia was adopted into a new home, where she lives today.

Lucy comforts her owner after both are struck and injured by a car

A beagle named Lucy garnered worldwide attention for refusing to leave her owner’s side after both were struck by a speeding car in Dorchester on Nov. 25.  Lucy’s owner, John Miles, was critically injured and near unconscious by the time first responders arrived.  Paramedics on the scene were able to find John’s family only by tracing the man’s address using Lucy’s identification tags.  John was rushed to a nearby hospital while Lucy was taken to Angell for surgery on her injured leg.  She is now back at home with her family, including John, and both owner and dog are continuing their recovery.

Surgery fixes Kisses’ broken heart

An adorable poodle puppy with an ultimately fatal heart condition got a second chance at life in January 2013 after surgery at Angell.  The young dog, named “Kisses,” was surrendered along with her mother and three littermates to a shelter in Springfield, Mass. four months before she found her way onto the operating table.  Funds made available through the MSPCA’s Pet Care Assistance program paid for the operation to close a blood vessel in Kisses’ heart that had failed to close on its own.  After her surgery and a short recuperation in the hospital Kisses was adopted into a wonderful forever home.

Adorable Oscar was found in a dumpster, but now lives like a king

In April a seven-week-old Pit Bull puppy was rescued by a good Samaritan from a dumpster in Barnstable.  Oscar, as he came to be known, was suffering from a broken jaw—likely a result of being thrown into the dumpster.  After eight weeks in the shelter with a warm blanket, healthy food and lots of attention from staff, Oscar’s injured jaw began to heal and he was made available for adoption.  Soon after he was adopted into a wonderful home.

Luna craws home after surviving a hit and run accident

A young puppy named Luna was struck by a car in downtown Lawrence in May before dragging herself up two flights of stairs to her owners’ apartment.  The owners of the three-month-old dog, named Luna, opted to surrender her to the MSPCA due to the expense and burden associated with rehabilitating the critically ill puppy.  Luna suffered severe injuries to her legs and pelvis and required emergency surgery at Angell.  After surgery, however, the adoption center team found the perfect home for the dog and Luna is enjoying a whole new life.

Nafas the “street cat” gets a new nose and a new life

When a seven-month-old cat found in October 2012 curled up under a car on a busy street in Iran’s capital city of Tehran, no one would have suspected he would survive—let alone end up on the operating room table of Dr. Mike Pavletic at Angell.  Spirited to the U.S. by an Iranian-American animal advocate, “Nafas” was clinging to life.  He was severely underweight, his belly was full of pebbles and sticks and, adding to his misery, he had no nose.  His nose was surgically removed by an Iranian veterinarian in a desperate bid to save the cat from a  bacterial infection just after he was taken off the streets.  Dr. Pavletic used an advanced surgical procedure to craft a new nose for Nafas using skin and muscle from the cat’s face.  And after his recovery Nafas was adopted by the woman who saved him.

Mugsy survives run-in with flesh-eating bacteria

A six-month-old Shar Pei puppy named “Mugsy” nearly lost a battle with an aggressive and very rare flesh eating bacteria in July, but his determined owner and specialty care at Angell ultimately saved the pup’s life.  Mugsy fell ill over Memorial Day Weekend and shortly thereafter his skin began to rot and fall off his body.  Tests confirmed the bacteria was taking over and shutting down the young dog’s body.  After several surgeries and aggressive antibiotic treatment, Mugsy defeated the bacteria and enjoys good health today

Coco finds a new home after embedded collar is removed from his neck

A four-year-old gray and white poodle named “Coco” survived what the MSPCA described as one of the worst “embedded collar” cases of all time after surgery in February to remove a wire collar that may have been wrapped around the dog’s body for months.  Underneath the wire were his collar and tags—both embedded so deeply in Coco’s skin that they were wrapped around the bones of his neck.  After surgery Coco healed quickly and the friendly and loving dog was soon adopted into a new home

Basket the cat found abandoned in a grocery store

In June a two-year-old tuxedo cat was found abandoned outside a Market Basket grocery store in Bourne.  Not only was the cat (later named “Basket” by MSPCA staffers) frightened and hungry, she was also suffering from a diaphragmatic hernia—a condition in which her internal organs had forced their way into her chest cavity by way of a hole in her chest wall.  Surgery to repair her hernia was successful and after her story hit the airwaves she was adopted by a loving family on Cape Cod.



The MSPCA-Angell is a national and international leader in animal protection and veterinary medicine and provides direct hands-on care for thousands of animals each year. Founded in 1868, it is the second-oldest humane society in the United States. Services include animal protection and adoption, advocacy, humane education, law enforcement, and world-class veterinary care. The MSPCA-Angell is a private, non-profit organization. It does not receive any government funding nor is it funded or operated by any national humane organization. The MSPCA-Angell relies solely on the support and contributions of individuals who care about animals. Please visit