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Duke the sweet Chug!

This is Duke my Chihuahua/Pug mix that we got in April of 2013. My boyfriend and I were looking for a dog to add to our family. We found him on Craigslist and drove an hour to go meet him.The story on him was that the family couldn't keep him so they had to get rid of him. He was about 12 pounds(10 pounds underweight for what he should be),extremely skittish and shy. We could tell that he that he had been beaten. In the beginning he wanted nothing to do with us so we kept working with him. As the months went on he got more and more use to my family. Now my sweet boy is about 25 pounds and fits into the family perfectly! He love's smiling and wont leave my side! I didn't know I could love an animal as much as I love Duke. He's my angel.

Justice
Portland, OR

.Sweet Kiki

It's hard to believe Kiki has been gone for nearly ten years. She came to live with me in 1985 after her previous owners move and left her behind.

Our story started when I was simmering chicken wings to make broth. I heard the plaintive meow coming from my patio. She was sitting on the top ledge of my patio fence looking very thin. She so closely resembled a cat I had to re-home before moving from Michigan to California it make me wonder if she could possibly have been my sweet Buffy. This cat was nursing kittens; it was apparent she wasn't getting enough to eat. I let her in and fed her some of the chicken. A routine began. She would be waiting for me after work. I would feed her we had some snuggle time. At first she would sit at my feet until I invited her into my lap. She was a real snuggle kitty. After cuddle time she would ask to go out. One evening she brought her kittens for a visit, they spent the night, but went out the morning.

Not long after the kitten visit, she didn't ask to go out after cuddle time. My best guess was the previous owner moved, taking the kittens, leaving her behind. I had started calling her Mama Kitty. I didn't want to name as she was not mine to keep. But in the end we were meant to be together. I quickly found that she was pregnant, and was able to find homes for a couple of the kittens. Not knowing about rescue organizations at the time, I took the kittens to the animal shelter. The shelter put me in touch with an organization that would cover most of the spaying cost. I had her spayed.

Over the years Mama Kitty became Kiki. She was pretty much blind the last few years of her life; but got around pretty well. We had nearly 19 wonderful years together. She was the best cat. Though she has been gone nearly 10 years I still miss my sweet Kiki.

Debra Bensema
Sacramento, CA

The Little Kitten That Could

When Abbie was 6 months old, she started misbehaving. The vet diagnosed her with depression and told me she needed more company, so I decided to buy her her very own kitten. I started trawling adoption sites looking for a little sister.

As soon as I saw Grace's little brown face and big green eyes, I knew I'd found her.

Grace had been born on a farm. At 7 weeks of age, she and her sister had run into a field attached to the barn and scared the horse, causing the horse to trample them. The sister was killed instantly. Grace was found with internal injuries, bleeding, broken, and was handed over to the rescue for her life saving surgery.

I met her at 10 weeks, 1.2 kilos, missing most of her fur, stitches everywhere. Despite this, she walked straight up to me and plopped herself in my lap. She had chosen her human.

That night, tragedy struck. I had barely brought her home when Abbie lashed out and slashed Grace in the eye. I rushed her to the emergency vet, only to find that her eyelid was torn. Her eyesight was not damaged. However, she had an infection in her stitches that would have killed her within the week if it had not been found. And just when I thought it was over, the vet discovered one more thing.

Grace had a heart murmur.

Grace would not live past 3 years of age.

I took her home, determined to give her the life of a princess. Weeks of medication turned into months of soothing her nightmares and holding her through her panic attacks. Then came her yearly checkup.

Her eyesight had been saved. The infection was gone. And best of all: the heart murmur had healed itself. Grace would live a long, full life.

Grace is now 4 years old and sleeps with me under the doona every night. She is my Angel. And Abbie? She cries when she is separated from Grace. When Grace has a bad dream, Abbie is there. They're best friends.

Sarah
Sydney, Australia

Petey

I was not looking for another cat. As a full-timer shelter volunteer and foster mom, I had a full house with four cats of my own and any given number of fosters. I was simply cleaning out cages at the shelter, when I reached in to remove bedding from what I thought was an empty cage, and found this mess of a cat hiding underneath.

There wasn't a card on his cage so I took a closer look. Bent leg. Hunched back. Two different colored eyes - one of them runny. He scrambled back under his blankets and I went back to cleaning, but I couldn't stop thinking about him.

A week later, we named him Petey and moved him to adoptions. I watched as adopters said "What if his leg needs surgery?" or "What's up with that hunch?" So, I took him home to foster.

It took only one day for him to adjust. He spent the first day in my lap, snoring like a pig. He made friends with my zoo and quickly destroyed any feather toy in his proximity. He learned to climb into my arms and sit like a bird on my shoulder.

Petey turned each of his negatives into a positive. He discovered how to open a door with his crooked paw and jump over the dog with his signature hunchback-hop. He even learned to give a high five for treats.

He had a potential adopter, but when they backed out, I was secretly glad. He now lives a wonderful, spoiled life in my home where he is loved for being odd.

I wasn't looking for another cat, but that's okay. I got a stone cold weirdo, a half rabbit, half parrot, 100% purrfect pet.

My Petey - the one and only.

Lindsay Layendecker
Jacksonville, FL

My Protector

On May 15, 2003, I had a stroke at the age of 32. Although my speech was impaired and I lost the use of my right arm for a while, overall I felt lucky to be alive. One afternoon while I was home recuperating, my husband called me out to the porch. A little orange and white tabby stray in the neighborhood had made his way to our porch. My husband wanted to feed him, I told him he could be we already had a cat and a couple of dogs, we did not need anymore. As I sat on the porch, the kitten jumped on my lap, made his way to my chest and curled up and went to sleep. Needless to say, we had a new fur baby. We named him Milo.

Since that day, Milo has been my protector. Every time I do a breathing treatment for my asthma, he is right there on my lap until I am done. If I am sick, he comes and lays on my hip while I rest. When I had back surgery in 2007 and 2009, Milo was always right there patting my leg and licking my hand or face. Milo is 11 years old now and just as sweet and loving as the day I met him.

I don't know what I did to deserve such a sweet, loving friend but I am thankful that little stray visited our porch that summer day.

Barbara Vaughn
Granite City, IL

Little Lost Trucker Cat

The day I got my tubby cat Juliet O'Harra aka Jules, I got a call from my father in law wanting to know if I wanted another kitten. Of course, I said yes even though my husband was shaking his head. I asked about it and my father in law, who's a truck driver, said that he made a stop and when he opened his trailer there was a kitten in the truck that wasn't moving but was panting. It was 105 degrees in his truck and she had to have been locked in for over an hour. He put her in a box in the cab with the air and when his load was done he drove straight back to the depot. When we got to the depot there was a tiny 3 or 4 month old kitten sleeping on the dispatchers cool desktop. When I spoke, she jumped up and came right to me trying to climb me. When I confirmed she was a she, I immediately named her Jules. I already had a solid black male named Burton Guster aka Gus.

We took her home where we noticed she had copper eyes. They were almost creepy. At first she just sat and stared. My first two cats, who had been together 4 years already, we're not pleased with my decision. They never hurt her or attacked her. They were just stand offish and would hiss at this tiny kitten. When we got her spayed she chewed the incision open on night and I got up to check her and you could see her insides. The vet had to redo surgery which took an extra two weeks recovery. We noticed she started to get really fat during her recovery because all she did was sleep.

Now, she's almost 2, has green eyes, and stays as close to me as possible. She even drags her big butt into my lap every time I go to the restroom for snuggles.

Stacie
Lakeland, FL

The Cat Who Rescued Me

I had just gone through a very traumatic break-up and was sitting alone in a parking lot after collecting some of my possessions from my ex's apartment. Feeling distraught and alone, I sat on the curb crying for a few minutes before I suddenly heard a tiny "Mumumu..." noise from a few feet away. I lifted my head and opened my eyes as a very tiny kitten stumbled up to me.

"Are you alone, too?" I asked.

"Mumumu...mu...," squeaked the tiny kitten, curiously wandering closer.

For a few minutes, my troubles seemed to melt away as I gently picked her up and she licked the tears off my face. I knocked on a few neighbor's doors to make sure that she didn't belong to anyone but no one seemed to know where she had come from. There was a similarly marked feral cat who I saw a little further away - she wouldn't let me near her.

After some more searching, I found two other kittens. I took them to a natural pet store for food while I pondered what to do next. A lady in the store shopping took one immediately - the other was adopted two hours later by an employee. (The mother I was able to get spayed via a local organization who provides vet services to feral cats.)

I spent the rest of the next two days driving her around to the vet to get her shots and flea treatment and also to make sure she was okay to be away from her mom. She was about three months old - almost exactly how long I had been depressed. Suddenly nothing else seemed more important to me than taking care of my new friend.

I named her "Murasaki",Japanese for "Lavender", and the name of a favorite author. To this day she still says "Mumumu" instead of "meow", hence her nickname "Mu".

Almost three years later, Mu still climbs in to my lap to cuddle any time I seem distraught. It's no stretch to say we are both thankful for saving each other's lives that day.

Jessica
Gainesville, FL

Olivia Jane

I had agreed to "foster" Olivia after she was dropped off at the vet clinic I worked at, since it was on a Saturday, and the clinic would be closed for the weekend. I was warned about becoming a "foster failure" by my coworkers, but felt pretty confident I wouldn't get attached since I already had 3 male cats at home. I always made a strong case that 3 cats was my personal limit

Olivia was pretty underweight, weighing a little under a pound. What we thought were puncture wounds ended up being bot fly larvae, or cutebra. Once we got her cleaned up she still was looking a little rough, but still had the fighting spirit.

After a few weeks of foster care Olivia was healthy enough to go on a trial new home. I realized I had gotten way more attached to Olivia than I thought, and made a deal with my boss that if her forever home did not work out then I would be next in line to adopt her. Fortunately for me, after a few hours her new home determined that their resident cat was not going to appreciate a new baby sister.

Though the last 3 years have had some challenges, as in I had no idea how much more mischievous females were than males, I have never regretted my decision to allow Olivia to make me a "foster failure". She definitely rules the house, and I guess it doesn't help that her nickname is "Princess"

Allison
Omaha, NE

Officer Friendly Retires...

About four years ago, this cat appeared in our neighborhood. Nobody knew where he came from, but he was very sweet and affectionate to everyone he met. Because of his habit of strolling about the neighborhood as if he were on the beat, I named him "Officer Friendly."

The whole neighborhood sort of adopted him. We pitched in and got him neutered (along with a lady cat that had started following him around). People would pet him when he showed up, leave food out for him, take him to the vet regularly, and let him sleep in their basements on cold nights. When winter came, my girlfriend Teresa and I worried that he might not make it through the season, so we tried to adopt him and his girlfriend, who we named "Alice Cooper". Alice took to indoor living readily enough, but Officer Friendly was not happy and showed it by urinating on whatever was closest until we let him go roaming again.

Unfortunately, not everyone was so fond of Friendly. One resident scooped him up one day and secretly dropped him at Animal Resources. Nobody knew this at the time, and for a week people went around the neighborhood calling his name -- until Animal Resources came to my door asking if I had lost a cat. I was puzzled until I remembered that Teresa had gotten Friendly micro-chipped and put my name on it. Animal Resources had scanned Friendly several times but missed the chip. He was actually on the euthanizing table when somebody gave him one last scan and found it.

After bailing Friendly out, I took him home and kept him inside, fearing that his one enemy in the neighborhood would try again. And this time he seems to have settled comfortably into indoor living. I like to think he knows just how close he came to leaving this world for good and now sees the upside of having a permanent home. In any case Officer Friendly now lives with me, Teresa, Alice Cooper, and our other cat Harvey Milk -- enjoying his graceful retirement.

Patrick Jones
Dayton, OH

One of 12 feral cats

My wife and I take care of a colony of feral cats. We have had them spay/neutered and shots through a feral cat group. When we feed them every day we call them by name, they come winter and summer. We give them dry food and a can of wet food in the morning plus water. We have houses made by the group with straw in them to keep them warm in the winter. One of the ferals, a grey was always particularly friendly, her and her twin sister followed us and waited for us to pet them. We finally decided to take one home and Graycee was the one. She is a loving and lovable cat and our older gray cat puts up with her. Her sister misses her but still hangs with the rest of the family and enjoys the feeding and petting. Everyone comments on the flat ear and we explain that all the cats have this because this is how you can tell they have been "fixed' We wish we could take them all in but we are doing the best we can for them and they are prospering.

william j morgan
shortsville, NY
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