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Baileys as in 'Grappa' or 'Ouzo'

Since I was a little kid I wanted to have a dog. When I got older the timing never got right with me going to university and starting out on the job. Then I met my now wive and we discussed the issue back and forth, since we were living apart due to work and I travelled a lot for my job. But the topic came up again and again. Finally, in summer 2012, we were on our vacation dogsitting for my sister (which we still do every year). As the vacation drew to an end I was already heartbroken that we had to give the little Jack-Russel-Terror back as a we got a phonecall from friends of ours. They were on Grece at the time and found the sweetest little street puppy at a private shelter quite off the main tracks. The shelter would be closed for winter and the fate of the dogs was unknwon. So, finally, after six years of debating the pros and cons of shelter dogs, pure breds, puppies or adult dogs fate threw us a mixture of all and we took the plunge! Baileys, formerly known as Ouzo (she was from Greece after all but turned out to be female!) flew in all the way from Greece after getting her shots and certificates. 7 days after the initial call we were proud owners of a combination of many pure breeds we were not really prepared for but welcomed anyway. Since we were still on vacation we had no leash and no bed, but lots of love and food, which she junked down like she was starving for quite some time. So she learned to walk off-leash from the very begining... :-) It took quite a while for her to trust us, but patience and treats made us all one hell of a team! She is the star of every party and now proud owner of the major part of our bed (it never hurt her obedience...)! I would not trade her for anything!

Kathrin Kotte
Dresden, Germany

Found dying on the road

The week of Thanksgiving 2012, while driving to work, we spotted something in the road. As I passed, the something moved! It was small, light-colored; we turned around and braved the traffic on the busy road by stopping. The something was a kitten, a silver and grey kitten, but badly hurt. She had blood on her tail, part of it was missing, and wounds all over her head. We took her to our vet. They told us she would probably die from shock and blood loss. We said, go ahead and try to save her anyway. Many hours and hundreds of dollars later, the kitten emerged from the vet with no tail, a coffee stirrer stuck in her head to relieve fluid build-up, and very fragile. The vet said a possum had probably dropped her on the road and then a car ran over her. She still would probably die. We were determined to give her the best care. Two days later the kitten was eating out of a dish, using the litter box, and making lots of noises. We did not know what to do, but were advised by my goddaughter who loves cats. A week later, the kitten was alert and climbing everywhere, and she rode to Alabama for the holiday with us so we could look after her properly. She is fearless, but not quite right in her head. She seemed to see things we could not, and chase things that were not visible. Rather than put the kitten up for adoption, we gifted her to my goddaughter for her birthday shortly after Thanksgiving (with her mother’s full permission). The kitten was given the name LUNA, after the character in Harry Potter – because Luna the kitty sees Nargles, too.

Elaine Kimberley
Houston, TX

Bromley came today

I was finishing breakfast at a roadside restaurant not far from home this morning when I heard the mew of a little kitten. Kitten was looking for food. The shop owner shooed her out. I went outside to catch her. Kitten cried softly. I followed slowly behind her, also calling for her to come to me. At one point, she rolled around on the pavement, but scampered off before I could grab her. She trotted over to the hair styling school next door. Kitten was so hungry that she scarfed up stale, discarded popcorn off the pavement. One of the students offered to give her popcorn although I said popcorn was not good for kitties. Another asked if she were my kitty. I said that she would be as soon as I grabbed her. Finally, I got close enough to snag kitten. She struggled and squirmed, but never bit or scratched. I got her to my car, went by home for my cat carrier, and took her to my veterinarian for evaluation and treatment.

Five months old, five pounds, she tested free of feline leukemia and FIV. She was spayed, vaccinated, treated for intestinal worm, fleas, and ticks. I pick her up tomorrow when she will join my cat household.

I named her "Bromley" after a character in last year's movie "Pride" from Great Britain. Bromley and I have many years to look forward together.

Kenneth Andrews
Jackson, TN

The Littlest Ruler

June 6, I was working as a home health aide. I was fixing breakfast for my client, Cat Lady. It was warm, and her front door was open. Suddenly, a shrill, distressed squawk was heard. Thinking it was one of her current kittens, she called out, "What's wrong, baby?", and I went to investigate and scold whomever was being too rough. Across the floor came a tiny black kitten in a weak wobble, with another close behind. Spying a bowl, the first kitten lurched to it and climbed completely in, trying to wolf down kibble with baby teeth. She growled and started fighting the second kitten as he joined her.

Cat Lady's current kittens were not black. I picked up the first one, which was wet (it had rained the night before), and you could count every rib. I put her in Cat Lady's lap. Adding the second one, I got a can of wet food and said, "They must have just walked in." Right then, another kitten walked in the open front door. I went out to search and found a fourth in a scooped-out place underneath some old junk. All were too little to be gone from their mother. No neighbors close enough. They answered to kitty, did not fight being picked up, and associated bowls with food. Dumped. No doubt by someone who knew she was a Cat Lady.

That afternoon, American Pharoah won the Belmont, and next shift, I suggested naming one kitten Pharaoh (spelling it right). She said the runt, that first one in, was unnamed, but if I named a kitten, it was mine. So Pharaoh spent three weeks with her siblings in the kitten care unit, growing, gaining weight. Then she came home with me. The name fits. From the first, she was bold, fearless with my other cats, regal, self possessed. I look forward to sharing a lifetime with this one. Of course, her three littermates are fine at Cat Lady's. We were angry at the dumper, but these four at least were taken where someone knew they would be cared for.

Springfield, MO

The brotherhood of cats

Pepper and Tigger began their lives 16 years ago in my neighbor’s shed. As curious kittens Pepper and Tigger came visiting searching for more human attention on my porch. That winter I put an old dog bed and blankets on the sheltered lowest shelf of my potting bench and supplemented the neighbor’s feeding. A year into our acquaintance I discovered an injured Pepper curled in the far corner of the dog bed. His face, ears and eyes were swollen, cut and bloody from bird shot.

No one was home at the neighbors, so I rushed Pepper to my vet for emergency treatment. The prognosis--Pepper would survive with proper care, but lose his eye sight. I visited Pepper at the vet daily. As his health improved his blindness became more apparent. I sang and talked to him constantly. He purred at the sound of my voice and snuggled in my lap. The neighbor refused to help and moved away before Pepper came home from the vet.

Although physically healing Pepper was inconsolable. The darkness that surrounded him was a trap and he kept looking for an escape. Propelled by smell and sound Pepper discovered the open window looking over the porch. He knew his old world full of light and sight was just beyond the window screen. Unable to find a way through or around the screen and into the world of light, Pepper cried piteously.

Suddenly Tigger appeared on the porch side of the window (we had not realized the neighbor had abandoned Tigger also) answering Pepper with worried cries of his own. I opened the front door. From the moment Tigger entered the room Pepper was content. He never again looked for a way out of his dark box. Pepper and Tigger became contented house cats who loved laps and returned our affection one-hundred fold for many years.

Jackhorn, KY

Foxy: The cat who knew a good home when he saw one

Foxy was a little feral who came into our yard a little over a year ago, a skinny, flea-bitten baby, about 5 months old. He wouldn't let anyone come near him, but we fed him and set up places for him to sleep. Gradually, we were able to touch him, then put flea treatment on him, and eventually adopt him. He has settled in with our other two cats, and sleeps on our bed every night. He's always going to have a little wildness in him, but now, he loves to be brushed every day, and get his share of lap time. He chose his home wisely!

San Diego, CA

Rio the Siamese

From where I come, pets are an expensive commitment and not many are responsible towards them.Mistreated pets are a common sight but it's not very often that you find a pure bred at your door step. In June last year, we saw a malnourished siamese hiding in our lawn, upon coaxing he ran away. After a few more days of hide and seek I was able to win his trust a little bit just so that he come inside and eat. Out of a starved innocent face stared a pair of vivid blue listless eyes. Summers are very hot here and during the day temperature soars to 40 celsius. He finally started come around to the kitchen door for food but would bolt at the slightest of sounds which confirmed my suspicion that he was an indoor cat. He reminded me of Zoya my cat who had succumbed to cancer 5 years ago and I still grieved over her. I named him Rio and started to hang around with him just so I could win his trust. The vet said he was severely malnourished and had contracted a digestive infection which would take a long bout of medicines to cure. Hence began Rio's journey which has been heartbreaking and heart warming at the same time. Despite being only 9-10 months old he didnt know any kitty games, he was declawed and still is afraid of loud noises and voices. Today as I mark his first adopatversary, I thought to share his story as he has taught me an all new meaning of resilience and trust worthiness. He automatically knows if I am upset or down and would come and just sit with me and that alone alleviates my stress. If we could only do half of what these innocent beings do for us. Amen

Lahore, Pakistan

Litty Bitty Kitty

Litty Bitty Kitty

We adopted two female rescue cats from the local shelter, Gracie May ( torby) and Doobie Doo (tortoise shell). They settled in after two months. One day we saw them looking out the sun porch window with great interest. Out the kitchen window I saw a very skinny calico meowing like it was her last chance for survival. Turns out it was! I went out with food and she ran into the woods. I set the food down, sat down and called for the litty bitty kitty for twenty minutes. She slowly succumbed to hunger and crept over to me. She gingerly glided under my hand to get to the food. She gobbled quickly and disappeared again. She returned the next day for more after another twenty minutes of calling. When she crept under my hand I grabbed her and put her in a large dog kennel with litter box and blankets. After a week in the kennel eating and resting we took her to the vet for spay, shots etc. She was under three pounds, full of worms and recently pregnant. They said she couldn't have made it another 2-3 days on her own. Her left eye is permanently dilated from head trauma. She had punctures on her legs and elbows. We live a half mile from a county road, with lots of red tailed hawks and few neighbors. No one knew anything about our little foundling. We figure a hawk grabbed her and dropped her somewhere out in the woods causing the punctures and head trauma. We can only imagine what happened to our Litty before she found her way to our door. Lucky for her, lucky for us! It's now a year later and we and the three cats are living happily ever after.

Sharon Lamers
New London, WI

Percy, the kitten I saved who saved me

Last Christmas I was mourning the loss of not only my sweet dog that I had raised from the age of 4 weeks, but also one of my cats earlier in the year—both sudden and unexpected deaths. I had just moved into a new apartment, and being in the mountains, I was afraid that my other cat, who is indoor/outdoor, would get snatched by a predator. I asked my sister and brother-in-law to take her to live at their house, since they have a big, fenced back yard in a quiet neighborhood in my hometown. I was all alone with no pets for the first time in over six years, and feeling tremendous sadness. I went to my hometown for Christmas, a few hours’ drive from my place, and headed over to my sister’s house to see her and my calico. I turned onto the dirt road to their house, adjacent to a large empty field. Out of the corner of my eye, in the field, I saw something small and orange—a kitten! He ran into the weeds where a dead tree laid overturned. I told my sister and we started looking for him. She spotted him under the dead tree, and while he focused on her, I sneaked up behind him and grabbed him. At first he was feral—biting and fighting against me—he couldn’t be more than 6-8 weeks old. I brought him to my parents’ house and spent the next week giving him food, water, and cuddles. It didn’t take long for his feral nature to melt into a loving, affectionate kitten. I named him Percy and he’s my best buddy now. I am raising him to be an indoor-only cat in my mountain apartment. I think that my furry loved ones across the Rainbow Bridge sent him to me, knowing I needed him. P.S. my calico is happy as ever living with my sister, and my niece absolutely adores her.

Nederland, CO

A Fitting Name

In 2003, I had adopted an FIV+ cat named Buddy from a local rescue group; shortly thereafter, they contacted me to ask if I would be interested in adopting a second FIV+ cat named Frisky. I said sure, as long as the two cats got along, as I live in a tiny Manhattan studio, and letting them each have their own space is not an option.

Well, the two cats got along just fine... the only issue was that "Frisky" had been an outdoor cat and my little apartment seemed ridiculously small to him - he just didn't understand Manhattan real estate! He would charge the length of the apartment furiously like a caged tiger, jumping on every surface and knocking/breaking everything in his path. I spent the first week yelling " stop being such a spaz!!" at him, until I realized that if we were to get along, I'd have to accept him the way he is ... so I renamed him "Spaz" as Frisky just wasn't descriptive enough ( a little false advertising on the rescue group's part).

Its 12 years later, and he has calmed down a bit in his middle age, but he still likes to charge around the apartment (yes, the same one - thank you rent stabilization) and yells for no apparent reason in the bathtub, other than he must like the acoustics. He has never had a health issue despite being FIV+ and his last blood panel was perfect, especially for a 15-year old cat. He's the smartest cat I've ever met, and has me completely trained to his beck and call - which I don't mind at all as his enormous personality and loving character has filled my tiny apartment with giant love.

New York, NY
Sunshine Daydream Hooded Jacket
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