Mike the Malamute: Why Does He Smell Like That?!

We’d like you to meet Mike. Mike the Malamute. Mike is a true gentle giant – he’s a little shy and startles at loud noises, he’s polite in his affections, makes adorable play bows, and doesn’t drag you around on the leash. But (yes, there has to be a “but”, doesn’t there?), he smells. And he’ll make your nose tingle and your throat itch.


Why? Well, it seems that Mike was hit with spray pepper. When he came to us, the smell of pepper spray emanated from his fur. Whenever we spent time with him, our noses would run, our eyes would water and our throats would itch. But that didn’t stop us from falling for this guy, taking him on walkies, and playing with him. Watch this clip of Sue, AACC Kennel Supervisor, playing with Mike (volume on to hear her coughing!)

Animal Control Officer and former groomer, Rachel was assigned the task of giving this big, smelly guy a bath. She gamely suited up and coughed her way through the ordeal.

But, trust us, it was much tougher on Mike. Rinsing that poor baby’s face was painful for him but he stuck it out, without even so much as a growl. We also put ointment in his eyes to soothe them and gave him some pain medication. And then he laid his big head in our arms and moaned for a bit. And we tried not to cry along with him.

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He’s such a tough boy though that just a few minutes later he was gladly chomping on treats.

So now Mike is ready to go to a new home. Yes, some pepper spray lingers in his fur but he comes with his own baby wipes so his adopters can continue to wipe the residue away. A little bit of initial discomfort will be worth it in the long run!

Adopt Mike. Wipe Mike. Love Mike.

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We’ll never know why Mike was pepper sprayed. All we know is that he’s a happy boy now.


Batman: The cat who was rescued from a tree (really!) and then found unconditional love through fate, coincidence, serendipity (whatever you want to call it!)

This is the story of Batman, a shy and scared kitten who came to AACC on October 30, 2015. Just how scared was this little guy?

Here are some of the notes about him from our cat behavior evaluators:

Kitten will dart/avoid while in cage.

Remove kitten out of box and hold close with continuous petting / rubbing around face. Kitten will attempt to slink quickly away unless held close.

Kitten would begin purring with this interaction and purring would increase in volume and be continuous. After quite a bit of holding/rubbing face, kitten relaxed more and would begin some consistent nudging of my hand for attention and some head butts. Eventually kitten would relax even more and stretch out in the circle of my arms and rest head on my arm.

I’m going to send to admin if there is someone available for some periods of interaction. In maternity he is not going to get the attention that he needs to improve.

That’s how Batman came to live in Brandi’s office where we were hoping he would learn to trust people. Here are a few of Brandi’s notes on Batman’s progress:

At first he would lower his body and hiss when I tried to pick him up. Would start purring immediately after I picked him up. He would relax very quickly after sitting on my lap. He would head butt me for more attention. He wasn’t very active in his kennel, didn’t seem to want to play with toys.

I put him on my lap and he was doing his usual purring, rubbing and wanting lots of attention. I set him on the floor and he crawled back in my lap.

He ran/flipped around his kennel playing with his toys for almost 30 minutes. This was the first time I saw him playing.

I think he will be shy and hide in his new home at first, but he seems to warm up quickly.


Batman getting comfy in Brandi’s office.

Finally Batman had to leave the comfort of Brandi’s office and move to a kitten kennel in the public area. He was ready to be adopted. Or that’s what we hoped. But in his kennel, Batman hid. So no one noticed him. But former Animal Control Officer Johnny Leece noticed him and took a liking to him, and, as you can see, Batman took a liking to Johnny.

Johnny and Batman (2)

Batman enjoying view from Johnny’s shoulders.

We even put up a post on social media of Batman and Johnny, hoping that someone would fall in love with our little shy kitten.

Johnny and Batman

It took a while, but someone did finally fall in love with Batman. On November 22 a woman named Jessica came in looking for a puppy, but she walked out with a kitten…a kitten named Batman.

Jessica tells it this way:

I came across this beautiful black kitten hiding at the back of his kennel. HE WAS SO CUTE! I had to meet him. I was told he was skittish and it could take awhile for him to warm up to people. I could see that he was very people-shy. I had to have him. He needed someone to love him and give him a safe place to be.

And that’s how Batman went home to live with his mom and her cat, named Cat.

On January 1, 2016 we received a call about a cat stuck in a tree. Johnny Leece responded. He tried to reach the cat with the only ladder available at the apartment complex but the cat was too high in the tree. The men with the big ladders were called in – Anchorage Fire Department. As all of this was going on, Jessica received a call from a friend who happened to work for AFD, telling her that the firemen were at her apartment building trying to get a cat from a tree. Could it be Batman?

AFD was able to reach the cat and handed him to Johnny. And, yes, it was Batman – the kitten Johnny had bonded with at the shelter. And so Jessica received a second call, this time from us, letting her know that Batman was safe at the shelter, waiting for her so he could go home.

Johnny saving Batman (2)

Not quite close enough to bring him down safely!

So how had Batman ended up in that tree? We’ll let his mom tell that story:

The apartment we were living had pretty shoddy locks on the doors. It had been a VERY long day so I went to bed early. Cat has a mysterious knack for opening doors that aren’t properly closed or locked. I woke up around 5 am and noticed it was really cold. I jumped out of bed and ran to the door thinking something was wrong – it was. My front door was wide open and my beloved cats were missing. I panicked. I immediately threw clothes on and ran out the door calling for the cats, crying because they were gone. I sprinted around the corner and there was the meowing – Cat, sitting in front of the wrong building meowing at the woman in the apartment situated like mine, asking to be let in. I took him home but could not find Batman. I searched and searched, I called my boss who would not give me the day off. I had to go to work. I couldn’t teach, I was a mess.

And that’s how Batman was saved from a tree. But what about the unconditional love? Well, Batman has never become completely comfortable around people but his mom and her wife accept and love Batman on his own terms. And isn’t that each of us wants from our friends, family, and partners?

Batman is still a little skittish with humans and only comes around to be petted when it’s quiet and calm. He loves to snuggle in the mornings on our pillows with us and will follow us into the bathroom to get love while we are brushing our teeth.

We loved this post that Jessica’s wife shared a few weeks ago – sheer joy at Batman interacting with her when she was upright and not lying in bed.


It only took three years!! He finally came up to me. Not only came up but reached his paw out for treats. 😍😍😍 This is a pivotal moment in my life! 

I have tried to gain his love in many different ways. 

#freezedriedchicken did the trick!


Melissas post

Batman reaching for the freeze dried chicken while the rest of the gang looks on.

And who is Jessica’s wife? Well, she just happens to be one of our newest Animal Control Officers – Officer Winn. Oh, and the day that Batman was brought to us is Officer Winn’s birthday. This story really is fate, coincidence, serendipity…

So that’s the story of Batman, his rescue from a tree and the unconditional love his moms have for him – quirks and all.

And to top it all off, for no particular reason, Johnny Leece showed up to work one day in a Batman costume.

Johnny_batman costume (2)

We have no idea what was going on here. Yes, he did change in to a proper uniform.


“It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

Batman aka Bruce Wayne

P.S.: Just before posting this Johnny Leece walked into the shelter where he hasn’t been for over a year. And he said he drove by Batman’s tree yesterday and thought “that’s the tree where Batman was.” Weird, huh?

Brutus’ Journey Home


Brutus didn’t know it but he was about to become a very lucky dog when he was spotted in the alders between Cuddy Park and Loussac Library. He was just minding his own business, making himself comfy in the depression in the dirt he had carved out for himself. But the Good Samaritans who saw him guessed that he was homeless and didn’t think that living in the alders was a good long-term plan for this guy. So they coaxed him inside their truck and brought him home.

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After checking for a microchip at their vet (which he had but no one was reachable), they filed a found report with us and brought him home. He bravely underwent three baths, yes, he was that stinky. He even braved the initial wrath of the resident Miniature Pinscher who eventually gave in to the fact that Brutus just might not be going anywhere.

After a few days Brutus’ Good Samaritans decided to bring him to AACC for the legal stray-hold period, just in case a previous owner was coming to the shelter and looking for him. But they called every day to check on him and to remind us they wanted to bring him home if no one claimed him. He waited patiently in his kennel, every now and then lifting his head to give a lonesome howl.


Finally – today was the day that Brutus’ stray-hold was up. He flew through his evaluation – it was like he knew he had somewhere else to be. As soon as he became available, his new dad was here to get him. His dad had even gone into work early so he could leave early to bring Brutus home. Now that’s love.

And, boy, was Brutus glad to see his dad! Brutus led the way – out the door, across the parking lot, to the truck and right into the driver’s seat. As we were closing the door, his dad’s phone rang. It was Brutus’ new mom, calling to make sure they were on their way Home.

Welcome Home Brutus!



The Kitten in the Snow

She was found in a snow bank.

And was brought to Anchorage Animal Care and Control (AACC) late on a Friday evening by two Good Samaritans. She was wet, cold, and, frankly, looked pretty bad. Her face was swollen and she had trouble opening her eyes.

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Little One when she was brought to AACC by two Good Samaritans.

How did this little creature find herself in this situation? We wished she could tell us.

Our kennel technicians made her comfy in a pile of warm blankets and plenty of food which she ate hungrily. Dr. Wilson, AACC Center Director and veterinarian, came in on Saturday to check on her and was worried about this little one. Then a staff member offered to take her home to foster her, knowing that if she was going to make it, she needed pampering and extra TLC.

And that’s how this kitten found herself being cared for by a human and a husky named Whisper. Whisper loves kittens and was thrilled to have one to care for. The kitten accepted his nuzzles and showed her appreciation with her loud (really loud!) purr.

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Whisper meets his foster kitten.

An anxious few days ensued with the kitten showing signs of neurological issues – walking in a stooped posture, turning in circles, unable to poop, and, then seizures. Whisper and his person kept at it – lots of liquids and wet food, lots of love, and a little extra help from Miralax. And every day the swelling in the kitten’s face went down and she improved. Walking straight and tall. Starting to play. And finally….the big moment…pooping! The seizures continued but were fewer and farther between.

Knowing she may continue to have trauma-related issues, we contacted our rescue partner, Kitty and K-9 Connection, asking them to take her under their care. And their kitten momma, Amber, jumped at the chance.

Empurress and Whisper_1

Whisper’s kitten remained under his watchful eye (and nose) while back at AACC, waiting to be picked up by Kitty and K-9 Connection.

Amber brought her home and named her Empurress. Here’s the update we received after Empurress’ first night with Amber: “Yes she had at least 2 (seizures) in the evening. However they were very quick and mild. She ate very well over night and had poop in her box this morning. She charges out of her kennel (only keeping her in when unattended so she doesn’t fall if she seizes) this morning and ran straight to the toys. She is playing and looks relatively good.  Our vet video chatted with us last night and I sent her a video of the last seizure I witnessed. She feels they are likely trauma related and will gradually get better. She doesn’t think meds are needed unless they become more frequent or longer and more severe. All great things to hear.”

And so, with the help of two Good Samaritans, AACC staff, a husky named Whisper, and Amber with Kitty and K-9 Connection, Empurress is on the road to a full recovery!

So much love for one little kitten.
Doesn’t that make you happy?

Ellie’s Little Frost-bit Kitten Paws


Hi, my name is Ellie. But I didn’t know that when I was alone outside. All I knew was that I was cold, scared, and hungry. I would cry sometimes and it turns out that’s what saved me. That and the fact that I was hunkered down outside the offices of Anchorage Animal Care and Control.



Sitting at her desk on a 4 degree January day, Brandi swore she heard meowing outside her window. She searched outside and found a kitten huddled under equipment in the dog play yard but was unable to reach her. So she came back out with food and a live trap…only to see the kitten running across the snow and disappearing over a snow bank.  Temperatures were predicted to be below zero at night for the next several days – how long could a kitten survive?



I could smell the food but was too scared to go get it. Every night I got colder. My stomach got emptier. And my paws started to hurt from the cold. After four days, hunger finally overcame me and I went for the food. I found myself trapped, but I had warm straw to nestle in while waiting to see what would happened next.


Our kitten had finally gone in the trap! We settled her in a warm kennel and fed her – happy she didn’t have to spend another day outside in sub-zero cold. Not sure yet how she felt about us, she hissed and hid in her kennel. But after a few days her hissing changed to purring and we discovered that she loved to held and cuddled. We also discovered that some of the pads on her little kitten paws had frost bite but, otherwise, she was none-the-worse for her foray outside.

And Brandi, who first heard her crying, named her Ellie because she was found at our shelter on Elmore Road. Ellie went home with Officer Winn as a foster kitten for a few days where she honed her cuddling skills and showed off her playfulness. Finally getting a chance to just be a kitten!

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Monte’s Story: A Tale of Perseverance

Imagine…you are less than a year old, you are still learning about the world and the humans you live with. And then the first people you call your family surrender you to the shelter because you have too much energy.


Monte at AACC. Making the best of waiting for the right home.

You go home with another family and just as you are beginning to settle in, they also decide you have too much energy and give you to another family.  So you start again…maybe this time will work except that by now you are beginning to feel anxious because you keep having to learn about new people and new homes. But no luck, this family brings you back to the shelter because you destroyed items in the home as an outlet for your energy and anxiety.

OK…the people at AACC haven’t given up on you because they place you up for adoption again. And again you go home. But this time the family decides they don’t have time for you and you come back to the shelter. Have you been counting? Four homes. Four different homes.

And what you haven’t been able to tell anyone this whole time is that not only are you young and energetic but you also don’t feel quite right. And this makes you anxious.

Once again the staff, who knows you are good dog, gives you the chance to go home with another family. And this time, this time, you are adopted by someone who has PERSEVERANCE. And you learn how important a human’s PERSEVERANCE can be to a dog’s life, especially your life.

steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.

This time your new family is determined to work with you and all that wonderful, exuberant energy you have! And they are determined to figure out why you feel anxious. So they take you to the veterinarian and they try different foods for you. And they notice something…when you eat chicken your skin and your eyes get red and you get anxious. And you start barking, barking, barking.

Monte_allergic reaction 2

Monte’s skin while having an allergic reaction.

So they check the ingredients in your food and make sure you don’t eat any food or treats with chicken. And guess what? You calm down. You stop the anxious barking. You feel better. Most importantly, you feel loved. And you know you are home.



Note: Monte’s change in behavior was noted by his family after they discovered his food allergy. AACC is not confirming that food allergies and behavior are directly linked. We also recommend obedience training for all young dogs as well as exercise and dog sports to keep young dogs physically and mentally challenged.


A Day at Anchorage Animal Care and Control

Want to see what happens behind the scenes at AACC on a typical day? Well, take a look!

Our shy kitten, Holiday, went on holiday from her kennel to be pampered in a foster home. She had been sitting, quietly, in her kennel for several weeks while adopters passed her by because she was so shy.

Holiday 1a

Holiday wonders what’s happening. Don’t worry kitten – you’re going on holiday!

Her foster mom met with AACC Kennel Supervisor, Sue, to get tips on how to help Holiday gain confidence. Why do we do this? So that Holiday will be set up for success when she comes back to the shelter and meets with potential adopters.  We’ve already heard from her foster mom that Holiday is learning how to play and loves to lay snuggled safe in her arms, purring contentedly.

And little Mina got lucky today. As Brandi, the AACC Executive Assistant, walked through the kennels she spotted this little one cowering in the corner of her kennel, terrified by the barking of the other dogs. And Brandi said “Well, this just isn’t going to work, is it?” as she scooped up little Mina and then settled her into her office.

Mina 2

Mina gets comfy on Brandi’s desk.

Mina made sure to let Brandi know just how grateful she was. Keep reading to see what happens with Mina later in the day!

Is she not adorable?

While our clinic was full of adopted cats and kittens who had come back for their spay or neuter surgeries, our maternity ward was hosting this sweet family. It’s amazing that we get any work done – we really just wanted to spend all day watching this momma with her babies. But duty calls…

After the day’s spay and neuter surgeries were done, the clinic was quiet as the felines recuperated – some a little better than others.

Neuter cat

Someone is going to sleep well tonight.

And what about our Mina? After bringing her into her office, Brandi picked up the phone and made a phone call…to Kitty and K-9 Connection, one of AACC’s rescue partners. She told them that this little girl was too frightened to stay in the kennels and asked if they could take her in to their program.  And they couldn’t resist. So later that day Mina was ushered from Brandi’s arms to the arms of Carol who will help her find her new family.

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