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Rosco Unchained

I first saw him chained to a tree two houses down. Alone day after day, he watched me work in my garden. From that tree that held him prisoner with a three foot length of chain he sat in silence, waiting on someone to show him kindness. He had no water bowl, no shelter other than the small tree. He was doomed as a bait dog.

On a particularly hot summer day, I walked across the two yards that separated us, the people who chained him were out there and I saw them as they taunted him with the water hose, he actually tried to hold his face up to catch a bit of water. I offered them money for the dog, they declined, they told me he "had to be chained" because he always ran away. Each day, I took him water and food, and asked to buy him. Despite Animal Control getting involved, they knew how to avoid getting caught. Animal Control told me to stop feeding him or I would not have a case against them. But I knew somehow a miracle would happen and it did.

On that weekend, when a thunderstorm raged and broke that little tree, he escaped, duct tape on his mouth, his neck raw and bleeding. .I found him sitting inside our garage, silent and pleading for help with his beautiful eyes. We named him Rosco and he became my dog from then on. They reluctantly gave him up, after police intervened. Maybe they saw how determined we both were. His will to survive led him to a safe house.

He has been the sweetest most gentle dog I have ever had. We moved away soon after. He still has nightmares at times, shakes violently as his legs run in place. He wakes up to me petting him and stops running. Wherever I go, he is beside me. He will never ever be chained again, and the water bowl is always full. He knows he will never have to run away again.

Rebeka M
Plant City, FL

The Story of Ali

It was last September, and one afternoon I was out in my front yard when I noticed the family across the street chasing this sweet pup off their property, after she was chased into the road and almost hit by another car she ran to me and immediately I burst into tears. I had never seen a dog in such a condition. Covered in mange, skin and bones, her face was bleeding and it was certain she had just been dumped. Her previous family had neglected her and then eventually left her for dead. She even had an indent in her neck where her collar had been. I can't even imagine the life she had lived before that day. She spent the night with us, and has never left since. After lots of time and major TLC Ali got better. She is a huge part of our family and we are so happy she found us, I think she is probably happy she found us too. She is so full of life, and has a personality that will make you laugh non stop, a great dog all around and I will never understand how she was once treated so poorly. However, one families loss, is our gain. I am amazed everyday to see her and think about that day I first saw her. The vet told us because her condition was so extreme she would more than likely never fully recover her coat, but she beat those odds too.

Deanna Souza
Mariposa, CA

Sir Lancelot the Brave

I volunteered for an animal resource team where cats and dogs up for adoption are brought to the local Petsmart every Saturday in hopes of finding new homes. I was the resident "cat whisperer" that helped to socialize the more skittish and frightened cats and "advertise" them to potential pet parents.

One of the foster parents brought in Lancelot, a brown tabby male who was just maybe 5-6 months old at the time. The cat would just curl up in the back of the crate and shy away from reaching hands. However, I noticed that rather than hissing/growling or making any other relatively aggressive motions, he would just let people pet him (though would be shaking). I grew quite interested in him and worked with him every Saturday until he grew comfortable enough to roll onto his back for me and purr. However, he still remained cautious regarding anyone else. The foster mom saw him with me and said that he is "your cat." And so, I decided that I wanted to give this guy his forever home.

Where I lived at the time, I was unable to bring a cat home as my parents had 6 as it was. I wanted to adopt Lancelot to the point that I would move to another state if I had to (with other family) in order to be able to take him home. Fortunately, family friends who lived nearby said I could keep Lancelot with them and move in if I wanted.

He stayed with our family friends for several months and they took good care of him while I supplied the food, litter and visited often. Since then, Lancelot and I have moved in with family in Utah and he has mostly acclimated, though the cat upstairs doesn't particularly want to share the house. The once shy and skittish cat has become a very loving, playful and often mischievous fur-son.

West Jordan, UT

Born in a Woodpile With A Possum

When we married my husband James and I each had a cat. The cats grudgingly tolerated each other but we loved both dearly.

We were living in an apartment next door to an old house with a big yard. Once summer James noticed some cats and kittens there and was particularly taken with two, a tiny tuxedo and a fluffy white one. He learned from the lady next door that they had been born in the woodpile in her yard alongside a possum that we had seen in the area. Possums and cats.

The city had recently told the lady she had to remove all the debris in her yard, especially the woodpile and the stray cats. She wanted to adopt the mother cat and could afford to take it and one kitten but not all three.

James got an idea that the two kittens could become trainee replacements for our aging cats and decided he would trap them. He put a can of tuna in a cat carrier and waited. When the kittens entered to eat BAM! He took them home.

I was elsewhere nursing a broken leg. He called me distraught "You have to come home! They won't come out from under the bed! They're out of control crazy!" When I got there they glared at me hissing with saucer eyes. I reached in and grabbed a spitting scratching kitten by the scruff of the neck. It went sort of limp as babies do when the mother animal carries them. I spoke softly and petted it. With time, they learned to accept us and the older cats accepted them too.

We named the tuxedo Oberon and the white cat Miranda. After eight years of diabetes treatment and six months with hyperthyroidism we lost Oberon at age 16 in 2010. I adored BoBo.

Beautiful Miranda just turned 20. Despite earmite treatments, baths, many veterinary trips, neuter and spay these feral kittens adapted to us and learned to trust and love us. I was grateful to have two loving friends and to save two cats that would have been euthanized.

Jan Mehn
Cicero, IL

Rescued Twice

My then 9 year old son and I were looking for his first puppy. I searched high and low for a small dog, when I ran across an adoption event. In a play area were approx. 8 puppies that were from the same mom but looked nothing alike. I picked up the white fuzz ball and instantly fell head over heels in love. I took pictures and sent to my son for approval. Stormy was now "rescued".

Skip ahead 8 years, and on New Years Day I woke to my furbaby not feeling well. As the day passed, he began to use his hind legs less and less. After 2 different vet visits, we found out he had ruptured a disc. We rushed him to an emergency surgeon that did immediate surgery. Although he eventually regained his tail wag, which made me laugh with happiness, he never regained use of his rear legs.

He is carried in and out, spoiled with tons of love and attention, and is one of the happiest dogs I know. I know some other people would not have spent the money or taken on the "job" of caring for him, some would have chosen to put him to sleep. But he has been my rock, my heart, my soul, kissed away tears and loved me at my lowest... all the while giving me a purpose every single day!

Stormy was "rescued" again! As was I!!

Bethany, OK

We Rescued Each Other

this is my special girl, prepre. she was adopted from a rescue group, and her background, as many rescues, was not pleasant. she was badly abused by her previous family (i do not think they deserve to be called family), to the point that her first days here were spent hiding from me, in fear of being harmed. she hid behind the furniture and i decided to let her be, to come round on her terms. she was scared, shy and very timid. eventually, she did venture forth and, two and a half years later, she now comes to me to be petted and to be picked up to sit in my lap. she has come a very long way and it is amazing when i look at her and think of the scarred, fearful, cowering girl she used to be. every so often she still crouches in fear, but no where near as much as when she first came to me. she is now a loving, sweet, trusting little one, who knows she is loved, safe, will always have a warm bed, plenty of food, water to quench her thirst and toys for her enjoyment. she brings a smile to my face each and every day and quite often, as many who adopt query, i wonder who rescued who

Patricia Ahrens Miller

My Name is Amberdeen

My name is Amberdeen. I made my way to Eagle Feather Trading Post looking for help. I was extremely weak, emaciated, hundreds of huge ticks were hanging off of my entire body. I had foxtails in my feet and in my eyes. In fact, my rescuers thought I might be blind in one eye because it was so infected. Over several days, many would-be rescuers tried to catch me. I wanted help, but I was too scared to accept them. I knew I was tired and hungry, but I didn't know that my life was waning fast. I was in really rough shape. Then one night, two angels saw me lying near the road and stopped. Something about their voices touched my heart. Instead of running away, I laid my head down and licked their outstretched hands. I was finally done running and accepted their much-needed help.

I spent my first safe night in a long, long time, cuddled into a big fluffy dog bed at one rescuer's house. Then the other angel came and picked me up the next morning to take me to the doggy hospital. The rescuer's loving family and a very compassionate, loving vet, started me on the long road to recovery. The ugly grey, flea- and tick-infested fur has been replaced with my normal beatiful red, sleek coat. My eye has recovered and you can't even see my ribs sticking out at all. My true personality and skills have also returned. I obey basic commands, can shake with either paw, and never bark or whine or scratch or dig. I love to go for walks on my leash and crate easily. I love people. My only fault is that I'm not too fond of other dogs. I need to be an only child right for now.

I need a forever home and promise to be a wonderful companion. Please adopt me.


Jonel Wagoner
Springville, CA

Michelle, the Guilt Trip Cat

When I was 11, a stray cat covered in blood appeared on my porch. Being a budding (albeit inexperienced) cat lady, I immediately picked her up and hide her in my room. When I started to clean the blood from her fur, I realized she had a huge wound on her leg; it looked like the skin had been grated off. I cleaned it as best I could and slathered the wound in Neosporin. Later that evening when my dad came to tuck me in, he noticed she was sleeping on my pillow - quite the shocker, apparently. I convinced him to let me take care of her until her leg healed. After that, I convinced him to let me keep her until we found a home. Then, I used my ultimate weapon - the daddy's girl guilt trip. I sweetly told my dad, whose name is Michael, that I had named her Michelle "because it's the girl version of Michael." 14 years later and Michelle is still my fluffy beloved companion. Now that she's older, she's slowed down some, but she remains the feisty spirit she had when she first showed up on my front porch.

Hannah Scandy
Tulsa, OK

Just can't say "No"!

Friends of ours put out a plea for help with a liter they'd found on their front porch. They were fearful for the safety of these kittens due to the nature of their dog, so they were looking for someone willing to take the babies and find them homes.

Having recently moved from a home that abutted a field with a rather large feral colony, we offered to help. Our thoughts were that we might be able to use our connections from the Feral Cat Coalition to connect with someone who would have a Momma willing to foster these little ones. Well, we found a foster Momma, but on the condition that WE take her! So, we wound up with 5 babies and a Momma along with the pets we already had (all rescues in some way or another) Momma had been abandoned and lactating with no liter in sight at a colony in a town not too far from us and it was obvious she was in pain, She took to those babies like, well, like they were her own! they hissed and spit and took about 5 seconds to settle in. For being such a young baby herself, Momma was awesome and did a great job raising and weaning them!

We managed to find homes for all but 2; Momma and Tuffy (the first one on the left in the photo of 4 of them), No one wanted a juvenile Catten with an unknown history and Tuffy wouldn't allow us to show her to anyone. Tuffy would leave track marks down our backs getting away from whomever wanted to see her: I guess she'd decided she was staying. 5 years later, Momma's favorite spot is on top of the recliner as we come in the front door, and Tuffy loves to cuddle on our laps, but she isn't a snuggler. Unfortunately I didn't snap a pic of Momma with the babies.

Cottage Grove, OR

Helen Keller-like dog makes progress, awaits home

By Phil McPeck

Onya, a healthy border collie mix, has a problem.

Some might find it in her former name: Keller. She was once named for her kinship with the late Helen Keller, who triumphed over being born deaf and blind to become a celebrated political activist, author and lecturer. Onya was born in February 2013, also deaf and blind.

Onya's problem, though, is more profound than a lack of hearing and sight. She is homeless.

She was rescued by a neighbor in Aurora, Colo., and on May 21 was brought to the nonprofit MaxFund Animal Adoption Center — A True No-Kill Shelter in Denver, founded in 1988 by Nanci Suro and husband Bill Suro, DVM.

Onya is in foster care with a MaxFund dog shelter staffer and is to receive some special training.

Veterinarians confirmed that Onya is for all intent and purposes deaf. Using a pen light shined into the pupil on her left side, veterinarians determined the eye has a retina and it is attached, but that whatever she can see is so poor that she is destined for pure blindness. Her right-side eye socket is empty.

Veterinarians explained that some dogs are genetically predisposed to blindness at birth, among them albinos and merles, which describes Onya.

Nonetheless, Onya is making "amazing" progress, said MaxFund staffer Donna Clancy said. In late June, she was referencing her surroundings by what was under her feet — patio or grass.

"She is still a puppy and wants to be a puppy. She wants to play. She very much uses her nose and very much uses her mouth," Clancy said.

She said Onya also responds to pressure when walking on a leash, tail wagging when she is confident or delighted.

MaxFund staff quickly saw in Onya an eagerness, desire and intelligence to thrive, the same as Helen Keller. But those thingsdon't make a forever home. In other words, Onya can master her physical issues, but can't solve her "problem" of being homeless. Can you?

Phil McPeck is chief of media relations for MaxFund, 1005 Galapago St., Denver, CO 80204; 303-595-4917.

Phil McPeck
Denver, CO
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