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Rudy Rutabaga: The once rescued, now rescuing dog!

I recently lost my lab to cancer, and swore I wouldn't replace him since I have two other dogs at home. That resolve lasted 7 weeks. One day, I decided that it was time to visit the shelter. I immediately asked which dogs had the most heartbreaking stories. I was led to a black collie, lab, Heinz 57 variety jumping in his kennel. Rudy had lived his entire three years on a chain, with no attention, no shelter and very little food and water. He had been rescued after neighbors saw him freezing outside in a blizzard. When rescued, he had been prancing around to keep his feet from freezing on the cold December ground. He was a live wire, but I knew he had lots of potential. It took us three months to housetrain him, but he now is so good that I can take him outside without a leash. He stays right with me. Rudy decided from the first day that he was captivated by my husband, so he is attached like Velcro whenever they are together. He lives for rides in the truck. My husband will sometimes have to drive him around the block because Rudy will cry until he gets a ride. He loves all other dogs and makes friends with everyone. My female lab is another favorite. She is old, but still tolerates his puppy-like behavior as he loves on her. Recently, my daughter found a little kitten in a cornfield. We fostered her until we could find a home. On the second day we had her, I found her curled up with Rudy. He has such a gentle soul and is my baby forever. He answers to Rutabaga, Rudinacious and Rudy Patootie, but most of all, he just answers to love.

Stephanie
Gerlaw, IL

There's a cat in the house...

Twelve years ago, my husband David and I were cleaning our new house. Every door was open. I had just sat on the couch when a gray head popped around the corner and looked up at me. This sleek, gray and white tuxedo cat strolled across the room like he was at home. David was in another room. I kept repeating, "There's a cat in the house." The cat roamed around, checking every closet and yet-to-be-unpacked box. He started talking to David, and they seemed to carry on a conversation. David would ask him a question, and he'd meow in response. He stayed for a while, then calmly strolled out.

Even though KC belonged to a neighbor, he became part of our family. We started leaving the patio door open for him so he could get out of the rain. Before long, KC learned to identify the truck. KC could then be waiting at the front door to be let in when David made it through the house after parking in the garage. KC eventually taught us to open the door whenever he wanted, by rattling the screen on a front window. The most precious thing was hearing David and KC talk to one another after I'd gone to bed.

When we moved, we were heartbroken about KC. We went to tell his owners that we were leaving so that they could start looking out for him again. They said the magic words, "Do you want him?".

He's still my husband's cat. KC runs to the door when he hears the garage door go up (no more living outside for him). He follows David around everywhere. And they still talk. All the time.

Having never grown up with cats, I'm so glad that now, there's a cat in the house.

Anonymous
Valrico, FL

I have the unlikeliest foster failure ever

In March 2012, the Humane Society in Waco issued an urgent SOS. 24 cats had been surrendered, most of the kittens, and they needed out of the shelter ASAP. I volunteered to take three foster kittens, littermates who were 4 weeks old. Trekkie, the lone boy of the bunch, nearly died the first weekend I had them and since I kept him alive, he chose me, bringing my total of cats to three. But that was my limit. No more! Yeah, right….

One of the girls got adopted pretty quickly, but the other one, a spunky little thing I had named Laila, wasn’t so lucky. She hated the stress of adoption events, and having come from a hoarding situation, had some health issues that scared people off. Unfortunately, I was moving at the end of the summer and couldn’t take her with me (Three! That’s my limit!) so back to the rescue she went.

Laila was miserable. The feisty, playful, snuggly little girl I had known was replaced by a confused, scared, angry little demon. I felt so guilty because with me and my boys, she was so happy, but three! Three was my limit! My resolve continued to weaken, and by the first weekend in October, I knew I had to have her, so I made the 350 mile trip back to Waco and picked up my girl. She had ringworm, and an upper respiratory infection, but she was home.

Sometimes you choose cats, and sometimes cats choose you. Laila chose me. That connection was so strong that 350 miles and a state line couldn’t keep her from becoming a foster failure. Her health problems still linger, but she is happy, feisty, and as snuggly as ever.

Stephanie Wheatley
Stillwater, OK

Hard Times = Best Friends

Teddy Bear (orange kitty) and Patch (dark kitty) came to us at different times but have become the best of friends.

My husband Rick worked for a delivery company and while making a stop this scraggly orange kitten came looking for food and love. The homeowners didn't want him around and were planning on putting poison down to get rid of him. Being an animal lover and a soft touch Rick brought him home. I was working night shift at the time so I woke up to this sweet little face looking at me and hubby asking me to take care of him because it looked like something had happened to his tail. After making him comfortable I called the vet, luckily she got is in later that day. He weighed 1.5 pounds and was close to 3 months old. His tail was all there, just curled up, it had stopped growing from lack of nutrition.

About a year later my husband's uncle passed away, leaving behind two sweet fur-babies. We decided to take them in, hoping to find them a loving home but that didn't go as planned. Patch was very afraid of strangers and when Rick tried to pick him up he sank his teeth into his thumb! An ER visit and tetanus shot later, we had to quarantine Patch for 30 days. He and his brother Hewie lived in our spare room for those 30 days and though we spent hours with them, Patch just never became comfortable to our touch. He was so dependent on Hewie's presence we knew finding a home for both of them was pretty slim so we did the only thing we could, added two new members to our fur-family.

Today, T-Bear is a robust and healthy 9 pound purring machine, the longer you pet him the louder he gets! And Patch, while he still won't let you pick him up, loves to have his back and belly rubbed and if your hands are busy he'll be just as happy rubbing up against your foot.

C THOMAS
PUNXSUTAWNEY, PA

THE SPICE OF OUR LIVES

My mother moved into her own apartment and took her cat with her. We were missing a spot in our family. Even our dog seemed a bit down. In January of this year we took a trip, to the local shelter. We found this little kitty who just wanted love. She is a survivor. We were told she had only recently come in from the Veterinary Hospital where she was being treated for being hit by a car. She was hit as a feral cat at 18 months old (approx.) and brought in with little chance of survival. As a result she has a deformed and blind right eye and her face is just a little squished. Her depth perception is not very good but she doesn't let that stop her. She is into everything she can get into. The little skinny, sick kitty is now very well loved and cared for. She loves to be cuddled and scratched and petted. She has had enough of the outside. She was feral once but has no want to go outside. We are now a family of 6. Four humans and 2 furr-babies. Even our senior dog (our "puppy") likes having her around. She is the first one up in the morning and wakes us up with purrs and kisses. She does not know that she has any disability and she has filled that spot as our little Spice Girl.

ANNA DUBOIS
LOCUST GROVE, VA

Skye our Coke Machine Kitty

I had a cat already and really wasn't looking into a 2nd cat. That was until we were at a party at a park and heard a timid meow. There were several people around and all of my friends and I were cat lovers. We realized the sound was coming from the back of a Coke a Cola Machine and it was a little kitten. She wasn't skiddish or anything and it was 80 degrees outside. She wouldn't come out due to all of the people so we sent our skinest friend to shimmy behind this tiny space to coax her out. Long story short my friends couldn't take her and I wasn't taking her to a shelter. So she became ours my oldest kitty became a big sister she wasn't happy about it for a few days but she grew into her role and now skye is a big sister too as we have a 3rd cat.

We will never forget rescuing Skye from the back of a Coke machine though.

LaKedria
Temperance, MI

Who Rescued Who

My little (now big) guy was shedding which dismayed his original owner so he was on his way to the shelter. I had a cat years ago but wasn't sure my life was cat friendly. But I told her that if I can't keep him, no harm done. I can take him to the shelter. He was about 4 inches tall yet commanding just the same. Within an hour of his arrival, I lost him somehow. Then he returned the same day later, he was sopping wet but purring and friendly. He plays tricks on me so I call him Houdini. In the 3 years I have had him, I found out certainly, my life is cat friendly, and I am so happy to have him. He is a great friend and has inspired me to learn more about cats in general and taking good care of them. Usually he stays inside but he enjoys a nice treat of going out in the sunshine with me and nibbling on grass.

Judith Alexandra
Lancaste, PA

Magic Maggie

I had just moved into an apartment by myself and feeling lonely when I was home. I went to the Humane Society and asked specifically for a cat that no one seemed to want, that they had trouble adopting out. The attendants looked at each other with apprehension in their faces, but when I explained that I had a one bedroom apartment with no other children or animals the expression faded. They suggested the seven year old Maggie. I asked to meet her, unfortunately, they told me she was in the infirmary for an infection. I didn't care one bit, and scheduled a meeting with her when she would be back. The next week I was promptly at the reception and the kennel was opened to the most beautiful black furred, golden-eyed beauty you see. I was sure Maggie was scared but when I reached in to pet her for the first time it was nothing but head-bumps and face-rubs. I knew I was taking her home at that moment. After I got her home, naturally she went straight under the bed. I made an effort to calmly reassure her she was home. As I spoke to her one night, she leaped onto my bed and gently rooted under the covers. She curled up on my stomach, and that is when I knew she had accepted me. It was the best feeling in the world.

Finding out her personality quirks has been an adventure, I didn't know that cat's can drool when they get too excited, that she hates wet food of any kind, and will steal wheat thins out of the box when she thinks you aren't looking. When I get home Maggie greets me at the door and we are inseparable until I leave in the morning, or when house guests are present. I still can't believe she is a part of my life and am so grateful for her existence.

Christy
Savannah, GA

Fair Kitten.

I lost my dear cat Phoenix in the beginning of 2010 of old age. I didn't think I would ever get over her or get another cat, but in September of that same year my hometown held an annual fair. I decided to walk around for a while, until I saw that our local animal shelter had a tent up to help with adoptions; just on a whim, and out of curiosity I went to have a look. I'd always been a cat person, so I went over to the crate they had set up for the cats, and inside were about seven kittens. Many couples were playing with a rambunctious black and white kitten, and it was very cute, but I paid it little mind. My eyes were already fixated on another kitten. A very small in frame gray and white kitten who looked very sick. She was just lying on the ground like she didn't have any energy to get up. Her ears were way too big for her head, and she had an infected eye, but I just had to have her. I immediately went to ask my parents if I could adopt her as a late birthday present, and to my surprise they said yes. I ran back to the tent, put my name on the list for her and the next day I went to pick her up (no one else had put their name on her list). As soon as she was taken out of her cage, she was rubbing all over my face, and purring. I took her to the vet, got her all taken care of with treatment, and took her home. She has been my best friend, my baby girl, ever since. She follows me around everywhere, I wouldn't have it any other way. I love her to death, and I know I was the one who was supposed to save her. She is now four years old, and so healthy!

Jessica Gibson
Norfolk, VA

Now Family

In June of 2013 my husband and I discovered a petite black and very pregnant cat who took up residence in our backyard. Me being the cat lover I am began to care for her giving her good and water as the summer was so hot. She hung around our backyard until around the beginning of August we noticed she was missing for about a week when we saw her again she was no longer pregnant. We saw no sign of kittens anywhere until about 2 weeks later my husband was at the very back part of our property and found 2 tiny kittens underneath some boards he had stored. As time went by we left her to care for her kittens and we took care of her. I could not get really close to her as it was apparent she was quite feral. Within a few months the mommy and kittens began to venture out but shied away from any approach. It was such a joy to watch the kittens grow and play. Once the months began to become cold we made them a makeshift home from a large dog kennel and blankets within our shed only for them to be run out after time by toms. The kittens took up residence under our deck to escape the cold, snow and bitterness of winter. Growing very concerned due to the arctic temperatures we had I decided to capture them and bring them into our home which was quite a feat in itself but did manage. We kept them confined to one room as I have other indoor cats until we could get them medical treatment and fixed. The mommy had mammary tumors which we had removed before she was fixed. To date they are all safe, healthy and living in our home with the other cats and enjoying life. The mommy now lets me carefully pet her and sometimes pick her up. She still nudges her kittens and sometimes plays with them. They as our other cats will continue to be indoor cats.

Diane Maddy
Springfield, OH
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