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My Name is Amberdeen

My name is Amberdeen. I made my way to Eagle Feather Trading Post looking for help. I was extremely weak, emaciated, hundreds of huge ticks were hanging off of my entire body. I had foxtails in my feet and in my eyes. In fact, my rescuers thought I might be blind in one eye because it was so infected. Over several days, many would-be rescuers tried to catch me. I wanted help, but I was too scared to accept them. I knew I was tired and hungry, but I didn't know that my life was waning fast. I was in really rough shape. Then one night, two angels saw me lying near the road and stopped. Something about their voices touched my heart. Instead of running away, I laid my head down and licked their outstretched hands. I was finally done running and accepted their much-needed help.

I spent my first safe night in a long, long time, cuddled into a big fluffy dog bed at one rescuer's house. Then the other angel came and picked me up the next morning to take me to the doggy hospital. The rescuer's loving family and a very compassionate, loving vet, started me on the long road to recovery. The ugly grey, flea- and tick-infested fur has been replaced with my normal beatiful red, sleek coat. My eye has recovered and you can't even see my ribs sticking out at all. My true personality and skills have also returned. I obey basic commands, can shake with either paw, and never bark or whine or scratch or dig. I love to go for walks on my leash and crate easily. I love people. My only fault is that I'm not too fond of other dogs. I need to be an only child right for now.

I need a forever home and promise to be a wonderful companion. Please adopt me.


Jonel Wagoner
Springville, CA

Michelle, the Guilt Trip Cat

When I was 11, a stray cat covered in blood appeared on my porch. Being a budding (albeit inexperienced) cat lady, I immediately picked her up and hide her in my room. When I started to clean the blood from her fur, I realized she had a huge wound on her leg; it looked like the skin had been grated off. I cleaned it as best I could and slathered the wound in Neosporin. Later that evening when my dad came to tuck me in, he noticed she was sleeping on my pillow - quite the shocker, apparently. I convinced him to let me take care of her until her leg healed. After that, I convinced him to let me keep her until we found a home. Then, I used my ultimate weapon - the daddy's girl guilt trip. I sweetly told my dad, whose name is Michael, that I had named her Michelle "because it's the girl version of Michael." 14 years later and Michelle is still my fluffy beloved companion. Now that she's older, she's slowed down some, but she remains the feisty spirit she had when she first showed up on my front porch.

Hannah Scandy
Tulsa, OK

Just can't say "No"!

Friends of ours put out a plea for help with a liter they'd found on their front porch. They were fearful for the safety of these kittens due to the nature of their dog, so they were looking for someone willing to take the babies and find them homes.

Having recently moved from a home that abutted a field with a rather large feral colony, we offered to help. Our thoughts were that we might be able to use our connections from the Feral Cat Coalition to connect with someone who would have a Momma willing to foster these little ones. Well, we found a foster Momma, but on the condition that WE take her! So, we wound up with 5 babies and a Momma along with the pets we already had (all rescues in some way or another) Momma had been abandoned and lactating with no liter in sight at a colony in a town not too far from us and it was obvious she was in pain, She took to those babies like, well, like they were her own! they hissed and spit and took about 5 seconds to settle in. For being such a young baby herself, Momma was awesome and did a great job raising and weaning them!

We managed to find homes for all but 2; Momma and Tuffy (the first one on the left in the photo of 4 of them), No one wanted a juvenile Catten with an unknown history and Tuffy wouldn't allow us to show her to anyone. Tuffy would leave track marks down our backs getting away from whomever wanted to see her: I guess she'd decided she was staying. 5 years later, Momma's favorite spot is on top of the recliner as we come in the front door, and Tuffy loves to cuddle on our laps, but she isn't a snuggler. Unfortunately I didn't snap a pic of Momma with the babies.

Cottage Grove, OR

Helen Keller-like dog makes progress, awaits home

By Phil McPeck

Onya, a healthy border collie mix, has a problem.

Some might find it in her former name: Keller. She was once named for her kinship with the late Helen Keller, who triumphed over being born deaf and blind to become a celebrated political activist, author and lecturer. Onya was born in February 2013, also deaf and blind.

Onya's problem, though, is more profound than a lack of hearing and sight. She is homeless.

She was rescued by a neighbor in Aurora, Colo., and on May 21 was brought to the nonprofit MaxFund Animal Adoption Center — A True No-Kill Shelter in Denver, founded in 1988 by Nanci Suro and husband Bill Suro, DVM.

Onya is in foster care with a MaxFund dog shelter staffer and is to receive some special training.

Veterinarians confirmed that Onya is for all intent and purposes deaf. Using a pen light shined into the pupil on her left side, veterinarians determined the eye has a retina and it is attached, but that whatever she can see is so poor that she is destined for pure blindness. Her right-side eye socket is empty.

Veterinarians explained that some dogs are genetically predisposed to blindness at birth, among them albinos and merles, which describes Onya.

Nonetheless, Onya is making "amazing" progress, said MaxFund staffer Donna Clancy said. In late June, she was referencing her surroundings by what was under her feet — patio or grass.

"She is still a puppy and wants to be a puppy. She wants to play. She very much uses her nose and very much uses her mouth," Clancy said.

She said Onya also responds to pressure when walking on a leash, tail wagging when she is confident or delighted.

MaxFund staff quickly saw in Onya an eagerness, desire and intelligence to thrive, the same as Helen Keller. But those thingsdon't make a forever home. In other words, Onya can master her physical issues, but can't solve her "problem" of being homeless. Can you?

Phil McPeck is chief of media relations for MaxFund, 1005 Galapago St., Denver, CO 80204; 303-595-4917.

Phil McPeck
Denver, CO

Christmas bonus

I've lived in MN all my life. When I was 14 years old (1984), my Mom and I were delivering Christmas wreaths I had sold thru Boy Scouts. I got to one house and brought her wreaths to the door. As I was standing there waiting for her to answer, a Sealpoint Siamese cat walked up meowing loudly like they do. When she opened the door, I suggested to her to let her cat in because it was so cold out. She informed me that it wasn't her cat, it was a stray and she had been putting out dry food so it wouldn't starve. I looked at my mom with an asking look, and she responded "ask her". I asked the lady if she cared if we took it in, and she said she'd be very happy to know it would have a warm home with a loving family. We took it to a vet after a couple days, he gave her a clean bill of health and estimated her age at 1.5. It was so perfect because she replaced another Sealpoint Siamese adoption from family that we had for a decade and had to put to sleep due to old age. She very quickly became the friendliest cat in the world and was my lap cat. We put her to sleep in 2003 when she could no longer control her bowels. Best cat ever.

My wife was given a humane society DSH cat for Christmas in 1992 before we were married, and we had to put him to sleep in December 2013. She wanted a replacement right away, so the next weekend we went to the humane society again and picked up a pair of 3 month old black DSH brothers they humane society named Zeus and Apollo. We're hoping for another 20 years from this pair. Apollo is my lap cat (if he is in the mood).

Bill C
Crystal, MN

My Princess Leia - a Rescue Story

I have always been a cat lover and owner. I have had a few cats growing up but none have been like my Princess Leia.

One Christmas, I received a call from my aunt, stating she had not seen our current cat, Kit Kat, for days. She had gone out for her daily trip around the yard and pool area and had not returned. Kit Kat had been a schedule follower: She would eat breakfast, take her patrol of our yard; keeping out the strays and toms, and then would come right back in for lunch. But this one time, she just disappeared.

Four weeks later, my aunt took her dog to the vet. While she was there, our Vet asked her to tell me about a cat she had rescued from her parents farm. For whatever reason, she felt I would be the perfect owner for this cat. I of course was not ready, but went to see this cat anyway. I was surprised to find a young cat who was so scared she hid under the chair with her face in a corner.The Vet explained that her parents had found her dumped by their barn, looking beaten and missing half of one of her front fangs. I looked and sure enough, you could see where it appeared she had been kicked in the face.

Something about the look she gave me convinced me to take her home. For 48 hours, I did not see her again as she hid in the cage I made up for her with blankets and food. But on the third day, I woke up to her cuddled by my back. From then on out, she seemed to trust me completely...but no one else. Even though she has lived with us for 7 years, I am the only member of the family she will cuddle with, lay on, let touch her, or hold her. Many of my friends don't even believe I have a cat, because she promptly goes under the bed whenever company arrives. She is truly my princess.

Springfield, OH

Crazy Love

My husband and I decided to foster a dog about 3 years after we adopted our first dog, Ozzie. I really wanted to get him a sister. The vet tech at our vet's office already had one in mind for us to adopt, but we wanted to foster before taking one on permanently because we didn't know if we could handle two dogs. We brought home Maggie and she was like a rocket. She was SO energetic. She barked constantly, was not housebroken, showed some food aggression, chewed EVERYTHING, climbed our fence, got kicked out of doggy daycare, etc. Everything crazy in a dog was Maggie. Every bad behavior a dog has, Maggie had. The day we decided to bring her back and say we could not foster anymore, I opened the paperwork we were given when we took her to see what number we needed to call. There I discovered that our Maggie had been born and lived outside and moved between two rescues before being adopted out then returned AT LEAST twice. She never had any stability or constant in her life. No wonder no one could handle her crazy! It broke my heart. I decided right then and there that we would do whatever it took to keep her in our family forever. So we adopted her. It took months of training, exercise and consistent stability, but eventually Maggie transformed into a pup that knew she was in a loving home forever. And that dog the vet tech wanted us to see? It was actually Maggie all along! She knew even better than us what kind of crazy dog we needed to fall in love with. And no matter what, I do love our crazy girl. Life wouldn't be the same without our Maggie hound dog!

Saint Louis, MO

My First Deployment Alone

Oliver came into my life at a time I was literally wishing for a marmalade tabby cat every day. It was the first year after my twins were stillborn and I wanted something to care for on Mother’s day. The boys' birthstone happens to be amber so I knew exactly what color I wanted my fur baby to be. I didn’t want to feel alone and as it happens my husband was deploying the day before my first Mother’s Day! What horrible timing. Aside from lunch with a friend I was spending it by myself. Still, there were a few reasons not to get a cat so we kept putting it off, much as that broke my heart.

That is when Oliver strolled into our lives. My husband was leaving in two days and we were spending time outside together, talking and trying not to think about what was coming. This adorable orange cat popped his head around the corner and I froze. I sent my husband inside to get him something to eat and he followed right after him. From day one Ollie has been a Daddy’s boy. They played non-stop until he had to leave.

We put up posters for Oliver but no one came for him for days. He made my Mother’s Day so much brighter. Because of him I didn’t have to spend a moment of it alone and I missed my husband a little less because he comforted me. His family came the day after and I was so hurt I cried. They must have thought I was crazy but later they heard about my plight from a mutual friend and they decided his furever home was with me. I will always be grateful because they made it sound to me at the time like I was doing them a favor when I could never pay them back for what they've done for me.

I like to think of him as my first Mother’s Day gift. He’s 7 years old now and as much of a character as the day he walked into my life.

Marion, IL

Arwen the Princess of the house

I was always a dog person we had outside cats growing up some with extra toes one who truly had 9 lives but for me it was always dogs. I had my dog Loki from a newborn puppy because i owned his mother and my ex bf his father he was the best dog anyone could want but i was moving across the country and couldnt take him so he stayed behind in California. I was determined i would never have another dog again and for me cats weren't even a thought because i was allergic to cats. For months it felt like something was missing from my life i had a new boyfriend and things were great but we both felt like we were missing a piece to our puzzle. I was visiting a friend who had 2 grown cats and several new kittens and was trying to find them homes. i held several sneezing the whole time until his son brought out the very cute kitten who looked at me with soft eyes and curled up in my lap. I heard her story and knew she had to come home with me, her mother had been his by a car she was a single kitten birth and was being fostered by the mother of the other kittens but wasnt getting enough food so she came home with me the whole way home in the car i had her carrier buckled in the front seat talking to her all the way home and when my boyfriend saw her he was hooked as well. Now he is the one with the allergy and she doesn't bother mine. As i write this my little Arwen is sitting on my shoulder and i wouldnt trade her for anything who knew one day i would be a cat person and one day she will get a friend but for now she is our little princess and we love her dearly

Melinda Goodwin
Binghamton, NY

Oscar "the grouch"

I love cats. But I had three! When my cousin called last year to say she had found a tiny little kitten in downtown Livermore, next to a garbage dumpster - I said "NO" I am not taking it. Especially, since he was a MALE and I already had 3!!! She said he was scared, timid and needed a home - she could not keep him. She named him "Oscar" after the Sesame Street character who lives in a garbage can and is grouchy! Her Oscar was not happy and cried frequently.

So... I made the hour and a half trip to Megan's house and met him. Well, of course I had to bring him home. She had done an awesome job of making him more people friendly, but he still had a pitiful cry and he did not like the cat carrier I placed him in, for the ride home.

Unfortunately, I encountered a horrendous traffic accident 30 minutes from home and the interstate was at a standstill. After 3 agonizing hours, Oscar had enough. He was very vocal and unhappy. I opened the door to the carrier and we bonded with some petting, purring and soft words of encouragement. It took 6 long hours to get home that night. We were BOTH tired, hungry and thirsty. I put Oscar in the bathroom with a litter box, food, water and Ping - my 2 year old Siamese. After 30 minutes, I no longer heard crying. When I peaked in, she was holding him down and bathing him. They were going to be friends.

To this day, Pin and Oscar are inseparable. He is "King of the Hill" in my house. The other two "tolerate" him, but Ping is his constant companion. I cannot imagine my life without him now. Who say three cats is too many?

Jennifer Mroz
Sacramento, CA
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