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Living In Perfect Harmony

In early October of 2013 my co-worker happened to notice a little kitten sitting outside under a shed behind our office. When we realized how small and skinny she was, we knew she had no home. We began leaving food outside for her and it didn't take long for her to catch on. Since it was already October, we knew it was going to get cold soon so after speaking with our boss, he decided we could keep her as an office pet. We caught her and had her fixed and brought back to the office. She hid from us for months. We gave her time but eventually started blocking off her hiding places, forcing her to be social. She was terrified and incredibly feral. We noticed she was losing a lot of fur in one spot on her side.When we took her to the vet in January we realized it was a contagious fungus, which, combined with her feral nature, was dangerous for our customers. She also had cancerous growths on her ears. I made a deal with my boss: if he took care of her medical needs, i would take her home. She had her ears clipped and went home with me that night. I named her Harmony. She hid from me for weeks. I began to hold her. Definitely against her will. But she would fight me a little less every day... And then she began to play. She played with my dog (Serenity), my boyfriend and myself. She stopped hiding altogether. She began talking to me, or at least attempting. She has no voice. Then one day she escaped through a window. She was under the house all day. Once we finally got her out, she had reverted. She was hiding again. I had almost lost hope until the night she jumped up into my lap. She let me love and cuddle her. And i did. And i cried. All she needed was love. She never hid again. Not from us or our guests. She took over our house and our hearts.

Leigan
Westminster, SC

Apollo My Poo

For starters I never had a dog growing up and when I turned 35, I was working a new job in San Antonio Texas and met someone who had 2 Chihuahuas and I fell in love with them because they were sweet and small. I also liked the fact that they didn't have a lot hair. So I decided to get a new puppy but where was I going to get one from. I started going to the Humane Society with my son, just see what they had and I visited every weekend to see which one I would decide to get. After awhile I didn't really see the type of dog I wanted and I wanted a puppy. The place didn't have too many puppies. So I decided to tell a few people I was looking for new pup and my cousin called me one day stating that she new someone who was giving away pups. I waited 8 weeks for one and I picked out a chocolate color mini pinscher, chihuauhua mixed and I wanted male. So the time comes to get my puppy and when I see the lady, the pup was the wrong color. I stated what I wanted and said no I don't think I want it the one she brought me. She asked to just sit the box down for a few seconds and the pup jumped out of the box and sat on my seat and I looked at him, the little 2 pound pup and fell instantly in love. I said I will take him and I took him home and I and my son put names in a cup and shook it up and chose a name for him, it was between Phoenix and Apollo. The name that fell out of the cup was Phoenix and we both looked at each other and said naw that doesn't suit him, so Apollo was chosen. My poo is 8 years old now and he is sweet and hyper and loves to lick you. I wouldn't trade him in for anything.

Dionne
san antonio, TX

The "Found Cat" Who Changed Me

We were packing up, getting ready to move in 3 weeks- It was a brisk October Day. My boyfriend stepped outside for a break when a little black cat came right up to him, started nudging and rubbing his leg. My boyfriend, being a life-long cat-person brought this little fella in for some tuna. I scoffed at first, I was not a cat-person. He was cute and all, but not my cup of tea. We went about our business, leaving the door open and the little black cat just stayed inside checking out what we were doing and playing with the packing tape. We decided it was too cold to leave him outside for the night so we kept him indoors while searching for his owner on local websites. We did the same the next day- Website after website when we came across a "Found Cat" ad dated a week prior- It was clearly him. We called the number to find out where they found the cat and if they had any luck locating the owner- No answer repeatedly. The entire time we were searching, we were secretly hoping that we wouldn't find the owner because Gomez, as we had named him, was the sweetest little thing! He turned me into a cat-person that first night by snuggling up next to me on the couch. I was hooked! That was four years ago, he's still with us today and now has a little sinister to play with- I can't imagine life without him. Gomez turned me into the cat-loving-person I am today and I will be forever grateful for his courage to reach out for help that cold October day!

Jes Stulc
Minneapolis, MN

Our King Henry VIII

One day, I went to pick up some furniture I found off craigslist. The poster said they were ditching their rent, getting rid of everything "except the TV and the cat...unless you want the cat". Although I had declined, I'll admit I was interested.

As I entered, I was shyly greeted by Otis, a 20 pound gentle giant. Too shy to stick around, he hid in a corner as I silently dismantled furniture for hours. I had forgotten he was even there until my boyfriend came by. He immediately went to the corner, held Otis' face in his hands, and exclaimed "he's a Maine Coon! My favorite!" with delight. I knew, at that moment, he was ours.

The poster told us they guessed Otis was about 9. They adopted him from a shelter, where he had been for years because he was "unadoptable". The previous owners, they believed, were abusive, which made him fearful all the time. They let me know that if we didn't take him, he would live in a car with them - homeless. The idea of a cat sitting in a hot car all day as they went to work was too much - we ended up taking him.

We renamed him "King Henry VIII" as his impressive girth demanded a more regal title. He is very shy, crying loudly every time we pick him up. We agree that he shows signs of past abuse. Every waking moment is like a life-or-death struggle for him, fearful of any attention he receives. Even a year later, he still hides in our closet, occasionally coming out to lounge about, lording over all of us.

It took him about a year to discover the outdoors. Before, he was too scared to venture outside...now, he refuses to come in! If we call for him, he'll hide in the bushes, juuuuust out of our reach. He loves sitting on towels and sleeping with his stuffed froggy (yes, he sleeps with a stuffed animal). He may be stand-offish and he never cuddles with us, but we still love our King Henry VIII!

Heather J.
Rancho Palos Verdes, CA

Cloud and Tiny

My roommate and I both had cats when I moved in. His was 10, and mine was 4 (Itchy and Angel). I moved into my own place, but eventually moved back in when my landlords found out the apartment I was in was not zoned residential. Itchy had been living on my roommate's uncle's farm for 5 years, but had gotten pregnant and sick at the same time; so, he brought her back here to live. She had cancer, but lived long enough to have her last 5 kittens. Shortly after they were born, my roommate was going to take them outside to hit them over the heads with a shovel. I forbade this, and he said they were my responsibility. I decided to keep two of them. Well, I decided to keep Tiny (the runt of the litter), and another one to keep her company. None of the others were making a case for themselves until one of them started jumping in my lap and asking for attention. He had a light film over one eye, so I named him Cloud. My nephew took the black one - a real troublemaker; and, when my roommate sold me the house to move down south he took the other two. :-) So, it was Angel, Cloud, and Tiny for a couple of years until I lost Angel. As you can see from the picture, their coats are pretty much the same; but, Cloud is about 20 lbs. while Tiny is around 9. I took them both in to be spayed and neutered, and to get their shots. Since the only time they have gone outside has been to go to the vet's, they won't even go near the door when it's open. Actually, they won't even let me pet them if I have my coat on... They turned 10 in March of '14, and I have spoiled them rotten. They both sleep with me: one at my feet, and the other near my head. I can't imagine life without them, and hope they hang around for a long time to come.

Robert Larsen
La Crosse, WI

Street kitten, saved and loved

Luma adopted us well before we had planned to get another cat. We had moved to Seattle in August 2013 with our 8-year-old cat, Havilland. We were still getting settled in when, one evening, we were walking to a nearby restaurant and spotted a kitten in the street near our house. I squatted and he immediately ran to me and started purring. We petted him and then continued on to our destination, which I regretted for the rest of the evening. What if he got hit by a car?

The next day was Saturday. I went out each hour to try to find him. Finally, when my husband got home from work at 10pm, we went out together one last time and there he was! Again he came running and jumped purring into my arms. He spent the night in our bathroom despite Hav’s growls. The next morning, I realized he had fleas and ear infections, which I didn’t want to expose Hav to, so I needed to bring him somewhere. The local animal shelter was undergoing renovations and couldn’t take him, but a local emergency vet agreed to take him as a “good Samaritan” find and treat his conditions. They probably saved his life. His ear infections were so severe that he would have been deaf within weeks.

In the end, we were able to adopt this darling creature. We named him Luma after our shared hometown of Petaluma, California (get it? Pet-a-Luma?). His tail is abbreviated due to an injury, but that doesn’t seem to decrease his spunky attitude one bit. He and Havilland bicker some, but we think she secretly loves having a companion!

Amanda Bryan
Seattle, WA

The Good and The Bad

Duke was a neighbor's dog when I first met him. I fell in love with this boy the moment I met him.He and his mother visited regularly and played with our horses. One day, I was lounging in the house when I heard loud gunfire. I ran outside just in time to see my neighbors cart off Duke's mom on the back of their flatbed truck. After that, Duke spent almost every hour at our home. Curiosity drove me to ask my neighbor's what his name was but all they told me was they simply called him Dog. A couple of months after that, they simply stopped feeding Duke. I started to feed him because I wasn't going to let this baby starve.

When it came time for our neighbors to move, I asked them if I could take Duke off of their hands since it was clear they didn't want anything to do with him. The son said yes, but the day after I asked, Duke was gone and so were they. I contacted the son and asked if he had changed his mind and decided to take the dog with him and he grew defensive and put all the blame on me and threatened me. After explaining to him I didn't have Duke, he hung on me calling me a liar. In an effort to find this baby, I posted Missing Pet signs all over the local vets office within a 25 mile radius. 5 months passed before I got a phone call from the UPS man that delivered in our neighborhood. He said he saw a dog matching the description of Duke in a nearby field and he looked pretty bad. I thanked the man, hung up and drove straight to where he said he saw the dog. It was Duke. Malnourished and severely afraid of everything. However, one look at me and after hearing my voice he perked up and ran straight into my arms. Now Duke is healthy and happy and has three other dogs and three cats to play with.

Aly A
Foyil, OK

Tiglet the Texas Rescue Kitty

I always said that I wanted a cuddly animal and one warm July night I found Tiglet. I had just arrived home when I heard a loud wild animal sound coming from under my truck. I ran inside to get my husband, because I thought it might be an injured wild animal. There are many wild animals around our ranch. When we both returned to the truck with a flashlight, I discovered a small, emaciated kitten, uninjured but very scared. We live in the middle of nowhere, and there was no sign of his littermates or a mama, so I picked him up by the scruff and brought him inside without saying a word to my husband. I put him in a box with some soft cat food and water, and he gobbled it up meowing as he was eating his food in garbled mouth-full meows. He had a bad eye infection and was very skinny. We took him to the vet who treated him for an eye infection, worms, and gave him his first shots. He started sleeping with us from the start and being my constant companion while I work on the computer. He has an Uncle Orange who was already a member of our household and an Uncle Jet, our mixed breed dog. Uncle Orange has been a solitary cat his whole life, so becoming accustomed to a new kitty has been a challenge. Orange will often take off for long periods to get a break from the now rambunctious teenager, but he always comes back. His Uncle Jet welcomed Tiglet from the start and they get along great all the time. Tiglet has adapted very well to his new family. He comes every single time I call him and he sits for treats. He is a loving kitty who likes to cuddle and lets me takes great pictures of him. I never thought I could love a little kitty as much as I love Tiglet. Like so many good things in life, he came at the perfect time, when I was not expecting him.

Dayna De Hoyos
Comfort, TX

Little Tiglet our rescue kitty from the Texas Hill Country

I always said that I wanted a cuddly animal and one warm July night I found Tiglet. I had just arrived home when I heard a loud wild animal sound coming from under my truck. I ran inside to get my husband, because I thought it might be an injured wild animal. There are many wild animals around our ranch. When we both returned to the truck with a flashlight, I discovered a small, emaciated kitten, uninjured but very scared. We live in the middle of nowhere, and there was no sign of his littermates or a mama, so I picked him up by the scruff and brought him inside without saying a word to my husband. I put him in a box with some soft cat food and water, and he gobbled it up meowing as he was eating his food in garbled mouth-full meows. He had a bad eye infection and was very skinny. We took him to the vet who treated him for an eye infection, worms, and gave him his first shots. He started sleeping with us from the start and being my constant companion while I work on the computer. He has an Uncle Orange who was already a animal member of our household and an Uncle Jet, our mixed breed dog. Uncle Orange has been a solitary cat his whole life, so becoming accustomed to a new kitty has been a challenge. Orange will often take off for long periods to get a break from the now rambunctious teenager, but he always comes back. His Uncle Jet welcomed Tiglet from the start and they get along great all the time. Tiglet has adapted very well to his new family. He comes every single time I call him and he sits for treats. He is a loving kitty who likes to cuddle and lets me takes great pictures of him. I never thought I could love a little kitty as much as I love Tiglet. Like so many good things in life, he came at the perfect time, when I was not expecting him.

Dayna De Hoyos
Comfort, TX

The Story of Duke

As a rescue volunteer, I was notified about a little red dog in a rural, high kill shelter, on the euthanize list in two days! The dog in the shelter photo looked scared, but I was immediately drawn to him. I named him Duke and set out to find him a great home.

I quickly realized he already knew quite a bit: sit, down, stay, spin, high five, etc. Wow, someone had spent some time with this dog and boy is he smart! I have always dreamed of having an agility dog, so I decided to sign up for obedience class at an agility training center close by.We learned how to capture and shape behavior using clicker training. Quickly Duke figured out the game of “click and treat” and we accomplished most of the objectives of the class.

By the end of our second class our basic obedience skills were honed with better focus and connection. The last night of that class we actually got to take our dogs on the agility dog walk. The first time Duke and I were both hesitant….Oh My we are actually doing this! After a couple times carefully walking across the dog walk, Duke got his confidence and was sprinting over it! I was out of shape and could barely breathe running to the other end to meet him. This was my Ah-Ha moment, a life changer for both of us. I decided then and there to officially adopt Duke as my own and vowed to get in better physical shape to keep up with this smart little dog with the big heart.

Duke is now able to do all the agility obstacles with confidence and I have greatly improved my physical stamina. We have become a TEAM of a little shelter mutt, just hours from the end, now trained as an agility dog, and an out of shape grandmother, loving a physical sport for the first time in my life! Two weeks ago we competed in our first agility trial!

I am having the time of my life!

Debbie Barnes
Lee's Summit, MO
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