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Leone's story part 2 (told by his mum)

When I took my dog out of town for a walk that cold November-day I had no idea that the scarecrow of a cat who hitched a ride home was in a condition that would cost me a fortune to fix. I doubt it would have made any difference.

Not even the vet noticed anything - except that he was very thin and dirty - No one claimed him, so I just kept him. But in May I took him to the vet to make sure that he was in fact a neutered tom as I thought, and also to have him ear marked before letting him out into the garden.

I expected to pick him up again later the same day, but just an hour later the vet phoned me: Leone breathed poorly under sedation. They had x-rayed him, and found that his stomach and his intestines had migrated through a hole in his diaphragm, and his stomach was depressing his lungs making it impossible for him to breathe. She thought he had probably been hit by a car. No wonder he never ate much and was sometimes out of breath.

I had to to decide on the spot whether I would pay for an operation to try and save his life - she gave it a fifty-fifty chance - or she should just put him to sleep while he was still sedated. Shocked, I couldn't bear to just lose him, so I said go to the operation though I wasn't sure of the cost or where to find the money ....

It went well. The vet was very impressed how quickly he recovered. She even gave some discounts to celebrate. This all happened 3½ years ago. He gained more weight after his operation,, He’s now a beautiful cat even if he’s quite small and skinny for a Maine Coon.

He was indeed a neutered boy. According to the vet, a very young one, but it’s really impossible to tell as he hasn’t grown at all. I’ll just keep him and love him for as long as he lasts.

Svinninge, Denmark

Leone's story part 1 (told by himself)

“Hi there.

My name is Leone. I'm a half-size red Maine Coon.

I don't really remember my kittenhood, but someone must at one time have loved me, because I'm quite fond of at least one human - I even used to like dogs, but I definitely don't like the beastly Jack Russell who is living at my house. Her behavior has put me off dogs.

I remember the big bang, and the pain after as I crawled away from the road to recover. No one came to find me, I didn't remember where I came from and most of that summer (2010) was a blur of pain and hunger. Come autumn the pain subsided and I was able to hunt a little as the hosts of mice fleeing the harvest made easy prey. But I found I couldn't eat much no matter how hungry I felt.

I wandered the countryside until mid-November, all the time feeling that someone ought to come and find me.

On November 13th I was at this picnic site, high on a overlooking the road. I watched many cars go by, but even if they stopped it was too cold for anyone to get out for a picnic. I was so tired and cold, I wasn't sure, how long I could go on.

I was sitting at the top of the steps, looking for my people, when a small yellow car stopped. Someone was getting out of the car and I got this feeling that this was it. At last someone was coming to get me.

I hurried down the steps, calling out as loudly as I could. The woman seemed quite surprised. She was just getting this small white dog out of the car. I hurried over and headbutted them both and wrapped myself around her legs. She reopened the car door and tried to make the dog go back in, which it wouldn't.

I wasn't that stubborn. I rushed into the car and found a whole loaf of bread, which I started eating at once… “

Svinninge, Denmark

At Just the right time.

Our family began at the same time as I had just met my now husband when Abby came into our lives. I was living with my brother who was a police officer when he received word that a family had abandoned their pets. Abby was found tied up outside with no food or water and terrified. She was taken to the vet who gently cared for her. However, it was soon discovered that all shelters and foster home were full and the sad decision was made that she should be put down. My brother heard of this from the vet and brought her home willing to rehome her on his own time and expense. That became unnecessary because the minute I came home form work that day Abby jumped in my arms and has been there ever since.

Dalton, GA

Who rescued who?

Joel sat on the edge of his bed. In one hand, he gripped a nearly-empty bottle of Jack Daniel's. In the other, a bottle full of Percocet. He was a veteran who had survived multiple tours, but at a great cost. The horrors of war had taken their toll, leaving Joel scarred and suffering from PTSD. Joel's mother had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The thought of losing her reminded him of the many he lost in combat, including his best friend. To add to his suffering, his wife had just miscarried, turning what was once a promise of great joy into sorrow. All the pain was adding up... and being multiplied by his PTSD. It became simply too unbearable. He was tired of hurting. He was tired of living. Joel decided to end his suffering. He would swallow the whole bottle of Percocet and wash it down with the whisky. He was going to kill himself.

But then, there was a scuffling of paws in the room as Joel's dog, Barrett, came walking in. Barrett cautiously approached the bed. He gently put his paw on Joel's knee and looked up at him. Joel looked down into Barrett's eyes. He sensed a deep understanding from his dog. Barrett was comforting Joel in his darkest hour. Barrett understood. He seemed to be saying, It's okay. I've been there myself. We can get through this.

Joel put the bottle down. That night, Barrett saved Joel's life.

denver, CO

You had me at "Brrr-meow"

My most beloved friend and soul mate, Chini, lost her battle with lymphoma on August 24th, 2014. She was only 9 years old. She had been with me through so many important parts of my life, my first apartment, my wedding, my first child, and my first house. I thought I'd have plenty more years with her. She was diagnosed with cancer (lymphoma) 2 days before she died. It was the most devastating loss I've ever endured.

I was painfully empty for days. I still mourn her loss deeply. A few days after her passing, my husband told me to get out of the house. I went out for lunch with my brother, and across the street was a Petsmart. We ended up going in. I just wanted to look at the kitties over in the adoption area (Petsmart works with local shelters). I wasn't ready to get any kitties, but I ended up finding a friend. I walked up to one of the cages and there was this pretty, one year old male kitty who watched me walk in. I said "Hi buddy!" and he rolled on his back and said "Brrr-Meow", and in the first time in over a week, I smiled. I looked at the tag on the cage to see his name, and it was Chili! How weird is that? So close to Chini. It was a sign. He was so sweet and I loved him right away. I thought about him for 3 days, and finally, I brought my husband and son to meet him. We ended up adopting him that day.

We've had our little Chili Pepper for about a month now, and he's fitting in quite nicely. Even our other kitty, Taco, has warmed up to him. My house is a little less empty now. <3

Sherry Florek
Oak Forest, IL

Mattole-brindle boy from Cali or Arizona

Dedicated to the young lady going on a vacation to Hawaii winter of 2001....I want you to know your puppy has had the best life ever; he is a beloved family member. Late December of 2001, a family member arrived for the holidays in Nebraska, having hitchhiked from Arizona with a 9-month-old puppy in tow.

Not sure of the whole story, but said family member was either babysitting or given Mattole. He was in need of vet care after having been in a fight with another dog, coyote or wolf near a campground. I was not sure I even wanted a dog, as I had not had one in years - I do think a pet should be a lifetime commitment! I did take him to the local vet for a few stitches and shots, as it was the least I could do before rehoming him - which never happened...obviously. We moved to Missouri shortly thereafter. A few relatives said the young lady called about Mattole, but we were in the process of purchasing a home, getting phone service, etc. Never heard from her directly. I kept his name the same.....didn't want to confuse him, and it was a little different and just fit him.

Needless to say, this sweet boy went about convincing me he was the best dog in the world! I can't even begin to describe what a good companion he is. He is slowing down, but over the years has enjoyed hanging out with his people every day, sleeping in the bed, riding in cars...and his favorite thing ever...an occasional tablespoon of WHIPPED CREAM. Goes crazy whenever the family member who brought him to us comes for a visit....remembers everyone! I think this sweet boy was meant for us.

He'll be 14 in February...a little arthritic, hard of hearing and with cataracts....but as sweet as ever. Been through a few surgeries. Picture is from his younger days....his looks have changed a bit, gray muzzle now.

Mary Hofmeister
Moberly, MO

Yuki baby

I had been looking for a cat to keep me company at my screen printing shop. I was looking for a laid back older cat that would be ok left alone at night. I heard from a friend about this cat that had been hiding in this womens couch. I found out that Yuki had been adopted from the SPCA and the

Family that had adopted her had two boxers that tormented her. The owner then gave her to a neighbour that had a noisy house with multiple cats, dogs, birds ect. The poor cat hid in the couch until it was quiet the neigbour told

me, then she was a lover. She said she couldnt keep her and agreed to let me take her home. My friend picked her up for me and brought her to my shop. Here inside the cat kaddy was this little white shaking cat, terrified but so cute! Pink ears and nose, one blue and one gold eye. She immediately went and hid for 2 days. But at the end of the 3rd day when the equipment was off she would come out for snuggles. And what a snuggler she has become. When I first got her she would shake she was so terrified of loud noises and pretty much everything else. I have never in all my life had a cat so scared they would shake. Now we have a daily routine of play and snuggles and she sleeps during the noisy shop periods. Yuki is vocal and lets me know if she wants more attention! She is no longer scared of everyone and everything except me. Yuki has warmed up to a lot of my regular customers and friends. I have had her since Feb and she is almost 3 but tiny and pure white. She is my sanity and loves her quiet time at the shop and of course snuggles. Yuki loves to climb in my arms then she rolls on her back in your arms and knead the dough. She is so sweet and beautiful, safe and happy.

leah stoughton
Kamloops, BC, Canada


And then there was little Foxy. My customers are aware I foster for our local animal shelter and one day I was ask to take a small dog that had turned up on their doorstep. I encouraged them to take the dog to the shelter they just could not do that. As I didn't have a current foster I agreed. Foxy was dropped off a few days later. Her story was she wondered up and they had been feeding her but could not allow her inside, she was just too hyper. They had no fence and she was in danger of being run over, they had lost several dogs this way. I took Foxy to the shelter for intake and shots. Her estimated age was about a year old. Once I got her back to the flower shop I found a quite calm dog that loved to be held and snuggled. She loved meeting new people and my two dogs. I believe she was so hyper because she was desperate to be a part of the family. In only four short days she was picked up by Southern Jewel Rescue and on her way to Scarsdale, New York. Foxy now has a wonderful home with three teens and a fenced yard to run and play in. We are so lucky to have great shelter employees. They work endless hours networking with rescue groups and foster families to save as many animals as possible. But this is a kill shelter and some animals leave by the back door. Want to save a lot of lives? Contact a shelter or rescue and pay for an animal to be spayed.

Marion, AR

Sugar, spice and everything nice

This happy baby is now named Sweetie. She was left on the shelter doorstep Sept. 2013, so matted she was shaved to the skin. And so thin you could count every bone. I stopped by the shelter for another reason and was told I had to see this dog. She was so sad and quite. I said, "Give her to me, just give her to me." You see I am a foster mom and she needed me. Named Princess by the shelter I called her Gidget and discovered in short order she had been a loved and treasured companion earlier in her life. I have two dogs of my own that come to work at my flower shop each day and room for one foster, but Gidget was my dreamed of dog. She was perfect, good manners, loved to cuddle, housebroken. Then the day came when a customer said his wife would love her and I had a choice to make. I encouraged him to bring his wife by and yes she fell in love. Now named Sweetie she is in her perfect home, as perfect as she is. She is fulfilling her destiny because when this wonderful couple is asked where they found their sweet baby the answer is, "She was a shelter dog". You see shelter dogs aren't broken they simply need a second chance. Because Sweetie found her second chance I have room for the next one that needs to find their second chance. The bonus in this story, I get to see and at times babysit my dream dog.

Marion, AR

Finding my forever kitty

I met my man a few years ago and a little over a year and a half ago I moved from PA to KY to be with him. Unfortunately when I moved I had to leave my cat Simba behind because I couldn't take him from his home or subject him to the long drive so he stayed there with the roomie I lived with.

One day not long after I moved in here my man's daughter went outside and saw a tiny kitten right outside the door shivering, hungry, and sick. This kitten barely had it's eyes open. We took it inside and started feeding the baby with an eyedropper and got medicine to take care of the cold the poor darling had.

We kept her in a carrier with one of my t-shirts. Before long she became attached to me, wanting little to do with anyone else. We named her Cookie because of her black and white coloring and her sweet demeanor.

Once she outgrew the carrier and was eating canned cat food we took her to the bathroom to stay until she got big enough to roam the entire house. We have a bunch of cats outside and ended up bringing in a second sick kitten that was her age and so she got a playmate who we named PeeWee because he was the runt of his litter. Then one day we go outside and see a small orange and white kitten that was scrawny and covered with burs and ticks. We brought him inside and spent quite some time picking the burs out of his fur and getting the ticks off of him, naming him Lucky. He became the third bathroom kitten.

All three kittens got along well and so ended up with the nickname "Three Stooges". To this day Cookie is still very much my baby and wants held as often as possible, sucking on my shirt everytime I'm holding her.

Amastacia Hawk
Wingo, KY
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