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I failed as a foster mom because I fell in love

I first saw Donnie's photo on FB on the local Animal Control shelter's page. I had just lost my dog Petunia whom I adopted at a year old and was with me for 10 years. I wanted to help the dogs I saw that were so unhappy at the high kill shelter. Donnie's eyes was what drew me. He was a puppy, about 6 months old, and undersocialized and scared at the shelter. He would bark and growl at people he didn't know.

I decided to foster him as my first foster dog. We bonded almost immediately. Behind the growl and bark, I saw a sweet little boy that was just so scared. No one at the shelter knew much about him except he was picked up as a stray. I slowly introduced him to my other dogs, and he eventually figured out they were his playmates. After a few months, I hit a rough time juggling my work and being a single mom, and was so overwhelmed I took him back to the shelter's adoption place, hoping someone would adopt him. I cried when I drove away. About a couple of weeks later, I got a call from the Foster Coordinator, asking if I would speak to a lady who was looking to foster him. He had not done well at the adoption center and was transferred to the high kill shelter. When I found that out, I begged them to let me take him back. I promised him and myself that I would not give up on him. I also renamed him. I chose a good strong Irish name - Finnegan.

I officially adopted Finnegan last month. He is a sweet boy who just needs love. He has grown into a wonderful family dog; playful, affectionate and eager to please. With slow introductions, he can get over his fear of strangers.

Debra
Louisville, KY

Cats Make Their Own Family And Allow Me To Be A Part Of It

In Sept 2010, following the untimely & heartbreaking death of my blue-point Manx, Popcorn, I adopted Widget. He was the runt of two surviving orphaned feral kittens born in a shed in NW Arkansas. Once home in SW MO Widget bonded with Tigger3, who had shown up at my house following a tornado in 2008. Tigger3 had been raised by Popcorn. In May 2014 along came Percy, a little white, flame-point ball of fluff, who had been born to a friend's barn cat. Widget immediately adopted Percy and would not let him out of his sight, even carrying him around like a mama cat would her kittens. Tigger3 is slowing down but Percy keeps Widget busy. Note of interest: all of these lovelies are neutered males. This family dynamic was never a conscious decision on my part. They have created their own plan without any help from me. I expect Percy will raise the next one and so on. I have been owned by cats most of my life and can't imagine not having them in my home and in my heart. I have never gone looking for a cat. They come to my attention through various means and I have yet to say no to any one of them.

Kathy L. Wright
Neosho, MO

In A Cage No More

Several months after my cat Moonie died, I decided it was time to find a new friend. I went to the Humane Society to see who was available. I was thinking of a kitten. There were several and all were cute and friendly. When I turned around to ask the attendant a question, I saw a young adult cat lying in a cage. He was mostly black with white splashes. His name was Oreo. The attendant said he'd been there for a year. I watched the kittens for a while, but my thoughts kept returning to Oreo. It was tugging at my heart that he had been caged for so long.

Needless to say, Oreo came home with me that day. I thought he would be so happy to be out of that cage, but he wasn't. That cage was his whole world, he would go behind the couch and cry. He was terrified of open spaces.

It took about a month for him to come out on his own. Slowly he made first the living room his own and eventually the whole house. Once he felt safe again, his mischievous nature came out. He was into everything. It was like he had a second kittenhood. I spent so much time saying you are a bad boy, that, that became his name. Badboy.

In the photo, he has stolen a cigarette. Loved Menthol.

About six years later, he got a serious respiratory infection. During the exam, the vet found a large growth in his abdominal cavity. Surgery would have been in the thousands of dollars and no guarantees. I was faced with a heart wrenching decision. But, I had to do what was best for him. I know he is waiting for me at Rainbow Bridge.

Love you always, Badboy

Rhonda Davis
Sebring, FL

Shilo Thank You for loving us

We we're looking for a playmate for our female sheltie, Sissy. My wife spotted a picture of Shilo at a animal sanctuary about an hour's drive away. After contacting them we took Sissy up to meet him and they hit it off so we said we'll take him even though he was a older. He was found in a rain storm on the side of a 4 lane highway. Some kind soul stopped to see if he was alive and then took him to the local animal sanctuary. By his tags he was a runaway from one of the cruel puppy mills in the area. At 11 lbs. his ribs showed, his fur all knotted & he would just crouch in the corner. When he walked it was crouched down so his belly almost rubbed the ground with his tail between his legs. We had to have all but 10 of his teeth removed as they were so bad too. It took almost a year of grooming, love & treats to get him up and walking with his tail flying high. In the little over 4 years he was with us he brought more joy into our lives than can be described in words. He had heart problems that finally took him over the rainbow bridge last spring. We miss him every day and know he will be waiting for us to join him in God's time!

Anonymous
Elmira Heights, NY

Punkie

My sister in law called and said they had a kitten they found out in their carport. Would I take it? Knowing they weren't cat people I had to say yes. This little orange puff that was crying pitifully inside a box, climbed right up my arm to my neck and cuddled in. She was so tiny I knew she wasn't very old. I took her to the vet who examined her and said she was only about 3 weeks old. I knew if I took her to the shelter she wouldn't survive, so home she came. I had to bottle feed her for a few days and got her to use a pan of litter pretty quick. My older cats were jealous. They never tried to hurt her but they would use her little litter pan. Watching a 23lb cat trying to use that pan was hilarious. My son named her Punkie. She wormed her way into my heart and there was no way she was going to be leaving us.

Cindy B.
Crawfordsville, IN

He's our Big Daddy!

We rescued "Big-Dad". Lots of convincing, dropping hints, and puppy-dog eyes, I convinced mother that I needed a friend! We didn't think we'd be able to buy a cat but it happened that a shelter in town was having a cat month and the cats in the shelter were free! I dragged mother, and my brother to the shelter where they took us into a cat room! The first one was beautiful! A gray tabby kitten! She was friendly and was suckling my index finger as I pet her, but it wasn't meant to be. Her cage said 'taken'.... I felt discouraged....there were no other cats in the room that gave me good vibes. We were about to leave when a volunteer came to us and suggested we go to this room down the hall. He explained that this next room was for cats who weren't adoption material. They were old, shy, aggressive, sick.... This room was DISGUSTING!!! But I kept looking, and there he was. A Bombay beauty,sticking his paw out of his cage like he were waving! He was on the bottom level,had a runny eye and nose. Despite how sick he was he chose us! Mother held him, he then climbed from her arms, to my brothers,to mine. He was going home with us. I fell in love instantly when he crawled into my arms! In most cases you have to wait a day to bring your pal home due to being neutered but our big guy (weighing a grand total of 15 pounds!!!) was already neutered. We took him home the same night. He rode in my lap the way home and purred loudly. Once we got home he didn't even bother to hide, he just waltzed in, and laid in the middle of the floor! He was home. His first vet visit told us that he has a heart murmur. If the shelter would've found it...he would've been euthanized. To our benefit they missed it and I'm thankful for that! He healed with his murmur less severe!....and is currently trying to get into my room

Anonymous
Tucson, AZ

Willow Pillow

A few months ago i hit rock bottom. I didn't know where to turn in my life. So, I decided to adopt a dog. I thought about going to the shelter, but before I went i posted on craigslist to see if anyone was needing to give up their dog, and wanting to avoid a shelter. This is how i found Willow. Her owners adopted her just months before from a shelter, and couldn't provide for her. The first day i met her she was incredibly shy, but very cute. I felt like she was the one, and adopted her the following week. Since bringing her home she was been nothing but perfect. She listens well and is learning commands fast! We go on hikes and walks daily. The first few nights i had her she would fall asleep at my feet, and when i woke up she was by my face! Now she cuddles up next to my face, and steals my pillow. This is why i call her WillowPillow. She sometimes hogs the whole bed, but its just too cute. She loves to play fetch, and roll over on her tummy for belly rubs. Sometimes she falls asleep while i give her belly rubs. Shes everything i could have asked for in a dog, and i love her to death. She was surrendered to a shelter when she was a year old because she wasn't aloud in city limits because of her breed. WHAT A JOKE. I don't know what kind of bad reputations stafforshires have but she is the sweetest dog i have ever met.

Anonymous
Morrison, CO

Molly had a paw in this.

Around 2000 I was managing a local pet store in our town. We allowed the Humane Society to come in on weekends and adopt out cats and dogs to the public. One morning while sitting things up the lady over the adoption ask me to take "mama dog" out to potty. I fell in complete love with her. We adopted her and named her Molly. She would spend 7 years with us and would be one of the best things that ever came into our family. In 2007 she was stricken with a rare form of bladder cancer and we had to let her go to The Rainbow Bridge,even though it killed me to the core. No one could ever hold my heart again the way Molly did. December 2011 I was just going through the motions looking at pics of all the dogs on a high kill shelter site, and there he was...this one dog, those eyes. It was as if they were looking straight to my soul, I kept going back to his picture. What was it about this dog? I told my husband, we have to adopt this dog. He asked why? I can't go through this again he said...I said I don't know why but we HAVE TO. And we did...at 8 weeks old Mickey filled our hearts in a way we thought may not be possible again. And he does so many things the way Molly did. So I think Molly had her paw in this...somehow she knew we needed Mickey and Mickey needed us. You see Mickey is not without his problems, in fact I think so many would have gave up on him or put him out side and just did the minimum to take care of him. But not us...we kept working with him and he has grown to show trust and love. And now 3 years old he is part of this family and has healed us in ways we thought we may never heal again. I still miss Molly everyday...but I know this is what she would have wanted.

KRYSTAL
ROCK HILL, SC

Our Awesome Calico

One night, I briefly stopped off at the pet rescue facility where I volunteer. A family stopped by and brought in a tiny longhaired calico. The kitten had followed the mailman around crying for attention, and both the mailman and this family could not find her home, so the family was seeking a rescue. Our rescue only uses foster homes and has a process to enroll new pets....but I watched the little kitten charging around our rescue office, fearlessly meowing and exploring, I knew she was going home with me!

Calico was an eight week old ball of energy and excitement amidst our adult indoor only cats! After about a year, she had a small break in her front left leg with complications, so sadly it had to be amputated. But our petite tripod beauty recovered and adapted immediately. By age 3, she was diagnosed with kidney issues. She was a trooper, and had an awesome veterinarian team and compassionate vet staff. During hospitalization for failed appetite, the vet and I began to discuss euthanasia, but were interrupted by a technician who reported Calico started to eat. "I guess she knew we were talking about her future,” laughed our vet! She rebounded and enjoyed every moment from wet food to a good nap in a sunbeam. Calico went over the Rainbow Bridge two days ago, where she is certainly playing enthusiastically!

In her four years of life, Calico was as our vet described, a short life "but burned bright while she was here". She was beautiful, loving, fearless, accepting and endlessly a joy to be around. Every morning and evening, our kitties each get a teaspoon of wet food as a treat, and Calico was always leading the herd with her happy dance - and when she heard the sound of the lid coming off the can, she exploded into terrific meows and dancing until her treat got into her bowl. She loved every bite of it, even when it was renal food. I would watch her and remember the quote by Emerson, "Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm".

Mickey
Kennewick, WA

My Pearl kitty

When my husband and I got married in 2008, we knew we wanted a pet right away. I've always had dogs but deep down, I always had wanted a cat. My husband also was a cat lover so this was an ideal situation. In early September of that year, I got a phone call from my mother that lived 3 1/2 hours away (we had moved due to job opportunities). She had told me that due to horrible recent flooding, one of the teachers at the elementary school she worked at had caught a kitten before it was swept down a draining system. He was pure white and just a scared little thing. At first, we thought he was a she and named him Pearl, and lo-and-behold, we mixed up his gender! His name is still Pearl and he is severely protective over our family. It makes me laugh when he licks my nose or just wants to sit on my chest because that's how he used to sleep when we picked him up after that horrible flooding day. I love my Pearl-kitty and wouldn't change anything about him.

Davina
El Dorado, KS
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