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We were NOT cat people...until Izzy came into our lives

We had just lost our beloved dachshund Buddy to kidney failure and our old terrier Peanut was in his final days, also suffering from kidney failure and a heart murmur as well. Our hearts were broken. Then one day in June 2011 as I sat in my office at my house I heard a little mew coming from outside my window. When I went out to investigate I found a tiny kitten standing at my front door. Since we weren't cat people I couldn't think of what to do with this tiny creature. My husband came out and took the kitten and a sausage biscuit, that was roughly the same size as the kitten, and placed them on the porch of our "cat loving" neighbors. A short time later the kitten was once again under my window mewing. He was very persistent. So I gathered him up, took him inside and decided I would bathe him and take pictures and post them on Facebook. Surely someone would want a free kitten.

Later that afternoon my husband started talking about all the things we would have to get for the kitten. I kept reminding him we were NOT keeping this cat. But the thing was, he was such a strange looking cat I don't think anyone else wanted him. By the end of the day we were both madly in love and decided to keep him. We were very proud of our new little kitty when he used the litter box the next morning. He must be a genius kitten, we thought. He was very loving too, loved to snuggle, also unlike every other cat in the world. And to our amazement he loved to fetch, again, genius! We adored our new little kitty, even if he was a little uglier than most cats. We named him Izzy.

We learned if you have love in your heart for an animal it doesn't matter what kind of animal it is.

Since that day we have adopted another stray cat found in a parking lot. And Izzy? Well he's not so ugly anymore.

Ginger Sitler
Augusta, GA

My Lady

I had just moved into a new house after living with a roommate for many years and just graduated from LPN school. It was quiet around the house as I was used to having a dog around since my friend had a dog that lived with us. So one day I decided to go to the local animal shelter and look for a puppy that would be a small dog. They told me that the only puppies they had at the time would be large dogs but I could look at others in the kennel area. As I went up and down the rows, I saw a few that I liked but none that really jumped out to me. I went back in to where the puppies were kept and was told that a 4 year old dog that would remain small, had been brought in that morning by the family of the owner who had to be placed in a nursing home and no one in the family wanted her. So I told them I would like to see her. As soon as I saw her I knew that she was the one. The staff opened the cage door and there sat this beautiful reddish colored large breed Chihuahua with longer hair. They told me her name was Lady. They asked to see how she would handle me, would she come to me. As soon as they put Lady down on the floor she came right up to me and into my arms and laid her head on my arm. She came home with me right then, she didn't even spend 5 hours at the shelter.

She is now 21 years old, blind, but still gets around, she lets us know when she is hungry, thirsty or when she need anything by her new bark/cry she does. My husband and I know our days are numbered with her but she has been our friend and buddy, we will miss her but until then she is still our Lady.

Angela Oller
Davis, OK

Meet Aurora

This is Aurora. She was a feral cat that started showing up around our property 2 years ago. One day she came by my office window and laid down. I went to check on her and she was very weak... almost dead. We took her to the vet and they could not draw blood, her body temperature was way low and she weighed 3.5 pounds. They recommended putting her down. We couldn't do that. We had them give her subcutaneous fluids and we took her home expecting her to not make it through the night.

I talked to her that night and said goodbye. The next morning she was still there and was much more responsive. We continued to give her the fluids and provided her with a heating pad. Everyday she got a bit stronger and was eating more and more food.

Now she is running around and looking great. She has added weight and is a happy kitty.

I'm so glad we saved her life, and now she is part of our family.

Marc Harris
Santa Rosa, CA

Chrono & Lily

Here is the story of Chrono (unsocial old boy, right) and Lily (little princess, left). Chrono will be 7 years old soon and Lily will hit 1 year.

Chrono was 6 months old when I took him in. His previous owner (a friend of a friend) didn't like how he played with her little girl and wanted to get rid of it. He loves being pet with anyone's feet and will not hesitate to sleep on me when he has the chance.

Lily was abandoned by her cat mother and her 3 siblings and left in a box in front of a pet shop. They where barely 2 months old. This particular pet shop didn't sell pets, but the staff (which some are my friends) gathered them and we bottle fed them until we could find them new homes. While all 4 came from the same mother, none had the same colors. Like everyone else I had fallen in love with Lily and managed to bring her home. She purr like there's no tomorrow and very loudly and will get along nice with anyone.

Chrono had lived 6 years alone with me, not seeing any other cats or dogs. Even to this day Chrono doesn't have a clue of what to do with Lily and she likes to tease him all the time (not helping her case lol), but they both live happy.

Fun fact: both my cats and myself were born in the month of May. Talk about a coincidence!

Bonus fun fact: I love that picture which is pure luck, they where both playing (more like fighting for Chrono I guess) and hitting themselves only with their paws.

Eric Lemieux
Gatineau, QC, Canada

Milo... we rescued him when he was 6 months old, abused, malnourished and matted to the skin

For our first dog, took me years to convince my wife. She fell in love with him almost right away. For our second dog, It took only a week of sending pictures of puppies to her before she also realized he needs a companion. We were started our search for a buddy for our 3 year old Cockapoo, Toby, when we noticed he was quite lonely by himself while we were at work during the day, watching him on the webcam. After scouring the ads on Craigslist, Petfinder, local animal shelters, Kijiji, etc, and placing several un-returned calls, and a few meet/greets that didn't really work out, we came across a posting for a 6 month old Maltese-Shih-tzu puppy. It appeared the owner didn't want to spend the time to love and care for him or bother training him. They wanted to hand him over in a parking lot at a mall, but we wanted to spend more time with him to make sure he was a good match for Toby. We took them to a local park so they could meet, and turns out they were a match so we took him home that day. They named him "Milo" which we liked a lot and kept the name. Milo was never brushed, never cared for, his fur was matted right down to his skin which looked like it was very painful. He was severely malnourished and was skin and bones. He still has anxiety issues that he will never likely be able to be trained out of, due to likely being beaten/abused before we got him, but we have managed to work around those, and he has gone through obedience school, and some of which has stuck, lol... but he is an amazing companion for Toby, and they play and run for hours. Milo is the little guy on the left, and Toby is on the right in the picture. Both are just amazing dogs and members of our family.

Anonymous
Surrey, BC, Canada

Autumn

We lost our beloved calico, Ginger, after she was with us 17 years. My husband, who claimed he didn't like cats, had, nevertheless, been fond of Ginger, who adored him. He agreed to get another small calico, so we went to our local no-kill shelter and chose a sweetie we named Amber. Unfortunately, Amber was unhappy with our other cat, Buddy. After a few months of dealing with her inappropriate choices of places to urinate, we decided she was not the cat for us.... we sadly returned her to the shelter.

It was several months before we became brave enough to try again. On the shelter's website I found a calico that seemed to suit. She was being fostered in a far-away home, so we went to see her. There were many, many cats there....the lady had actually converted an outbuilding into a home for her foster cats. When we saw the one I had thought might work for us, she turned out to be quite a large cat....and the spark just was not there. I looked over the other kitties, but none really claimed me. Meanwhile, my husband was sitting in the reception area and several cats kept rubbing against him and meowing. One of them was a sweet, small calico who seemed to have a cold. I asked about her and learned that she did not have a cold, but had a birth defect - a malformation of her sinuses. This caused her to sneeze a lot and have a snotty nose much of the time. Several treatments had been tried with no real success. She had been at the shelter since kittenhood, over four years.

Having raised six children, I was familiar enough with snotty noses.....we decided we could deal with this. We brought her home on a trial basis, and she has been with us ever since. We wipe her nose frequently, medicate her and clean up after her as necessary. Her favorite spot is on my husband's lap. She is a calm, sweet cat, and now patiently tolerates our latest additions, two active rescue kittens.

Anonymous
Edwardsburg, MI

From rescue dog to savior dog

My beloved German Shepherd Callie was just a month under 9 years old when she accidentally ate something with poison in it. Her death was horrendous and devastated me beyond words. I felt it would be a long time before I'd be ready for another dog, both because of the mourning process and out of loyalty to Callie.

After crying every day for 3 months, I started thinking I might need to get another dog to help me heal and to fill the huge void in my life and heart. I knew I wanted another German Shepherd, so I started looking online at shelter websites and German Shepherd rescue sites. I even went to meet a couple of dogs I thought might be "the one."

Then one day I saw a photo of a tan German Shepherd who was looking directly into the camera. Something about that face just grabbed my heart. She was in a shelter about an hour from where I live, so I called the staff there and learned she had been found wandering in a parking lot with no tags or chip. I made arrangements to go meet her the next day, and when I did, I couldn't walk away from her. I cried for the loss of Callie and for feeling like I was replacing her, but I brought this dog home, renamed her Lily, and can't imagine my life without her.

Lily saved me. She helped me heal. She bonded with me and loves me as much as I love her. And because she intuitively knows what I need, she helps me every day as my service dog. Rescue dog? No, savior dog is more like it.

Jane S
Clearwater, FL

How Rescuing a Cat Made Me Face My Fear

When I met my cat, I was afraid of cats. I got jumped by a Tomcat on a in my grandparents’ barn as a kid and had to go to the emergency room. I never got over it.

When I met my cat it was an October in the Midwest of the U.S. and it was getting cold. I walked out of my house to go to work and a black and white tom was sitting on the hood of the car. He was underweight, some of his hair was missing in patched and one of his eyes was swollen closed. He needed medical attention. I was afraid of him, but I love all animals and this one needed my help.

I called the no-kill shelter and they said they did not have room for him. It was up to me. I called in for work before using some tuna to lure him into a dog crate so I could transport him. The vet restrained him so they could treat his eye and give him dewormer. He was horrified. I almost cried for him.

He gained weight quickly. He lived for a while in the spare room because he was not fixed. After he got neutered I let him explore the rest of the house. We were not on speaking terms as we didn't trust each other. I pretended he wasn’t there usually and he seemed content to do the same. In December I got snowed into my house for three days. One day he sat next to me while I was watching a T.V. show. The next he let me stroke him on the head. Now he sleeps in bed with me and sits on my lap while I work from home. I sometimes think that leaving socialization on his terms is what helped him decide to trust me in the end.

When I moved to Costa Rica for work I moved with my two dogs and cat who I usually call Mr. Poofa. He flew first class with me. I am no longer afraid of cats.

Marie
Cartago, Costa Rica

my julius

Julius has actually two stories... we first found lil jewels outside a convenience store near our home in Jan 2014. He was cold and wet and very small. I was not sure if he would make it but i never could walk away from an animal in need. We brought him home and he quickly found his place. We have a rather large cat named Romeo and Julius took right to him. Julius is unlike most cats he gives kisses and has more of a dog like behavior. Long story short he found a home.

A few months after we found him we moved upstairs in our apt complex for more room. The first day of April we had the windows open and letting the warm air in. Mister Julius decided to jump out the window to go catting i suppose. He was gone regardless and i cried this baby had become my sleep buddy my best friend and i was distraught i called his name over and over to no avail.

Easter Sunday 2014 - my son calls me and ask how much i loved him. My response how much you need? A few moments later my phone goes off I was at work ......my message was from my son a picture of him holding my lil jewels. He had found him when he had came home and brought him inside.

AND I CRIED.....my baby was home again.

Julius has not left my side in fact as i type this he lays sleeping beside me. He is scheduled for neutering next week. He still gives lots of kisses and loves to be held even more so now. Also he doesn't go near the windows or door he had his adventure now he just stays with momma. Him and Romy are still great friends

Tammy Skeans
Johnson City, TN

The Life of Brian

It was Fathers Day 2012 when a fluffy little face full of mischief appeared on my Facebook news feed. We had been on the lookout for a new addition to the family having lost our precious boy to cancer. The ideal dog for us would be two or three years old, medium size, short haired. Knowing puppies were mored easily re homed we dismissed them, until we saw his face.

Just a baby pup, he had been found on a building site hurt and hungry but fortunately taken to a a No Kill refuge. His little leg was so badly broken, elsewhere he may have been put to sleep. The injury consistent with having been kicked Brian needed expensive, specialist surgery. Those who cared for him named him after the Monty Python movie The Life of Brian and the name stuck.

We were smitten, love at first sight and lucky enough to have our application to adopt him accepted. It had been a very long time since we had a puppy in the house and had forgotten the amount of work they were. Fortunately Brian is smart and took to training easily, always ready and eager to learn. 18 months and 50 kilo later It is impossible to measure the amount of joy he has brought with him. He has a permanent smile on his big boofy face, even those who are usually wary of large dogs cannot help but laugh when he is around.

Anonymous
Perth, Australia
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