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It's funny how one dog can change your whole life.

I remember when I got my first dog, It was during second grade summer. I've wanted a dog since I was like 4 or 5 years old. I asked my parents constantly. One day, I remember clearly, they took me to a pet store. I know everyone says adopt from a shelter, but I thought about dogs in pet shops. I wanted to give a dog a better chance at life. There were many breeds. Miniature Pinchers, Pomeranians, then I saw him. He was a gorgeous Chow Chow about 5 months old. He was laying alone in the corner and I wanted him, I needed him. We brought him home and he instantly became my best friend. My parents don't get alone well and they have fights regularly. He was the only one there for me and I loved him to so much. I named him Chewy. He was the only one I could vent to. He was the only thing I had being a 3rd grader. I remember, everyday after school, he would sit on my lap while I did my homework. Today, he is 6 years old and happy. He is still my best friend and nothing will ever change that. I love him from head to tail and I hope he'll still be with me for a long time. I'm only 13 years old. He changed my life because I've been CRAZY about animals ever since. My dream is to become a veterinarian. I will NEVER change that dream. He is the best dog in the world and no other dog can replace him. Wait, what? No no no. I can't even call him just a dog. He's my best friend.. He's.. Family.

Ericka
SF, CA

I almost didn't get her but the would-be adopters didn't like her long tail

I found Carly on Petfinder. Her page said URGENT next to her name and also said:

"Carly is a 2-3 year old buff female cocker spaniel with a tail. She urgently needs a new home the sooner the better. Her former family is giving her up and if we do not find her a home soon is sending her to the shelter. We thought we found a home but the family didn't like her coloring or long tail."

How could you not like a dog with a tail?? She's a Cocker Spaniel but they are born with tails and hers was long and flowing. I drove 6 hours to get her and 6 hours back with a very stinky dog. She had an ear infection and eye infection and as soon as that cleared up she was fine. In the beginning it was tough because she was a submissive wetter, but she soon became more confident and stopped doing that when she met new people. Her whole body would just light up when someone came her way and that beautiful tail would begin to wag. If she was off leash you couldn't hold her back from going over to say hello to the closest person. I doted on her because she was such a jewel. When she got Cushings disease her beautiful hair got dry and didn't grow back after grooming. Once on medication it came back in dark patches, but it soon evened out. I had hoped she would live to 15, but she only made it to 12 1/2 years, 10 of them with me. I just lost her yesterday and the pain is too great now but writing about her helps. She was so beautiful. Some people think the rescued dogs are the lucky ones, but it was me that was lucky. I have 2 other rescue dogs but their temperaments are not like hers. I love them anyway, but Carly was special, very special. She was full of love for everyone she met.

Anonymous
Chesapeake, VA

Our wonderful Rabbi Ginsburg

Rabbi Ginsburg was 10 when we got him. 3 yrs. later, on the kitchen table, he started to wobble & was dazed. Recovered but we took him to the Vet who said he had a tumor and advised euthanasia.

A friend advised us to go to her Vet. We did: and from the DIGITAL x-rays, sonogram, blood tests, he had a distended kidney with renal insufficiency. Also, IBS. So, for 8 months, he got antibiotics & every 10 days subQ fluids till 11/2011.

I saw how our Lord works in just these few details: If I had not seen what happened on the kitchen table that day, and our friend's advice to go to her Vet and from their expertise, he lived.

The day after he died [1/17/2012] I emailed our Vet:

Just trying to gather my thoughts, it's so hard:

I wanted to spare you from coming out here. He was NOT in any pain.

Eventually, he didn't want to eat/drink and just lay in the bed I set up for him in the kitchen. He was warm & comfortable. I bought chucks for him and changed them.

Don't believe in coincidences. Prayed for a miracle but eventually realized his death was eminent and that he would soon be w/Jesus. We just wanted him home with us.

Whoever gets up 1st, goes in the kitchen to check on him. We prayed he would NOT die alone. I got up at 7:20 am. He was stretched out and his breathing was shallow. I knew it was time. I talked to him and petted him and knew he heard and felt me. He stretched some more, had a few spasmodic movements and it was over. Our precious Rabbi didn't want to die alone and waited for us to be there when he went to "home". Imagine if I had been 10 minutes later.

Ellen
Sequim, WA

A birthday cat

I first met Weegee on my birthday. I wandered into a pet store to visit with the cats housed there by a local shelter. There were probably about 15 cages, most with kittens romping about. There were several other visitors there as well, teasing the kittens with their fingers and cooing over their fluffy cuteness. As I stood their, cooing in turn, I noticed one cage being ignored - an adult cat. The cage was way up in the corner of the stack, near the ceiling. But I could see a pair of green eyes glowing in its shadow. The cage was so high up, I had to use a stepladder to fully see inside. Immediately I knew I had met my new best friend.

I jumped down from the stepladder and spoke with a shelter representative. She opened the cage for me and allowed me to interact with the cat. I put my hand inside, and she instantly grabbed it with both of her paws. She was so obviously excited to be interacting with me. She rolled around on the cage floor, batted at my fingers, and rubbed her chin on my knuckles. That was it. I called my roommate and told her that I needed this cat.

Cut to a few hours later, and my roommate and I are taking a cab home, adoption papers in hand. I'd decided on the name "Weegee" after one of my favorite photographers in college.

The next day, Weegee came home with me. The road was bumpy for a while. Weegee suffered from a lot of anxiety. She also developed a bladder disease. But I knew that I'd found this cat for a reason. She needed me, and I needed her. 6 years later, I still look at those glowing green eyes with the deepest of love.

Sarah Levine
Brooklyn, NY

Honkey Tonks

My shift was almost over at the gas station when one of our regulars, a homeless man, brought a kitten in. The man had found her in the dumpster, next to her dead littermates. She was small enough to fit in a single hand. I wasn’t much of a pet person, but I knew I might be her only chance, so I took her to the vet.

It turns out she was only three weeks old, and very underfed. She spent the first few days at the vet’s office. When she came home, she was terrified. I was still considering trying to give her away when she was healthier, but when I woke up on the second day, she rushed up to me and nestled against my neck, entirely trusting of me, and I knew she would never need to find another home again. I named her Tonks, after one of my favorite book characters.

Tonks is a year old now, and I have become that crazy cat lady who shows everyone pictures of her cat all day. We have formed an amazing bond that I never would have expected. Every morning she greets me with a thousand meows and cuddles with me like I’ve been gone for years. She’s incredibly energetic. If she’s not cuddling, she’s running laps around the house or hunting my feet. She licks them instead of biting them, because she is a perfectly weird, amazingly sweet cat, and I am so glad for the opportunity to have her in my life.

Anonymous
Tucson, AZ

My Little Helper!

Three years ago my mum and I entered our local Human Society just to 'look' at possible pets for us. We saw over 30 dogs that day and no one stole my heart quite like Jeremy (as he was named at the time). 3 month old Jeremy in his cage with his brother looking at me as if he knew something I didn't. While I was sitting with him in a room where I got to meet him for the first time he chose me, I didn't chose him.

I begged and pleaded my mother for him for hours while we where there. She finally agreed and we were told we could pick him up the next day. I was ecstatic! Now at that time I was having some bad family issues and suffering with depression and self-harm. Once we brought Charlie home (his name that was agreed upon after quite some debate) all those issues seemed to melt away for a while. Charlie was my shining light in the dark clouds that had surrounded me.

Now, two pet deaths (Hamster&13 year old cat),one move, two new schools, more family issues/depression/self-harm, and one new kitten later Charlie is still here for me and still my rock through everything and anything. I am beyond grateful that this amazing miracle choose me out of anybody to rescue. I still have a ways to go with some things but I know Charlie will be there for me every step of the way.

Maddison Smith
Toronto, ON, Canada

Stray to my Heart

Our little rescue came from the nearby animal shelter in St. Charles, MO. The story related to me about his discovery was that on a cold December afternoon, a couple of volunteers from the shelter happened to be outside on a cigarette break and heard the faintest meow coming from a nearby pile of pallets. Underneath, they soon discovered, a stray kitten freezing and shaking. They took him inside and after some food and water and TLC, he mended quickly and became ready for adoption. I was lucky enough to come in just hours after they had put him out on the floor in his cage. The first thing that attracted me to him was his adorable little black and white nose. He was a perfectly marked tuxedo cat right down to his white-gloved paws, white stocking feet and dapper white bib. It was love at first sight. I wasted no time in signing the adoption papers and taking my kitty boy home. It wasn't until I actually arrived at home that I found an additional bonus, this amazing cat came complete with two hearts! One on the inside along with a perfectly formed little black fur heart on top of his chest--centered right above his beating one. He hadn't been named yet, but we knew the name would have to reflect his unique birthmark. The name Ticker fit the bill. Ticky boy, Tick Tack patty whack and a variety of other pet names followed. Ticker is a smarty; he fetches and returns his favorite twinkle ball, he shakes his paw for treats and also loves scaling any tall vertical object, including the refrigerator, ladders, armoires and cabinet tops. But the best thing of all is that he gives double doses of love to us...and why not, after all he has twice as many hearts!

Cindy Moore
St. Charles, MO

Buster returns to his old neighborhood

Buster lived across the street for nine years before his humans moved to a new house about two miles away. We continued to maintain friendships with the family. One day about one and a half years after their move, Buster showed up at his old house! He had to cross three major roadways to get here. His humans were contacted and they came to collect Buster, but three days later he was back. He was returned once again to his new house but just one day later he was back at our house! He was determined to live back in his old neighborhood so we told our friends, rather than continue to put him at risk, we would take care of him. That was five years ago and Buster has become totally comfortable in his new home and going from a completely outdoor cat to a nearly completely indoor cat. His previous humans are able to visit him whenever they want. We are so grateful he made the trips and decided to come live with us!

Lisa Jelks
Gainesville, FL

My Big White Dog

Back in 2004 shortly after I was got stationed at Fort Stewart, Wolf came into my life. I had seen him running around and one day my neighbor came over and told me a dog jumped into the bed of his truck. To this day I don't know how he managed to jump up there considering when I came out to see he didn't have enough energy to stand to drink water. We had a water bowl next to him, and laying on his side he drank like that. I have always loved huskies how they look and their temperament. So when I saw him, this all white husky with blue eyes and black around his eyes, I fell in love. I took him to the groomers and she got rid of the flees and the gorging ticks that he had all over the place. Then I took him to the vet, found out he had heart worm really bad. So I spent over 1000 to get him healthy. He wouldn't eat dry dog food so had to feed him ground beef and rice and slowly start mixing it with dry till he would eat the dry food alone. But he got healthy and went from about 60 lbs to 80 lbs. He has been with me ever since for the exception of two deployments and 3 years in Germany during which he lived with my parents up in WI. Everyone who has ever met him unless they are terrified of dogs fell in love with him even people who aren't dog people. He was very playful and very, very, very talkative and somewhat comical. He died back in Nov. And I still get choked up when I think about him. He was the best dog I have ever had and probably ever will.

Jared
Sumter, SC

My 2am Surprise

I was in my kitchen getting a late night drink when I heard meowing coming from outside. The whole neighborhood was quiet except for the meowing. I followed the sound across the street to my neighbor's truck. As soon as I stopped, this little black and white kitten came out from underneath the truck. I immediately picked her up and brought her back to my house. I knew I couldn't bring her inside because I assumed she had fleas. I wrapped her up in a small towel, put her on my chest and sat outside on my stoop till my parents woke up at 4:45am. She slept on my chest the entire time. My father got our cat carrier and we covered her in blankets for the night till we could call our vet.

I figured we would just bring her to the vet, they would take care of her and adopt her out to a loving family. Little did I know that my parents had already planned on keeping her, adding her to our family of 2 dogs, a cat and a bird. She had eye infections in both eyes and an upper respiratory infection. That's a lot for a 4 week old kitten to deal with. The vet told us that if I didn't find her when I did, she would have been dead before morning.

I have never seen a more loving cat in my life. She always has to be around me or one of my parents. If we leave her alone, she walks through the house meowing until she finds someone. Every time one of us leaves for vacation, she will mope around till we return. She loves chasing my older cat and also loves chasing my dog.

God broke the mold when he made our little girl Lucky! We couldn't picture our lives without her. Lucky definitely completes our family and her name suits her perfectly. She is now a healthy. happy, mischievous, extremely loving 3yr old!

Nicole
Staten Island, NY
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