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On New Years Eve 1996, my cat NightNight was accidentally let out by a roommate and killed by a neighbor's dog running loose. I was devastated. On January 2, I went to the local shelter. As always, I asked to see cats on death row. After denying there was such an area, they led me into a small room. There at the very end was a very vocal gray cat with no tail. "Oh, he's mean. He's bitten everyone and we can't let you pet him. We have to put him down." Having lost 13 loved ones over that past year and going thru the accompanying anguish, I could understand anger and pain. In the meantime, the cat is reaching thru the cage, desperately crying for me, trying to touch me, begging me with his eyes not to leave him. "No, I want to hold him. I have days like that, where I hate everyone and would bite them if I could. He won't hurt me." After assuring them I wouldn't sue them and writing/signing a waiver stating same, the staff finally gave in and opened the door. We reached for each other and fell silent as we held each other for the first time. Since he was to be put down, they let me adopt him that very day.

We went home. He would sit and watch my other cat, DayDay, and I play and interact day after day, always nearby but never participating. Six months later, he let me touch him. Another 3 months, I actually held him again. We were together ~19 of his 22 years. He left me last Saturday afternoon. Each time I lose a pet, my mother asks me why I put myself through such emotional trauma when I know I'm going to lose them eventually. I tell her, as painful as it can be, I wouldn't miss it for the world.

(Not actual pic of GreyGuy, but he looked just like this).

Martinsburg, WV

Hazel Grace

My mother was wheelchair bound and lived in assisted living for three years before her death in 2013. Looking to fill the void after her passing, I decided to volunteer at our local city animal shelter. I went to the shelter every Friday morning at 8 am to clean the cat cages, give the cats fresh water, fill their food dish, and hopefully have time to brush each one.

When you enter the cat room at 8 am, the cats start 'meowing' loudly. The shelter is closed 16 hours a day and they are ready for their time out of the cage and for human contact. All of the cats would be yelling when I came in, except one little tuxedo cat in the upper left-hand corner cage. She would sit patiently in the back of the cage, but would 'converse' with you if you talked directly to her. When you let her out of the cage, she wouldn't run wild all over the room as the others would do, she would sit and watch as I worked. Hazel's story was that she was abandoned in an apartment when the tenant moved out. I wondered how long she had been there, without food or water, scared, wondering what was going on. Week after week, she would be in that upper left corner cage when I would come to volunteer. One day, I said, "WHY isn't someone adopting this great cat?" I think I had to say those words out loud in order to know the answer - I was someone! I already had two cats and had always had just two cats. What would be the harm in having three? So I adopted her that day! I named her Hazel Grace after a character in a popular book, but also because of her beautiful green eyes and due to the fact she has definitely graced our lives. Hazel Grace loves to sit next to you in a chair and sleeps right in the center of our bed at night. My whole family loves her!

Emporia, KS

The Cookie Monster

This isn't about me rescuing a kitten. It's about how she rescued me.

On March 3, 2013, my family had to make the hardest decision: To put my 12 year old dog, Daytona, down. She was very sick, couldn't walk, and we didn't want her to be in pain anymore. The adjustment was hard. I was a senior in high school dealing with depression and stress from several sources. I had talked about wanting to raise a kitten for the longest time before my dog's passing. My parents finally said yes, thinking it would be good for me. The only condition was that she was 100% my responsibility. I was completely okay with that.

That weekend, they had gone out with friends and told them we were looking for a kitten. Our friend knew someone that also knew someone who had a cat that just had a litter 2 months before, and one kitten had yet to find a home. I saw the picture. She was scrawny with an odd face, but I said yes anyway. After going back and forth with the owner, we set up for me to pick the kitten up during Easter break, on March 29. Once I saw her and held her, I knew she was perfect. I named her Cookie, because the brown spot on her face reminded me of a chocolate chip cookie.

The entire first day (and that whole weekend), I either followed her around, or I brought her with me where ever I went in the house. I kept her in my room at night so she couldn't roam and get stuck somewhere or hurt, and she curled up with me and slept right next to me all night.

We've been inseparable ever since. She comes when I call her, she won't stop meowing if she doesn't know where I am, and she still sleeps with me almost every night. She's my best friend, and I don't know where I'd be without her.

Katelyn Bartholomew
Easton, PA

Buddy our rescue cat.

My daughter wanted a cat for quite a while. We had -4- dogs, -2- of which were very old. I told her to be patient. I wanted my -2- elder dogs to live out their years peacefully. She completely understood. After a few years our elder dogs passed. My daughter was patient and allowed us to grieve for a period of time. Then in August of 2013, I felt the time was right to bring a cat into the family. My husband was opposed....we still had -2 standard poodles who loved to bark and chase cats (if they had the opportunity). He felt a cat would disrupt the harmony in our home. But, I had promised my daughter. So against my husbands protest, we went to a no-kill shelter to find a cat...keeping in mind, this cat must be able to blend with -2- huge dogs. There were several cats to pick from. My daughter had a kitten in mind, but I was thinking a little older....more settled. As she was swooning over the kittens, I notice this little gray and white cat in the corner. Very timid and shy. I asked the shelter employee "What's his story?" She told me he had been overlooked for several months. She added he's so timid, the other cats would attack him and he would not reciprocate, causing severe injury. His wounds had healed & he still managed to purr. My daughter and I immediately felt "He needs us". We each held him and said "He's the one". We named him Buddy. Not long after we had brought him home , a few weeks in fact, our daughter got in a serious car accident. I put 2 pictures of Buddy in her hospital room. Buddy was her inspiration to get better and come home. It worked....no matter how hard the recovery was, my daughters main focus was to get home to Buddy. So in short.....we rescued Buddy, but he rescued us too. Our lives are so much richer with our little guy. My husband and the poodles love him too.

Robin Gooding
Lexington, MI

Our Sheba

We chose her when she was a week old. Someone posted their accidental litter of puppies online when we were looking around for a puppy. We fell in love with the runt of the litter (Australian Shepherd/Pit Bull mixes), a little girl we decided to call Sheba. We visited her every week, amazed at how fast she was growing (though slower than her littermates) and eagerly awaiting the day we could take her home.

Due to a complicated situation, we were forced to take our Sheba home at 6 weeks instead of 8, as planned. She was adorable, lovable, and adventurous but there was something a little different about her... it seemed as though her eyes weren't fully opened. On her first vet visit (which we were not present for), the doctor said her eyes just weren't open all the way yet. We expected that her eyes would open up quickly... after a week, we realized that might not be the case. Her eyes still seemed to be "closed" so I decided I should take her to my vet. It took the doctor a minute of examining her eyes to know what was wrong. She has a disease called Microphthalmia with Coloboma which basically means she has "shrunken eyes". My vet told me she had very little vision and eventually she would be completely blind.

We were heartbroken... how could our sweet puppy be blind? It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow but keeping her was a no brainer.

Since Sheba has joined our family, we couldn’t be happier. Our friends love her, our family loves her, our cats tolerate her, and we adore her to pieces. She the happiest dog you’ll ever meet and if you couldn’t see her eye abnormality, you would never know she’s blind. She gets around perfectly, loves to meet new people and get out of the house, and she’s learned to play fetch. She’s 6 months old, completely blind now, and I couldn’t ask for a better behaved, more loving puppy. I wouldn’t trade her for the world.

Logan and Brady
Pittsburg, KS

It was love at first sight

My mom came in one morning wit the smallest little guy I had ever seen. he was found alone at a garbage dump by a friend of hers.we took him in and he was so small we had to bottle feed him that made the bond stronger. he would develop the most amazing personality and sense of humor. I swear he would pose for the camera the little ham. he had to sleep by our heads at night on his own pillow. with his help I got to see just how much a cat can love a person. , he loved to fetch bottle caps. as long as you would throw them. he was always there to lend an ear and comfort you on the bad days. did I mention he was amazing. so he came to me Christmas eve and showed me his mouth was hurting him. it was an abcess on his tooth, it being Christmas and all no vets anywhere. he quit eating and drinking from the pain in his mouth. we sat with him giving pedialite and little bits of soft food but by the time a vet was available (jan 3rd) he was dehydrated and in organ failure and we had to put him down. I sat with him in tears rubbing his little head telling him how we loved him and how he changed our life and how amazing he was until he went to sleep. I have never had the loss of a pet hurt me this deep before. this brings me to my point. the need for emergency vet care that a normal person can manage to pay for is so serious. his life could have been saved if we could have got him to a vet. please spread the message that emergency vet care is a very important thing and needs to be available to all people not just the ones with large bank accounts. and close by in small towns as well. syko tiggy you will live in my heart for all time my friend. I love you little man.

steve &roxee
darlington, SC


I adopted ( Rio ) now Eccho, from Protected preloved border collies after getting to know another deaf dog Summer and helping her owner with training her with hand signals,

I asked to adopt a deaf dog, and was told about Eccho who was actually deaf and partially sighted, this is due to his breeding his parents were both Merle collies and this is the result of double Merle breeding,

I thought long and hard about this and decided I would give him a months trial to see how we got along,

After one day I was smitten with him, hes adorable,

After a week, there was no way he was going back, we are inseparable,

We trained using hand signals and he learned lots of tricks, from the simple things like sit, paw, lie down, up to more complicated things like wipe your paws, leg weaves, take a bow, and also fun things like say your prayers, peek a boo, put your toys away, stick em up ( as in the picture ) and more,

But he then started to bump into things, so a trip to the vets and we discovered his sight in his good eye was deteriorating, we didn't give up our training we started touch training and hes soon picked this up, in one weekend he learned sit, both paws, and lie down,

His best friend is my sons dog Betsy another rescue dog who he sees every day as we own a doggy daycare,

He's had lots of issues but we have overcome them together,

he comes to work with me every day does trick training twice a week and also goes to a doggy swim centre weekly.

So hes a tribute to all disabled dogs, they can live a full life if you just give them a chance.

Eccho has his own facebook page and lots of followers, hes not even one year old yet and has had a lot to contend with, but hes now in a forever home and will stay with us forever no matter what.

OLDHAM, United Kingdom

My Life and My Heart and Two Boys

On 12/21/12 I lost Seiyuuki, my half-Maine Coon, half-Siamese boy who was my heart, life and soul. I was devastated. I still had his rescue sister Misaki and we tried to make the best of life without him, but she had been with him since she was six weeks old and they had been with me for five years. We were both a little lost. I decided for my 60th birthday to get us a couple of male kittens to keep her company and to be company to each other. I contacted Karen, the rescue person I had gotten Seiyuuki and Misaki from and she had a litter of Siamese kittens that needed homes and she saved me the two brothers. When I got there she asked me if I would consider another little boy that needed a home. He had had a VERY rough start in life, being brought to the rescue almost dead at three weeks of age. She had nursed him back to health. He was a beautiful, long-haired flame-point boy, but with a problem that would require a special home.

Koko was deaf. It ended up that he isn't totally deaf, but profoundly deaf and needed to be in a home without kids or dogs and Karen had been hoping that I would take him. I didn't know anything about taking care of a deaf cat, but he doesn't need much special care. So, I took home one of the boys I had planned on, the little blue-point, who's name is Mouse, and the little deaf guy I named Koko. Misaki wasn't too sure about them, but tolerated them. They are all adults now. Both boys like to sleep on my feet at night. Mouse is a total character. Koko is laid back.

I still miss my life and my heart, Seiyuuki. Sometimes there is that ONE special cat, but I have three WONDERFUL cats in my life now, including one rather deaf boy. I am glad I took the chance with a special needs boy. He is a total love.

Noella Wyatt
Ellensburg, WA

My Rescuers

3.5 years ago my Boyfriend (now Husband) and I moved into our first home. We were young, broke, and I was fresh out of college with loan debt coming out of my ears.

We were going through a rough time but nonetheless were interested in adopting a Dog. We came across a listing for a Boxer/Pit 8 wk old puppy out of Tinley Park, nearly 70 miles from us. His sweet face and expressive hazel eyes sold us.

We drove the 1.5 hrs just to see him. When we were brought into a room for introductions we thought we would connect right away. This wasn`t the case...Bentley did not want to play and only slept.

Then we heard his story...At 6 wks he was found abandoned under a car with his brothers/sisters. Rescued, separated from the liter, and taken to a Foster home immediately. Our hearts broke for him...and we just knew we couldn't abandon him too. So we filled out an application & surprisingly were approved!

1 yr later....I came across a Facebook post for a local shelter in need of a foster. I took one look at this sweet face and her story and was on the phone w/in mins! Kaya, a 7 wk old Pit mix, was thrown from a car and rescued from the side of the road. She wandered the streets for weeks starving & limping...

To my surprise, we were approved right away to foster her! Uncertain what we were getting into this time... A stubby legged, round worm belly, tiny limping girl. But with a tail that never stopped wagging! After many vet visits, medications, and TLC she began to heal. Her broken bones healed overlapped, therefore one leg shorter than the others.

The time came for adoption day...On the fence, we took her back to the Shelter to see what adopters would come. We lasted only a few minutes of being a part before we realized we needed her as much as she needed us. We filled out an application, and with that, our little family grew once more.

McHenry, IL


Dumped in a carpark at 9weeks old, this special tiny Daschie x Jacky puppy was rescued by an animal shelter but not put up for adoption due to her serious problems she had with her lower back and hind legs. When my husband visited the shelter and saw her, he knew she was the one regardless of all her problems. We adopted her the next day and took her to Vetinary Specialists the following day for a full diagnosis. The news was not good. The MRI and myriad of other tests showed Hydrocephalis, Hydromyelia, Hydrosyringo along with Spinal Bifida, full incontinence and serious co-ordination problems with her hind legs. We were in tears. The Specialists warned she will have a short little life. We knew even more than ever that we wanted to give her as much love and care and make her the happiest puppy. Penny has been with us for 3 months and we love her and so do our other furry feline children. Our feline children never grew up or experienced a dog in their lives yet somehow they knew Penny was extra special and they really loved her instantly. She wears a nappy, steals all the socks she can find, chases the cats (albeit at wobble speed and seriously uncoordinated!), learnt how to negotiate up stairs, attacks slippers and buries her treat bones in the garden. The happiest, most loving little girl has brought so much joy and love to our family. When this little angel goes she will take with her a piece of all our hearts.

Pretoria, South Africa
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