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My Protector, I Protect Her.

Two years ago, I was awakened at 2 am by two drunk men pounding on my front door and yelling. I came down the stairs and heard the door open and someone come in. I was on the phone with 911 and screamed for them to get out. The police trespassed them. After that, whenever I heard a noise outside, I panicked. Friends told me to get a gun (I'm a klutz, and also antigun). I began to think about getting a dog for protection.

I went to see a dog I found on line at a rescue an hour away. That dog wasn't a good fit for me, but a sweet Beagle mix caught my eye. So did the "housebroken" on her info card. We went outside, she immediately ran to pee, then came running right up to me. I sat on a bench, she sat next to me. This. . . was my dog. The day I adopted her, the rescue told me she had a funny leg, probably from birth. Her right hindquarter was smaller than the rest and she didn't always use it. It didn't seem to bother her.

At our initial vet visit we discovered the break. It was at least 3 months old and the broken end had begun to heal to the middle of the shaft. She had her first surgery in April, they had to rebreak the bone and pin it. It didn't go well. Then we did a bone graft in May. In July, she began to limp again and the X-ray revealed a new break. All this time Maude continued to walk and play as if her leg were fine.

The specialty vet revealed what I had feared, there was no bone left to repair. It was like powder. We underwent amputation in July. Fortunately,I had a village of people to help me care for her. She healed quickly and continues to run, jump, and play like any other dog. Maude is more of an alarm than a vicious watchdog, but I'll take that.

She is always by my side.

Christine
Orlando, FL

Flash

Flash entered our lives in the summer of 2009. My husband and I were out of town when we received an early morning text photo from our daughter. It was a picture of this little kitten. Since we already had three rescue cats at home, I pretty well knew what was coming next! I called her and she explained that as she was driving to the store the night before, this small kitten ran across the street in front of her. When she came out of the store, he had crossed back over the street and was sitting by her car. She wondered if he was hungry and offered him the only food she had--a couple of french fries. He bit her fingers as he was gulping them down. Afraid to leave him because he seemed to have no human family or fear of the street or traffic, she brought him home. The next morning, she took him to our vet and thankfully for him (and us) he got a clean bill of health. This little boy was so sweet and loving and full of personality that he quickly won his way into our hearts. He loves to play, is interested in everything, and is always willing to lend a helping "paw" to whatever task is at hand. And because he was weaned too early as a kitten, he is a sometimes "shirt sucker"--he'll snuggle up close to your neck, knead a little, and then begin to suck on your shirt collar. Our other cats eventually took to him, although the two senior cats who were 12 and 10 at the time were hesitant at first with all that kitten energy but the 5 year old loved having a brother to romp around and play with. Flash, with his little quirks and playful ways, has brought a lot of joy into our lives. We're lucky he found us that summer day!!

Nancy Mullins
Ludlow, KY

Facebook and Fate

In June 2012, I saw a picture of a tiny black and white kitten on Facebook, posted by a hometown friend. Something about the picture of the green-eyed tuxedo kitten with the unusual face markings really tugged at my heart.

My friend updated her post, saying that after her family attended church service in town, they found the same kitten from their house out in the church parking lot! Somehow, the kitty had climbed up underneath their car, riding 15 miles down the interstate into town! They took the kitten back home. Later that same night, she attended a community event in town. She overheard some children talking about a cute black and white kitten out in the parking lot--sure enough, the little kitty had mischievously hitched another ride into town! After the event, when she couldn't find the kitten, she assumed someone must've taken him home.

Sure enough, someone had. My sister, who also lives in my hometown, called me and told me about a darling black and white girl kitten she found in the parking lot and took home, thinking I might like a new kitten after the loss of my 18 year old cat earlier that year. I told her about seeing the kitten on Facebook, and knew then that it was meant to be.

The next day, I drove to meet my sister and get the kitten, who I named Pixie. She needed much medical attention: her tail was broken (most likely from the car ride) and she had fleas, ringworm and ear mites. After many trips to the veterinarian, Pixie ultimately did lose half of her tail, but it healed completely. She has grown into a beautiful, healthy, energetic and affectionate companion. I truly believe Pixie was determined to get to me all along. Fate!

Sara
St. Louis, MO

Hi My name is Rudi

7 years ago somebody dumped me ! I do not remember what they looked like and I do not really care! All I remember is I was lonely and scared.Here I was all alone, no food no comfy place to sleep, but I was a tough little dog with a great heart and a huge desire to survive. it was a country side, farms and family houses .I found shelter to sleep and get out of the bad weather, but really I wanted a to find the right place to make my new home and find my forever family,to tell the truth I was lucky there were many houses with nice people that were calling me to come and live with them and they were calling me with different names ,like little Dickens or Sir George ! After several days I was getting hungry and lonely and I really missed a couch to sleep on, so I had to make a decision and it really was not so hard, all along my eyes were on that one family ,the one that already had 3 adopted dogs and the most comfortable couch you can imagine!! I barked at their door , it was opened , I walked in, jumped on that couch, fall asleep and been sleeping there now for 7 years!!

P.S: You all now we dogs are opportunists! I do visit all those neighbors every day, they still call me little Dickens and Sir George and they give me treats but I love my family the one I chose and they love me!!

Sabine Campeau
L'orignal, ON, Canada

"Great! ....I already did!"

For years, my fiancé and I had been dog-less due to grad school, small apartments, and busy schedules. Six months after graduation, Kevin and I agreed we’d finally adopt in the spring when I’d be on the home stretch of my first year of teaching.

Naturally, I saw Ray’s picture in early November...best laid plans right? He just had an unforgettable glimmer in his eye. Curious, I emailed the shelter, and they connected me to his foster mom.

“We call him Raptor because his front toe is broken and his nail sticks up, but he’s a big baby!” Kev and I applied to adopt him the same day, sight unseen.

The approval call came three days later. Due to a new Massachusetts law, however, if we wanted to pick him up that weekend, he’d have to leave for a 48-hour quarantine the next morning. Kev came home about 20 minutes after I got the call.

“Hey, we were approved to adopt Raptor, what do you think?” I asked.

“I think we should do it,” Kevin responded.

“Great! ...I already did!”

Three weeks later there was an engagement ring in the Christmas tree, so I guess this didn’t scare him too badly!

Bre
Arlington, MA

George the Caribbean Yard Dog

I am from NJ but have been living on a small Caribbean island called Nevis for 4 years. I volunteer at the perhaps the world's smallest no kill shelter called CARE Nevis. Before Thanksgiving 2014, my four dogs were barking up a storm inside the house. I looked at front to see a ghost skeleton of this little dog. You could practically see his organs, he was missing many patches of fur due to ringworm and was very anemic. After feeding him beef liver, sardines and rice in small portions 5 times a day, George has come to live and more than doubled his weight. We guessed he was about 4 months old but due to his anorexia, he was actually about a year old. Now he sleeps on a tempurpedic mattress at night and loves to swim. He will be coming home to continue living with us and his brothers in NJ this Spring.

Taylor Allen
Barnaby, Saint Kitts and Nevis

Pancake

This is a kitty I call "Pancake." One day, about a week after the neighbors downstairs were evicted, there was a knock at my door. I opened it to find the apartment manager, with a story and a question.

They had been in to clean the apartment 5 days before, (it was trashed) but this kitty had apparently been hidden, or had snuck in at that time through an open door. Either way, this little 6 month old kitten was without any food or litter box and had only toilet water for drinking in that 5 days. At which point when they went in to clean again, she ran out of hiding (tail POOFed up) and complained loudly.

She asked, Did we have any kitty food for her? Yes. Yes we did, and a spare litter pan as well. After spending another day down there alone while they attempted to contact the previous tenant (no luck) we took her up to our very full house, and from there set about finding her a home. We couldn't keep her, so I named her "pancake" in the hopes that if she had to go to a shelter, the name would help attract an adopter.

We found her a home with my roommates co-worker. He was recently home from Iraq and missing the kitty who passed away while he was gone. Turns out "Pancake" (now renamed "Zoey") was the spitting image of his "Angel."

She is a happy healthy kitty, who enjoys sleeping and riding around on her two German Shepard friends (servants?)

Anonymous
Ann Arbor, MI

Champ

On Thanksgiving 2014 I needed to run to the store to pick up a few things. For some reason I decided to go a completely different way down a back alley. From the distance I saw what looked like a tiny stuffed animal. As I got closer I realized it was actually a small kitten. She was face down and covered in ants and smelled of urine. I picked her up and was surprised to see she was alive. I took her home cleaned her and tried to make a comfortable bed for her in our bathroom as our two other cats were not happy about the new visitor. I rushed to the pet store to get a bottle, some formula and food for her. We thought she was a boy so my sister named her Champ. Not more than a hour or so after I got her home she began to have violent seizures. They continued throughout the night every few hours. I rushed her to the vet as soon as they opened the next day. The vet was very discouraging and said most likely we will need to put her to sleep as the seizures were not letting up. The vet let us know that Champ was actually a girl, but we decided to keep the name anyway. I continued with antibiotics and to all of our surprise the seizures slowly started to go away. When she was finally seizure free, I realized her pupils in her eyes didn't move. Sure enough the vet confirmed that she was blind from all the trauma. For the next couple weeks she continued to improve everyday and became the most playful active kitten I ever had. Amazingly her vision started to come back as well. Today she is a typical 4 month old kitten. She loves to play with strings, balls and our two other Cats. She is very good at playing fetch. She has brought so much love and joy to our lives and I'm so glad we had the opportunity to rescue her. She is truly a Champ!!

Jeanine Perez
Miami Beach, FL

Saving Each Other

In 2011, I was in a roll over car accident at freeway speed. I sustained a moderate Traumatic Brain Injury. A few months later, I was still in therapies to recover function. It was brutal; exhausting and frustrating. I was in pain, had frequent migraines, and was always tired. Life seemed hopeless. At one point, I seriously considered suicide.

During this time, I went to the Humane Society with a friend who wanted to adopt a kitten. When we went into the kitten enclosure, this adorable white kitten with tan ears meowed from a cat tree. I started to pet her and ended up with her in my arms. When I put her down to visit other kittens, she meowed demandingly. She also hissed at the black kitten I started to play with.

Somehow, I ended up bring home the white kitten, who I named Brigid. She was a blessing. Brigid learned when I was having a migraine and cuddled next to me. Her love and affection brought so much comfort to me during a difficult time. Watching her kittenish exploration and games brought happiness and reduces stress. She quickly made friends with my ferrets and often could be found in their cage, sleeping in the hammocks with them. She gifted me with a sense of hope.

Today, Brigid still wakes me from nightmares and purrs me back to sleep. She also offers comfort during migraines. We love each other. We truly saved each other.

Lydia
Walla Walla, WA

We were led to Simba for a reason...

Our cat Spike of 16 years passed; we wanted company for our cat Nikko because we felt he was lonely since Spike was no longer here. We responded to a newspaper ad and no idea we were purchasing a kitten from a kitty mill. Once we saw his cute little face we were in love. We were so excited to have a kitten in the house; Simba was easing the pain of our loss and quickly becoming a part of our family. When Simba was 3 months we noticed he was having seizures. We didn't know that's what they were at the time; we just knew something wasn't right. We quickly got to the vet and so our journey began. After countless visits to the "neuro" vet an hour from our home, lots of blood work, MRI, spinal tap and thousands of dollars later our little Simba was diagnosed with FIP (Feline Infectious Peritonitis). Simba was having anywhere between 4-7 seizures a week. It was heart-breaking. Most cats with FIP don't live past six months. We immediately followed the vets orders and Simba was put on steroids and phenobarbital. The thought of losing him was devastating to me and my husband. The seizures would sometimes last as long as an hour and a half. Slowly but surely the seizures started to diminish. Our dream was coming true. Our little Simba was responding to the medication. It was our vets hope that as time passed and he got older that the FIP would go dormant and Simba's seizures would start to diminish. Today, I'm happy to say Simba can go from 4-6 weeks seizure free. And did I mention he's now 6 years old? He has beaten the odds. I like to think we LOVED it out of him.

We learned a big lesson through all of this. The most important one being that it was our responsibility to do the right thing. "Putting him down" was not and never was an option for us. He is worth every penny. The love he gives us in return is priceless.

Anonymous
White Marsh, MD
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