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Mortar and Pestle

Mortar came to us by way of a satellite cage in our local hardware store. We went in to get some Draino, and brought home a tiny black cat that the shelter had out-sourced there. He had been hiding in the back of his cage, but came out to see my boyfriend and I when we approached. He was purring, vocal and very sweet. We took him home on the spot. Then, a few months later we decided to rescue another cat, because Mortar needed a friend.

After visiting our local shelter, I brought home a tiny grey cat, less than a year old. She had been sitting toward the front of her cage, meowing softly- I felt like she was calling out to me! I had to bring her home. When we got home, however, it turns out she was sick- and not sick like most animals that spend time in the shelter. After a few days, she wouldn't eat, couldn't breathe through her nose, and was sneezing blood. After bringing her to the vet, we started her on a course of antibiotics- She still wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink and was dehydrated. It didn't look like she was going to make it... Then, after another vet visit, some x-rays, another course of a different antibiotic and some force-feeding, she got better!

Now, Mortar and Pestle are inseparable, grooming each other, playing and sleeping together. I'm so glad we didn't give up on our little Pestle. She is such a sweet little girl, who is full-sized at a tiny 6lbs! I wouldn't trade either of them for the world-

Nikki Withrow
Portland, ME

Learning Trust

I was turning 22, and it was cold and rainy and I had said I was only going to look for a dog. I wasn't going to adopt until I was sure we were ready. I'd already seen dogs online that needed homes and I swore I'd make the right choice and wait. Until I saw him. He was cold, wet and smaller and skinnier than all the other dogs. He was scared and refused to come out where he could see us. He wasn't the kind of dog I wanted at all.

But the moment I saw him I knew he needed me. He'd been at the shelter for over a year, found on the streets as a dump case. He'd been abused, that much was certain. He fought the volunteer that brought him out until he choked himself and she had to pick him up and carry him. I wasn't sure at all about him, so I decided to take another walk around the shelter. I saw many dogs but all were the same. Pushing at their cages and barking, demanding attention. I kept returning to him, the one who just wanted to hide from humans. I decided then I wanted him and despite the vow I had made, I took him home that day.

He was terrified. If anyone walked around him, he'd tremble and urinate. He had ear problems and stank, his fur was matted and dirty. My friends asked me if I really wanted to keep him and I said yes. I wasn't about to throw him away. Once is too much. He got a bath and a good ear cleaning. He learned to sit and he learned to lay down. He learned to play with humans and he learned to play with dogs. He's gained weight - 25 to 50 pounds in a year.

Brantley changed my life. He learned from me and I have learned from him. He is undergoing vet approval to be certified as my assistance animal.

But most importantly, he learned to trust. Something that never should have been broken.

Bethannie Bryant
Harrison, AR

So we named him Lucky

We were out one Saturday last October helping some friends clear up a house ready for selling. The two men went to the tip, our friend in a truck and my husband in our car. The other man stopped to get some bits for our lunch while my husband came back to the house.

On the way back he saw what he thought was a lump of grass in the middle of the road. He swerved to avoid it and saw that it was moving. So, he stopped and went to pick it up. Realising it was a tiny kitten and probably feral, he thought it would run away but it just sat there. He brought it back to the house and we fed it on some ham. When we'd finished we drove home with him sitting on our friend's wife's shoulder. We thought he was probably only about six weeks old, but ate proper food and used the litter tray from day one. It was obvious that he had been abandoned! I fed him on boiled minced chicken, pasta and natural yogurt for a while until he was bigger and stronger.

It came in and thought our very old tabby girl was his mum and tried to snuggle up, but she isn't the most welcoming of cats! So he came and sat with me, and that night we brought him on the bed with us. He snuggled under my chin and stayed there all night. That was his favourite sleeping spot until he got too big to lay there, but he still loves to sleep on the bed with us, when he's not out hunting the local small wild life.

We didn't know what to name him and our friend said we should call him Lucky as he wouldn't have survived if it had been a french driver who saw him first.

He has been given an official birthday of the 1st August, and is now just over a year old, the most loving and playful cat we have ever had.

Saint Laurent de la Salle, France

Tiny and Bruiser

I was very late getting to the feed store, and then delayed in leaving for a while talking to the store employee. A man came into the store carrying a very small box and asked if anyone wanted a couple of kittens. The box was so small, I couldn't imagine what he had in there. Well, it was 2 tiny kittens about 10 days old. Their eyes were open but still gray. We asked what their story was. He said he was at the dump that morning and heard a baby crying. He looked around, but there were no other cars, so he followed the sound to its source and found the 2 tiny kittens tied in a plastic trash bag and thrown out at the dump. He brought them into the feed store hoping an animal person would take them as they had to be bottle fed. I had just lost the last of my 3 cats and had just retired, so I said I'd take them. We weighed them on the store's small feed scale. The little girl weighed 6.5 ounces and fit in the palm of my hand. The little boy weighed 11 ounces and fit in my palm and fingers, so I named them Tiny and Bruiser. I bought some KMR and a couple of little bottles to feed them. Tiny was as cold as a stone and I knew if we didn't get her warmed up quickly, she wouldn't make it. She was so cold she couldn't drink. My friend put her inside her polar fleece vest to warm her up and fed Bruiser while I drove. When Bruiser was full, Tiny was finally warm enough to drink. They went everywhere with us, along with their bottles, for their first couple of months and everyone fell in love with them. When they started a little bit of solid food, Tiny used to steal bits of egg from our bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. I've had them for 2 years now and they are absolutely the loves of my life.

Sheila OKeefe
Charles Town, WV

World's Coolest Cat

I had always had dogs growing up but in 1997 I moved into an apartment in southern California and wanted a cat. At the shelter I looked at every single kitten but before choosing I wanted to see the adult cats too. When I came to Buddy’s cage he was sleeping facing away from the door and he rolled over and hissed at me and then went back to sleep like he couldn't be bothered with dealing with me. I was instantly smitten. I don't know why, but I just knew he was the cat for me.

A comedy of errors ensued when I tried to adopt him. The number on his cage didn’t match his profile so they didn’t know who he was, then they couldn’t reach my landlord to get permission for me to have a pet, and then they wouldn’t let me take him because he had to be neutered and I couldn’t pick him up the day he would be ready because I couldn't take off from my new job during the week so they turned me away. This went on for 3 Saturdays and I left the shelter in tears twice. The final weekend I went back and found out he had been sent to a pet store for adoption but they didn’t know which one. I called all of them until I found him and was finally able to take him home.

He walked in like he owned the place and went straight to the refrigerator. Buddy was the coolest cat I’ve ever known. He walked on a leash, loved to ride in the car, and once tried climbing into a restaurant through the drive thru window. Neighbor kids would come over to ask if he could play and he flew with me more times than I can count. After nine years he was diagnosed with cancer but we had five more great years together before I lost him in 2012 at the age of 16. I still miss him and am so glad I was persistent in bringing him home with me.

Beth Smith
Seattle, WA

For Nova, Love Is Blind

When I decided it was time to add another dog to our family, I never expected to adopt a blind husky. I had seen a picture online of a beautiful blue & white pit bull that needed out of the shelter and I instantly fell in love with Bonnie. When the volunteer went to the shelter to rescue her, they discovered she had given birth to a littler of pups. I could no longer adopt her directly so a rescue organization, Best Friends Animal Society stepped in and a wonderful foster took Bonnie and her babies in. I visited often and bonded with Bonnie but unfortunately when we introduced her to our current dog, Leila, the two did not get along. After discussions with BFAS staff member and friend Colleen, we decided it was best for us not to take Bonnie home with us.

I was devastated and broken hearted that I had to leave Bonnie and wasn't bringing her home. I told Colleen what I was looking for in my next rescue and she said she had a special dog she wanted me to meet. She lead me to a back room where a beautiful red & white husky mix calmly lay. Nova had a cone on and we noticed immediately that she was blind. She had recently had her eyes removed due to severe glaucoma which was causing her great pain. Nova gently climbed into our laps to say Hi and seeking love & comfort. I agreed to foster her and see how it went from there. After having her for only one day, I knew I would be keeping her as my next fur baby. She is incredible and so high functioning. If her eyes weren't removed, you'd never know she was blind. She is a normal active, intelligent husky who loves to snuggle and be with us. She and Leila are true sisters; loving and arguing from one minute to the next! Nova and her amazing spirit inspire me every day!

Robyn S.
Valencia, CA

A Spooky Kitty

October 16, 2001 was the day my life changed. I was 11 and I thought I heard a kitty yowling in the trees. It turned out a baby kitten had climbed our 40 foot walnut tree and was swaying in the wind at the top. I tried to climb the tree to rescue him before my mom brought out canned cat food, which ended up coaxing him down. My mom was ready to surrender him to a shelter, but I begged and pleaded to keep him, I did rescue him after all! My mom agreed, and it was the start to the best of friendships. I named him Spooke; it seemed the most appropriate with the upcoming holiday.

He was my best buddy, he always followed me around the house, sat in my lap and purred, was in tune with how I was feeling, and always knew exactly what to do to cheer me up. He moved to Seattle with me when I started college, moved from apartment to apartment, and finally to my house when I married my husband. My husband was just as smitten, calling him his buddy. He gave the best head buts, and body slams. He was always so excited to see either of us.

A couple of weeks ago we noticed he wasn't his usual self. We took him to the vet right away to find out he was dying from severe kidney failure. We tried everything to save my precious kitty, my best friend in the world, but we were too late to help him. Last Wednesday, we did the most humane thing we could and I said good bye to my beautiful, thirteen year old boy. There will never be another kitty like him, he was something special.

I love you Spooke, I hope in kitty heaven there is a stuffed mouse filled with catnip and a laser pointer for you.

Marissa Lock
Renton, WA

Bob-O's and Bobettes

I originally rescued Bob (the bigger one) after receiving a call from a family member saying a friend had him but was taking him to the pound. Bob-O's was found on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. He had a severe URI and one of his eyes had not opened all the way yet, I didn't wait I took him right then. Bob-O's saw my vet got on medication and had his genetics ran. He is now an 8 pound healthy Mokave jag kitten. We then found Bobettes (the tiny one) on Craigslist. She was free and had to leave that day or go to the pound. She has also seen the vet and has been found to be a month old and a Mokave Lynx kitten. Bob fell in-love with her right away and her with him. These two were brought into our lives and have helped us deal with death, diseases (me), and emotion trauma. I love both of these babies and I can not imagine our lives without them. They have brought light and happiness to our dark times and humor to the hard times, (Bob-O's is not so graceful). They are amazing and I love them to pieces.

Mesa, AZ

Zigzag The FIV+ Orange Boy

8 years ago as a volunteer for a local rescue, I was asked to trap 2 cats in an industrial complex.

As I drove up in the parking lot, I saw them. A lovely calico and the other kitty was a fiery red tabby boy. The boy was at the corner of the office building, sniffing the cold air as if to say ' hey, ya got any food with you?'.

I named the calico Radisson and the red boy Zigzag - from a very broken tail that made a 'Z' shape.

Zigzag was very street smart, and it took 2 weeks to finally get him to venture inside a dog crate where I could slam the door shut (tied with a rope) to trap him. Radisson was much more trusting and climbed into the cage with no problems. After the rescue checked them out, they found Zigzag to be FIV+, feral, and not 'adoptable'. Radisson was aggressive and would bite anyone who tried to touch her.

The rescue wanted to put them down. But, I adopted them instead. It took over 6 months of working with them to get them to trust humans. Luckily Zigzag loved turkey and would let me give him a pat while gobbling it down. Add it turned out that Radisson was just cage aggressive, once out of the cage, she was the most loving kitty ever.

In the coming months I read and talked to veterinarians to learn about FIV. Zigzag had a higher risk of immune issues, but as an indoor only, living in a healthy, calm, good food household FIVs can thrive. And Zigzag has!

I couldn't imagine a life without them. Always give a kitty a chance, you will never know how they could enrich your life!

Viv, Zigzag and Radisson

cary, NC

The best dog ever for me and my mom

After we lost our dog of 12 years I was devastated. Buddy was a great dog and I lost my best friend when he died. But Mom and I both knew that his time with us was slowly coming to an end. I cried my heart out when he died in September last year. Mom and I immediately began looking for another dog. I told her that I couldn't last another month without a dog in the house. We looked on Craigslist for a dog and Petfinder.com for almost a month before we finally came across Leah. It was a Thursday in October that I came across after falling flat with Craigslist and Petfinder.com before. We knew what we were looking for. We wanted a dog who was people friendly and good with cats since we had two cats. I kept looking at her picture until I finally decided that I didn't want anyone else to have her but Mom and me. So that Friday I downloaded the paperwork for adopting her and faxed the completed paperwork to the shelter in Oconto. The following Monday we went to get her. A friend of the family brought us to the Oconto Humane Society. When the worker brought her in it was as if Leah knew I needed to be cheered up by her. She zeroed in on me and licked my face from top to bottom. When I found out that the paper work was being finalized I was ecstatic. I have to say that Leah has brought back the joy to my life that I lost upon losing Buddy. However all the neighbors love her and really like petting her. She is a barrel of laughs when she is playful with us. I can't be happier with her as my dog.

Jennifer S
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