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TAD BEAR

I found Tad, a small black 3 week old kitten under an old truck infront of the shop i used to work for in August 2004. Actually i think it was the other way around, Tad found me. He was so little and not very friendly at first but 2 weeks of treating him to toys and food he became my best buddy. He became very attached to me and went everywheres i went including car rides. Even though i only go for short distances Tad looks forward to being my little passanger on shopping trips. I don't have very much info about him, except his mother whom was abandoned gave birth to him and from what i know 1 other kitten inside the engine of the abandoned truck in which i found Tad. I know his mother eventually passed shortly after due to getting hit by a car. The area was kindof like a dumping ground for unwanted animals. I don't know what ever happened to the other kitten, and if i hadn't persuaded Tad to become part of my family his life would've been a bunch of unknowns.

erin
syracuse, NY

Hooch, breaking chains-connecting lives

Hooch showed me life through his eyes. He helped me grow, learn, and discover life through his eyes and what a wonderful life I saw. I saw birds fly over head, snowflakes falling from the heavens, I saw stars fold in the crease of the horizon, grease wading in the lake, and livestock taking life slow; I saw life through different eyes all because of Hooch.

However, prior to Hooch coming into my life he was left in a somber and lonely world. Hooch was chained outdoors in NYS blistering winters and blazing summers with no human contact and given minimal food and water for nearly 10 years.

Hooch's tragic beginning exasperated folks from all over as they learned authorities were notified on several occasions about these unjust acts and that NYS laws could not protect him or intervene because he had "shelter." It was not until Hooch broke the chains that were bound so tightly around his neck that he freed himself from his abusers. Afterwards he was picked up by animal control officers.

Once I was notified of Hooch's freedom without pause I welcomed him into my life wherein he blossomed into a warm, loving creature. His grand teddy bear like presence memorized and captured his audience as we set out together to educate others on the importance of human empathy and kindness toward animals. However, Hooch paid the ultimate sacrifice for his new found fame. The inward scars from his weathered past were hidden beneath this stoic soul which eventually cost him his life.

Today I celebrate Hooch by continuing to educate others through his journey on the importance of the human/animal bond and by encouraging NYS lawmakers to strengthen Buster's Law so other innocent creatures like Hooch do not have to suffer in silence.

Michele Newman-Gehrum
Altamont, NY

Me and My Old Lady...

My boyfriend had joined the Army when I was 19. Against my parent's better judgment, we got married. Stationed across the country from home, just over a year together, our marriage suffered a violent break up.

I knew independence and freedom by being a country away from my childhood. It was Spring, I was barely 21, depressed, and back within the 4 strict walls I thought I had evaded.

I cried myself to sleep every night. My mom felt for me, "What could help you stop crying?" she begged.

I wanted to give my heart a secure home with someone who I could dote over, "A kitten" I answered.

My mom hated the idea of a cat box, or the idea of an inside pet at all. "Why not a fish?" she reasoned.

"Arguing or not, It's been a year since I've had to sleep alone. Right now that's when everything magnifies - when I go to bed. I don't want to sleep alone."

Summer passed, fall came, I attended college, made friends, and still - some nights, cried my lonely self to sleep.

Mom must have revisited our discussion by Christmas. When I came home from work, I saw a furry blur. My mom wanted to surprise me with a kitten for Christmas, but all the shelters and pet stores were OUT of kittens. My mom went to PetCo and adopted from PAL animal foundation. 'Jiggs' was an abused and abandoned 2 year old. "I thought you two could understand each other."

She was skidish at first, but within a year, we became inseparable. We've since moved, and thanks to Jiggs, it's been 16 years since I've had to sleep alone. My heart is filled with happiness as I grow old with the best Christmas gift I've ever received!

Mandy
Menifee, CA

Knox and Farrah

I work with WTPC, a feral cat trap/neuter/return program. On our first day at a new site last summer, several kittens were running around. I picked one up, and the leader of our organization said he wouldn't make it through the night if we left him there. I volunteered to foster, thinking it would be a short-term thing, and I brought four babies home with me. Within ten days, two had died, possibly from panleuk. These two survived, and they now share my home and heart with my husky, Nike.

Constance Israel
Sedona, AZ

Whiskers, adopted twice by same person.

Whiskers, a mixed breed long haired lady was adopted from a shelter in Colorado Springs, CO. She lived with me and my family until my divorce. Then it was just me and her. In 2005 I was called to Active Duty by my Army Reserve unit. At the time I had no options, no friends that could take her and another cat. I placed ads, posted on the internet. No responses. I had to give her up after 12 years. I found a no=kill shelter, MaxFund in Denver, CO. I gave her and the other kitty to them. Fast forward 14 months. I was still in Iraq, and happened to see a link to the shelter. I clicked on it, and looked at the available kitties. WHAT? Whiskers was still there? No way!! I immediately called them and asked if they would hold her for me. I got back and found a place to live that allowed cats. Then I went to MaxFund (after many phone calls) to pick her up. She'd had some medical problems, but none serious, and most probably attributed by separation from me. We went to her cage with a cat carrier. First I asked her if she was ready to go home. She meowed, and walked right into the carrier, surprising the staff and me. needless to say, tears were rolling freely.

William Sanders
Highlands Ranch, CO

Capri

We hadn't been considering acquiring another dog in our house. Our oldest dog passed last year at 15 and we have two dogs, Mr. Kirby a three year old pom/poo mix with a real attitude and Ziggy, a terripoo who is 10. Ziggy is a special needs dog we got from a puppy mill as a baby before we knew what puppy mills were all about. He had horrible ear infections, bad teeth from birth and he is diabetic. One Saturday two months ago I went with my daughter to Petco. They have a rescue agency with dogs there every week. We had brought Mr. Kirby with us and walked back to look at the dogs they had. We spotted a little toy poodle in one of the crates. Her name was Tiny, a 7 lb, 2-3 year old poodle recently found in a high kill shelter in North Carolina. They said she's sweet, loving and looking for a a forever home. She had recently given birth and from what we could figure, her owners kicked her out because she had become pregnant! Wasn't it their responsibility to have her spayed so that wouldn't happen. Anyhow I picked her up and that was that! I knew she belonged with our family. Mr. Kirby seemed to like her too so we immediately filled out the adoption papers and the agency came out that same week for a house/yard check. They left her that same day with us and we renamed her Capri. She is the most fantastic dog. She is sweet, loving and extremely smart. Definitely the past owners loss - can't even figure what they were thinking. We are so lucky to have her and so glad that we decided to go into Petco that day.

Janet
Pittsford, NY

Precious

Last Tuesday night,7/13/10, around 11pm I went to bed and watched TV. I heard a cat meowing and thought it was the TV so I turned it down, however, it came from outside. I listened where it was coming from and thought it came from across the street, a wooded area. I went back to bed. However, I kept hearing this cat in distress and went outside in my pj's in the rain to look. Could not hear anything, it stopped meowing so went back in and to bed. Then it started again on and on and finally I went out again at around 1:30 am 7/14/10, no sound but it went on and on when I was back in the house, could not sleep a wink. At about 3pm I got up again and my husband as well so I told him to come with me to look for that cat. Took the flash light and we both went out into the rain. I went right to the side of the house and heard where the sound came from, right under my bedroom window. Then I saw it, a small kitten with its umbilical cord still attached soaking wet and I almost stepped on it. So.....what to do, I could not leave it outside so put it in a box. She looked healthy and fiesty. I waited until morning to take it to the vet. They gave me KMR to feed her, like every two hours, just like a baby. She weighed 4 oz. She was at the most about 3 days old when I found her. She opened her eyes 7/22/10 and s/o 7-24-10 she gained two oz. Her name is Precious because she is.

Wil/Harrisburg, PA

Wil
Harrisburg, PA

Rescued just in time.............

Blue's story is very sad! I just happened to find her on Pet Finders.com in a Kill Shelter near Athens Georgia.

On a Thursday, my husband drove an hour to adopt her. When he got there he was told that she was scheduled to be put down the next day. Of course, we wanted to take her right then but they said it was their policy to "spay" her first. The sad thing was that it almost seemed the kill shelter was trying to talk us out of it. They asked if we wanted her tested for heartworms, and when we said yes, they asked if we would still adopt her if she tested positive. Uh, YESSSS

We picked her up on Saturday morning and learned her story. She was a puppy mill dog living her two years of life in a cage, outside. Once her puppies were not AK acceptible, she was dropped off on the side of the road.

She was SOOOOOO scared of everything. She did not know what noises to expect in the house. From turning on the tv to opening a cola can, would cause her to tremble.

That was two years ago! Now she is perfect; only scared of thunderstorms, but heck who isn't!

Margie
Cumming, GA

Capri

We hadn't been considering acquiring another dog in our house. Our oldest dog passed last year at 15 and we have two dogs, Mr. Kirby a three year old pom/poo mix with a real attitude and Ziggy, a terripoo who is 10. Ziggy is a special needs dog we got from a puppy mill as a baby before we knew what puppy mills were all about. He had horrible ear infections, bad teeth from birth and he is diabetic. One Saturday two months ago I went with my daughter to Petco. They have a rescue agency with dogs there every week. We had brought Mr. Kirby with us and walked back to look at the dogs they had. We spotted a little toy poodle in one of the crates. Her name was Tiny, a 7 lb, 2-3 year old poodle recently found in a high kill shelter in North Carolina. They said she's sweet, loving and looking for a forever home. She had recently given birth and from what we could figure, her owners kicked her out because she had become pregnant! Wasn't it their responsibility to have her spayed so that wouldn't happen. Anyhow I picked her up and that was that! I knew she belonged with our family. Mr. Kirby seemed to like her too so we immediately filled out the adoption papers and the agency came out that same week for a house/yard check. They left her that same day with us and we renamed her Capri. She is the most fantastic dog. She is sweet, loving and extremely smart. Definitely the past owners loss - can't even figure what they were thinking. We are so lucky to have her and so glad that we decided to go into Petco that day.

Janet
Pittsford, NY

Mister and Miss Snuggles

I work on a farm and last year a cat showed up she was looking a little fat so we assumed she was pregnant and lo and behold she gave birth to 4 kittens. About 8 weeks later her and one of her kittens disappeared. Luckily they were weaned off her and I had started giving them cat food. In the year previous, I had lost my 6 year old cat Gizmo, 2 months later a 6 month old kitten I had adopted from the humane society and just 2 months prior to finding the kittens my 12 year old had passed away. It was a painful year and I swore I would have no more cats but one of the kittens started coming in to the office and won my heart so I brought him home. About 2 weeks later, a lady I work with took home one and then there was just the one left. She was very skiddish and wouldn't let me near her but I could not leave her for fear of another animal getting at her. I caught her and took her home. They had worms and the white one had calicivirus but they were well worth the money to make them healthy. 8 months later mister(white kitty) and miss snuggles (grey kitty) have made our home so happy and full of life. They are so affectionate and very playful.

Danielle Taylor
Lindsay, ON, Canada
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