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My little Lucy

This is a story about how I failed, and still succeeded at being a foster mom. Our local humane society posted a request on their Facebook page asking for a foster family for two tiny puppies. They had seized the mother dog due to neglect, and found that she had given birth to a litter of only 3 puppies. She was barely old enough to breed and had been chained up outside with an intact male dog..so you can guess what happened next. Due to her age, she had no idea how to be a mother, and had the puppies scattered all over the yard, evidently giving birth as she walked around. They were found cold, almost lifeless, and starving. She wanted nothing to do with them, and was unfortunately also very sick with parasites, lack of nutrition, and a uterine infection, so they were put into foster care. Sadly, one puppy died before they realized she wasn't feeding them or keeping them warm. The little boy was doing well, but the little girl wasn't latching on to the bottle properly. She was lethargic, half the size of her brother, and cold. I took them both home at only 2 days old. We feared the little girl wasn't going to make it. She was so tiny, she wouldn't eat, and so lethargic that she would only move if you stimulated her. My husband and I worked hard, trying almost constantly throughout the day to get her to eat. I woke every 2 hours both nights that weekend, and we finally got her to latch on. Once she was eating, she improved daily. She quickly caught up in size to her brother and was as feisty as any puppy. Her brother was moved to a new foster mother who was going to adopt him, so we had just Lucy. She grew so fast I almost couldn't believe my eyes. As you can tell by her picture, she captured our hearts, and we now have a new family member. From foster mom to adoptive mom. And I couldn't be happier.

Sherrie Porter
Fremont, NE

An outside dog no more

As a transplant to the south, I wasnt used to the concept of outside dogs. So, looking out the window at my neighbors house every day, looking at the sweet puppy in the tiny enclosure, with no shelter, in all kinds of weather was just about killing me. After a particularly nasty storm, I looked out my front door, and there he was, in our front yard. I did the right thing, reluctantly, and returned him, only to see him running happy and free, the next day. After several more escapes, one that saw him returning from a neighbors house, across the road, I decided that I probably wanted him more than they did, and so I kept them. I steeled myself for the battle that was sure to happen.....them demanding that I return their dog, and me refusing........but it never happened. It was a week before the inevitable knock on my front door, before they even knew he was missing. "Yes, we have your dog and no, we are not giving him back. You didnt even know he was gone. You dont seem to want him anyway, so let us keep him and love him. He will be loved and will live out his days as Rebels best friend and will never be kept as an outside dog".

At 6 months old, he was a handful, but he had never learned house manners, Rebel was elated to have a buddy his own age. Dixie, ever the flirt, mothered him. 3 dogs, lab and lab mixes, almost drove me over the edge. We survived lab adolescence somehow. I learned to "put my stuff up". I dont know what our lives would have been without our "redhead", but I know what his would have been without us.

Brenda Hubsher
Forest, MS

my kii-kii

I came to live with my grandparents on july the 7th 2013, I was sitting outside when this little black kitten came up the driveway and jumped into this tree that we have in the front yard, I went over to the tree and got him down, and we came into the house and my nana took one look at him and said NO, NO, NO, we already have 2 dogs and a cat, and they belonged to my grandparents, well it took maybe 5 minutes and my nana said yes, it's been a year and I love him so much.

Ashleigh Bartlett

Farmville VA

Ashleigh Bartlett
farmville, AL

My boys!!

I had just retired from the military and started a new office job when a couple of co-workers came in with a box. they set it on my desk and went into a meeting. I peeked in and saw 3 of the smallest kittens i had ever seen! once the meeting was over they took the box and i asked where the kittens were going. another co-worker does a lot with rescue kittens so she was going to take them and try to find homes for them. i kept thinking about them. i have always loved cats so decided to take them home. one had already been adopted so i took the remaining two boys. i named them piccolo (little one) and fortuna (lucky) and after a bath, vet (shots and eventually to get fixed) and bottle feeding they have grown into two of the best cats ever! each has their own personality and both make my days better just by being there! i sincerely could not imagine my life without them and so glad i don't have to!

Rebecca Crossman
Ferndale, NY


I first met Surprise when I was 15. I had just gotten out of a mental institution and was still a bit on edge. I wasn't as active or friendly as I was before. I had major depressive disorder, and you could tell. A month after I got out though, I met a cat on my deck in front of the house.

I had never seen her around the neighborhood before. She was purring as soon as I walked out to greet her, you could hear her from the door. We already had 5 cats, and my mother insisted we didn't need another one. Surprise came in the house later that day. She stayed in my room for a few months until we could afford to take her to a vet and make sure she didn't have any infectious diseases. I had no idea what to name her, but the word "surprise" kept popping in to my brain. So, that was her new name.

Surprise slept in my bed every night. She would curl up on my pillow, purring away, and licking my ears until I fell asleep. I went to a small private school where everyone knew what had happened with me. The secretary called my mother up one day and said she had never seen me so happy, and to do whatever possible to keep that cat.

Surprise saved me. She has been my therapy cat ever since. She never cared if I cried in to her fur and always listened when I told her stories or secrets. She would just lay there calmly purring until I calmed down.

I can't express to anyone how grateful I am for my cat. I'm 21 now, and I know without her I wouldn't be here today.

Austin, TX

Isac the loved tripod

I'm an girl who rescues cats and finds them forever homes. My path came across with a woman who feeds feral cats in the street. We started talking and she told me a story about a cat who became insured about a year ago and didn't use his left hind leg but she can't help him because she can't catch him. I felt I had to do something. Next day I got a cat catching trap and me and my boyfriend wen't to his feeding spot at 10:00 pm, hid the trap in the bushes and waited for 2 hours, but he didn't show up. Just when we were about to lose hope, we saw him! Then we were quiet and waited some more. 5 minutes later we heard a bang and he was in the trap!

Next day we went to the veterinarian and got some sad news that his leg had to be amputated. Unfortunately the surgery didn't go so good and he had to have two more surgerys, but after two months of caring for him he finally got better. At first I thought I was determined to find him a very good forever home, but that didn't go as planned. At the time of capture he was feral and quite angry at people so I had to get him to be a little bit more used to people. So after four months he grew on me and I couldn't let him go. He became my cat and I couldn't betray his trust. Right now he comes and wants my attention. He loves to sleep on my lap and near me at night, but he doesn't like anybody but me and when my friends come to visit me, he hides in the closet. I always leave the closet door open for him. He will forever be my furbaby!

Helsinki, Finland

Daddy's Buddy

In 2010, we had to put down our 16 year retriever/collie mix, Duke. He was my husband's constant companion since his retirement in 2008 due to Parkinson's Disease. I knew that I would not have the time or energy to care for another animal since I was my husband's caregiver as well as working a 9 to 5 job. Since my husband could no longer play golf nor drive a car, he spends all day at home alone. In February 2013, my husband finally confessed that he was lonely at home. I asked if a dog would help and he said yes. My oldest daughter had a Beagle and I knew that that was the breed we needed for my husband. I combed the rescue websites but there were not any Beagles needing rescuing but I didn't lose hope. I finally found a male Beagle but the rescue shelter was more than 1 hour away and he was positive for heartworms. But we decided we needed to check him out anyway. We made an appointment and rode to the rescue on a Saturday afternoon. There was Mr. Shiloh as he was known at the shelter in a pen. When they let him out, he came directly to my husband who was sitting in a chair in the middle of the compound. One week later, he was ours. We named him "Daddy's Buddy" shortened to Buddy. He had hookworms and was anemic from them, no appetite but a visit to our family vet and he was on his way to feeling better. More than a year later and he is a spoiled, happy Beagle. He is still positive for heartworms but we are treating them and he should be negative soon. He and my husband binge watch TV shows on Netflix but I know for a fact that they actually take naps! Buddy has done more to lift my husband's spirits and depression than the little pill he takes. He's our Buddy Boy and don't know what we would do without him.

Rosie Kohara
Spartanburg, SC

I Chose 1.. The Other Chose Me

My story really isn't that extravagant. My neighbors had two kittens who had lost their mother and needed to be bottle fed. They gave the cats to us. One kept getting out before we could get them spayed, and she got pregnant. We assumed the dad was my orange cat who really wasn't anyone's cat (stray) but liked me the most. When there was only one orange kitten, I knew I had to have him. His dad was getting up there in years (and actually died less than a year later). So I brought him home along with another kitten my sister-in-law wanted to foster until she got an apartment that allowed pets. She took her cat one day, and my poor Prince was devastated. 3 days, he kept me awake meowing for his brother.

At the same time, one of the gray kittens would follow me around every time I went to Mom's. He would curl up in my lap at the most inopportune times (like when I was in the bathroom) and finally I told Mom I was taking Yoda home with me and explained that Prince was lonely. The two fought for less than a day and are now inseparable. Prince has separation anxiety, but Yoda is an emotional rock for the both of us and for my husband. Both have been through more than any kitty should have to (like a tornado, homelessness, and moving a lot), and they are only 7. But they bounce back for me and for each other. They rescued me; not the other way around. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Dawn DeMarco
Lincoln, NE

Street Dog to Spoiled Dog

I've had a cat for about ten years, but have also always wanted a dog. I knew I wanted an adult female dog that was small and that was either from a rescue or a shelter. When I searched online, my little gal, who was being called Kaylee, popped up with the cutest picture of her doggie head tilt. She was listed as a two year old yorkie/jack russel mix. She was being fostered through a local rescue. After a trial period, and I admit, some hesitation, I decided to keep her. She and my cat hated each other at first. She also had so much energy that I worried my condo, with its tiny yard, would not be big enough for her energy needs. But, she was the sweetest dog. She was the best little snuggler and I couldn’t resist her little puppy face. So, I renamed her Reese Cup, at the suggestion of my students, because she is black and brown like a Reese’s peanut butter cup, and officially adopted her.

Her story is not the saddest of stories. She was either lost or abandoned, but without any signs of physical abuse. But, she was obviously mistreated. She was very dog aggressive, and almost too protective of me. She got attached as quickly as I did. After about a year of classes, she became dog friendly and now enjoys the dog park. She knows many commands and listens well. She's still a snuggler and protective, but understands not everyone is a threat. Sadly, no matter how I comfort her, she's fearful in some situations. She had a stomach bug and had accidents in the middle of the night. I found her literally cowering in a corner. After three years, she still flinches if I pet her when she's not expecting it. But, she's come so far! I don't know her history, but I hope someday she is able to forget it. I just do my best to spoil her, show her she is safe, and that nothing could ever cause me to harm her. She deserves it!

Dayton, OH

Saving Mr. Tippie

After purchasing our home in Oct 2001, we decided to adopt two cats from the local no kill shelter. The whole family loaded into the car and off we went to their pet store "visit" day. Mr. Tippie, so named because of the white tip on his tail, convinced my non cat liking husband that he was the one. Along with Mr. Tippie, we adopted his litter mate, Ms. Smokie. He loved to climb into the Christmas tree and stare down from behind the lights. He would race through the house with the children and play for hours. We gave him the best life had to offer a kitty, including a heated sleeping bed for the cold winter Wisconsin nights. Sadly, in 2012 I received a call from my youngest son who was crying and frantic. Something was wrong with Mr. Tippie. He couldn't walk, his back legs were useless and he didn't seem to know where he was. I rushed home and we took him straight to the vet. I was worried he had fallen and broken his spine since he had a love of climbing up high on the fridge. Turns out he had a "stroke" and was in pain and it was recommended we put him to sleep. As they administered the shot, my son held his precious kitty and refused to let go. The staff would quietly enter the room and try to talk him into giving up Mr. Tippie, but he refused. He cried like only a 16-year old could for two hours with his darling cat. Finally, we talked him into letting him go so arrangements could be made for his funeral. We had him for a short 10-years in our lives, but he provided so much love and joy and is still missed every day. His litter mate still misses him and we had a hard time for a few months after his death with her looking for him.

We kept his ashes and had his paw print made in plaster for a memorium we will put in the garden.

Twin Lakes, WI
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