The Parakeet and the Juggler

UPDATE, August 23, 2021 After a few close calls, no owner came to claim Hilby the parakeet. He went up for adoption today at 11:05 a.m. We didn’t have to wait long for the end to Hilby’s story…at 11:14 a.m. he was adopted! A nine-minute adoption floor length-of-stay may be the shortest on SPCA record, and that’s a 154-year-old history! We of course won’t give too many details on Hilby’s new residence other than to say this…Hilby is now called DION, and if you see a “wanderer” that looks like the bird pictured above flying the West Seneca, NY skies, well, please give us a call, because it might be Dion!


August 17, 2021 — If you have seen Hilby The Skinny German Juggle Boy at the #ErieCountyFair or elsewhere, you already know his remarkable talent is unmatched. Now you can add “….and Compassionate Animal Lover Who Takes Action When Needed!” to his long resume! As caring as he is skilled, check out this saga that unfolded yesterday! Read about it here >>

The bird’s name? Why, it’s Hilby, of course, at least while he’s with us! Hilby’s stray hold period lasts until August 23, so hopefully his owner will hear of this story and come to our 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter!

Scentimental SPCA Tale Blooms at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses 

July 29, 2021
By: SPCA Chief Communications Officer Gina Lattuca

People find love at the SPCA Serving Erie County every day.

They’ve called us Match.com. eHarmony.

But Ancestry.com? This was a first.

To be fair, this magic moment did not actually happen at the SPCA’s West Seneca shelter. It actually started nearly eight years ago at our former shelter in Tonawanda…November 30, 2013, to be exact…and continued this summer at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses in Williamsville.

That’s where Mark Yadon, vice president of Mischler’s, brings his dog, Foster, to work each day. As Yadon tells us, Foster happily greets customers as they begin their shopping…just for a few moments, Yadon said…then makes his way back to “dad.”

One day this summer, Foster left Yadon’s side to greet a male customer and didn’t immediately return. Yadon, wondering why Foster was uncharacteristically gone so long, headed to where the customer was shopping, and there with the shopper was Foster. Yadon says Foster simply would not leave the man’s side and kept sniffing his ankle and leg. When Yadon commented on this unusual behavior exhibited by Foster, the shopper replied that Foster may smell his own dog on him and that could be why Foster remained next to him.

Yadon and the customer started talking dogs, and the customer mentioned that he and his wife, Cheryl, had adopted their dog, an Australian Shepherd mix like Foster, from the SPCA Serving Erie County about seven years or so ago. He explained that their dog, Luke, was just  a puppy at the time, transported to the SPCA from Kentucky days earlier.

Yadon marveled at this adoption story because, like Luke, FOSTER was adopted from the SPCA Serving Erie County about seven years or so ago, and…yes…FOSTER was a puppy just transported to the SPCA from Kentucky.

Foster’s original name, Yadon shared, was “Randy.” Luke’s original name, the customer said, was “Travis.”

Randy. Travis. Littermates, it turns out, from the City Animal Shelter in Menifee, KY, transported from that overcrowded shelter to the SPCA Serving Erie County on November 26, 2013. Randy was adopted November 30, 2013 at 12:38 p.m., and Travis, the same day at 1:01 p.m.

The customer, Patrick Baird of Tonawanda, returned to Mischler’s the following week with Luke (Luke Skywalker is his full name) and the former Randy/Travis, now Foster/Luke, enjoyed a happy family reunion, all thanks to one expert sniffer who overstayed his welcome with a customer!

We know we speak for these two canines when we say being reunited must have felt so good. In the words of Randy Travis, they were too gone for too long.

You can meet the famous Foster at Mischler’s Florist and Greenhouses, 118 South Forest Road in Williamsville!

See the story on WGRZ-TV here >>

A special thank you to Mark and Foster Yadon and Patrick, Cheryl, and Luke Baird for allowing us to share this heartwarming tale!

BILL THE CAT: One in a Million (or one in 3,000, to be exact)!

June 24, 2020
By: Gina Lattuca, SPCA Serving Erie County Chief Communications Officer

UPDATE, JUNE 24, 6:30 p.m.: Bill has been adopted! When his story made national news today, we received more than 100 phone calls from potential adopters from all over the country! Fortunately, our boy will be staying home! Now named Milo, he’ll be living in Buffalo with Jomaira & Kiara!


BILL THE CAT is one in a million…or to be more specific, one in 3,000! Why? Because he’s a tortoiseshell kitty, and he’s a boy!

If you’re new to the cat world, that might not seem too exceptional. But those who have spent a little time in feline circles are paying close attention right now, especially after seeing Bill’s photo with that blue collar around his neck and realizing that this is a male tortoiseshell cat, an incredible rarity.

Genetics are pretty interesting when it comes to calico cats, and the same goes for tortoiseshell cats…even the “pastel” or dilute ones like Bill, with softer colors. Several genetic mutations cause these cats to develop coats with patterns that seem marbleized, much like the shell of a tortoise. And with the most common chromosome combos, all calicos and tortoiseshell felines are female. Well….almost all.

Think back to high school. Females have XX chromosomes, males have XY.

X carries the gene for coat colors; Y determines gender.

According to this article issued by Falls Village Veterinary Hospital in Raleigh, NC, “Orange coloring in cats comes from a gene in X chromosomes. Biology refresher: females have XX chromosomes. Males have XY chromosomes. So, it stands to reason that either a male or female cat can be or have orange coloring. The girls, though, are commonly calico, tortie, or orange tabby whereas the vast majority of males are only orange tabby. This is because only a cat with XX chromosomes can be calico or tortie.”

So if two X chromosomes are necessary in a calico or tortie kitten, and males are XY with just one X, how are male calico or tortie cats possible?

Very rarely, an extra strand of DNA (three chromosomes) is apparent in a male, making the male XXY. What does this mean? While the Y determines he is a male, the two Xs can, in fact, give him a calico or a tortoiseshell coat!

This is an incredibly rare occurrence. In fact, several sources researched cite a study by the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine that found only about 1 in 3,000 of these calico/tortoiseshell cats are male!

Undoubtedly, it must have occurred to someone throughout history to try and breed these cats, however, cats with three chromosomes are usually also sterile. Neutering is still important to help prevent negative medical or behavioral developments.

Because we don’t see many male calico or tortoiseshell cats at the SPCA Serving Erie County, Bill the cat is feeling pretty special these days, but he’s trying not to let it get to his head. Bill is waiting to meet his new family at our 300 Harlem Rd., West Seneca shelter! We have a feeling Bill will be scooped up quickly, but plenty of animals are at the SPCA waiting to become a part of your family! See our available animals here.

Adoption appointments can be made by calling 716-875-7360, ext. 207.

Thanks to the SPCA’s Lindsey Wood for Bill’s photos and videos!