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Shelby's Story

Shelby and I were together for all but the first 6 weeks of her life. She was found in a puppy mill, sick and about to be put to sleep when I stole her away. I rescued Shelby that day but for the next 14 years Shelby rescued me. After an accident I was forced to stay in bed for a year and Shelby never left me for a moment. She refused to go play outside or to even eat anywhere but on my bed.

During that time Shelby saved my life. Pain and depression can sometimes make a person think the unthinkable. If not for Shelby I would not be here today. Shelby was 6 pounds of pure courage, intelligence and love.

Shelby fought for 2 years to stay with me. My Vet told me to put her to sleep after 2 serious illnesses. I looked Shelby in the eyes and knew she wasn't ready. Shelby fought back death and returned to her happy playful self.

Then Shelby got kidney failure and still she fought to stay with me. The very last thing I would ever do was make Shelby suffer, so when her small body began to succumb to the kidney failure we both knew the end was near.

One morning Shelby crawled into my arms and said "Mommy I'm sorry but I have to leave now". 15 minutes later, my Vet was at my home. I held Shelby in my arms and spoke to her, feeling her heartbeat against my chest as she was given the injection. The Vet stood up and said "She's gone". But she wasn't, I could still feel her tiny heartbeat. The Vet said "that's impossible" and then he felt it too, Tears started to stream down his face as he gave her a second injection. He said "in 25 years I've never had to give an animal more than one injection. Even in death Shelby is trying to stay with you.

Shelby will be in my heart forever. She was more than just a dog, she was the Rainbow in my life.

Debbie Slansky
Wappingers Falls, NY

Miss Fur-Ball

I've shared prior stories about the most loved kitty in the world, Poncho, who I lost after ten years to a stroke; about Maggie, my poor little sick black kitty, who I only had for seven months before she passed away from a bowel tumor, and now my new furry fluff-ball, Heidi. I was so lonely without a kitty in the house I had to adopt another one to love and pamper. Enter this adorable nine year old, fluffy-puffy-furry white kitty who had been given up by someone who was definitely and elderly person, either confined to a wheel chair, bed, or going into a nursing home. Heidi had been very well taken care of. She needs tons of attention and play from anyone who will cater to that need because she's obviously used to it from her prior owner. I chose "Heidi" as her name because her fur was as white as the snow on the Alps, so I felt a Swiss name was in order. She is definitely her own cat......not one to do anything other than what she wants to do. If you want something, well, you'll either keep on wanting it, or you'll just have to wait until she's ready. If SHE wants something, she'll meow until she gets it! She sleeps with me at night, but is not a "snuggler" like my other two were, but is totally a "lap cat" who just wants to be on your lap all the time. (Try using the washroom......hah!) That's okay. I just love her to pieces anyway. We go sit on the porch together since I've trained her to be on a leash so she won't run away. It's still warm out where we can enjoy the scenery together. She's very curious about all things, and yet not afraid of them. The vet has given her a clean bill of health, so I can only love her as long as God allows it. She's my sweet, soft Heidi, and all I want is to make her happy!


A Dog Fitting of Her Name

My husband and I have two daughters, but our family really started when our first girl came to us: our dog Hachi. We had been searching for a dog to adopt, and finally at a rescue event at a local pet store, we came across a black Chow mix. She had a warm smile that accentuated her blue/black tongue. Competition at this rescue event was fierce, so we quickly decided to adopt the dog, who was estimated to be two to four years old. All that we knew about her was that she came from a rural shelter where she had given birth to puppies.

In the first few months, at times I asked why God had sent me this dog, whom we named Hachi after the faithful Japanese dog featured in the movie of the same name. Hachi was rambunctious and didn’t seem attached to us.

But it didn’t take long for Hachi to exhibit the salient trait of the chow breed: loyalty. She is completely devoted to my husband, our two girls, and me, and we are to her. Each time we brought a daughter home from the hospital, Hachi licked her immediately. Hachi is our protector and our love. We are a family of five, and I am so happy God knew best in sending us Hachi.

Rockville, MD

Andrea Cornelius, NC

Andrea, Gypsy was so blessed to have found you and you her. She knew that you loved her until the end, please find comfort in that. She is looking down on you with such love and gratitude as only these precious creatures can do. She would not want you to feel guilt, but to remember her with fond memories of the time you had together. Their time with us is so short, but the impressions they leave on our hearts is lasting.

St. Petersburg, FL

Andrea, Cornelius, NC


Maybe because you did get distracted it was meant that Sweet Gypsy was to go quietly alone.

You did much more that most would have. Gypsy knows this and will always love you.

Forgive yourself.

A Friend

Joan Anderson
Burbank, CA

Piper's rescue

I rescued Miss Piper, at 10-months old, from Helping Hounds Dog Rescue on October 1, 2014. They rescued her from a high-kill shelter in Texas when she was only a few months old. She is a Cattle Dog and Jack Russell Terrier mix. No one wanted to adopt her, because she was so shy and timid. I knew I could work with her and bring her out of her shell. Piper loves her kitties, which is a blessing, because I rescue cats and have a number of them in my home. She is a wonderful dog. Very smart and loving and also very patient. I say she has an old soul in a young dog's body. I'm so glad she didn't have to be killed, and we were able to find each other

Cheri Doolittle
Albany, NY

The Sweet and Too Short Life of Gypsy the Tuxedo Cat

An angel left me in September 2015. She came into my life in November 2013 after praying an animal be put in my path that I could help. Driving home late at night, I saw her… an abandoned tuxedo cat. After failing to find her owners, we tried re-homing her. When she went into heart failure and survived, she became our Gypsy.

Quirks galore, Gypsy won the hearts of those who loved cats – and those who didn’t.

Gypsy experienced many difficult times with a prognosis of five months. Always constant, always sweet, she easily tolerated multiple doses of medication multiple times a day. She lived for nearly two years.

Although very sick, Gypsy didn’t show it. Her medications increased. Her little body couldn’t keep up forever. Her kidneys weakened as a blood clot formed in her heart. Still. She showed no signs of sickness.

After several busy weeks with work, houseguests, and a vacation, we were looking forward to spending quality time with our girl.

That chance wouldn’t come.

After running errands, we settled in to watch TV. Little did I know my baby’s heart was failing nearby. I could’ve helped her.

My gut said to check on Gypsy. I started but got distracted. It would be my fatal error. An hour later I did check on her.

Too late. I cradled her. That’s how she was supposed to go. In my arms.

Learning about hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, I knew her life wouldn’t be long. But I foolishly felt prepared. I foolishly thought I could control the seasoned hands of death.

Yet death came on its own terms. After spending boundless energy and thousands of dollars to keep her alive, in just two hours I failed her. Now I feel crushing guilt with the profound grief of losing a pet.

Cornelius, NC

"Driving Miss Lillie.....Home"

“Driving Miss Lillie…..Home”

My beloved dogs, 3 shih-tzus, passed away years ago, having lived long and amazing lives. I thought of replacing them but never acted because they were “very had acts to follow.”

That changed last October when my husband and I were in Minnesota. Our friends, who breed Irish Red & White setters, shared they had a dog for “us.”

The dog had been bred by them in 2011 and placed in a rural home in the Midwest. She ended up at a kill shelter and was just brought back from a no kill rescue shelter in Colorado. She was supposed to be a “hunting” dog and was given up because she didn’t hunt.

When we met “Lillie,” she was acting wild and totally out of control. We understood she had been through a lot of stress, with no idea of where she was or what was going to happen to her. We decided to adopt her.

We put “Lillie” in the back seat of our car for the drive to Chicago. She was panicked. It took a few minutes to figure out that sitting alone and behind us, was not going to work for the eight hour ride.

So I joined her in the back seat and started petting her, trying to calm her fears and lessen her panting. It took hours to get her settled and I continued to sooth her as my husband drove us home.

By the time we got to our house, I knew I had found a new pal with big brown eyes, a beautiful red and white coat, and a very big nose sprinkled with adorable red freckles.

Miss “Lillie” was finally home.

Maryellen Klang, Author

Maryellen Klang
Winfield, IL

Finding Hope and Joy

I was going through a very bad depression when I decided I needed a cat. I hadn't been out of the house literally in months. I got dressed and drove to the Humane Society. On the way I prayed to God that he was in charge of picking out the cat. I was to get a a sign of the cat reaching out and grabbing me.

I toured the shelter (a no kill one). There was a fluffy Maine Coon at the start that had drawn my attention. She was the middle in a six-pack cage set. She talked to me. Very loudly and insistently. SO, I pulled her out. As I was doing this a delicate paw reached out and grabbed my shirt. A Shoe-shoe Siamese with a permanent white smirk had grabbed me.

I tried to put the Maine Coon back in her cage and she grabbed me and hissed at the thought of returning to that cage! She told me in no uncertain terms how mad she was at being put back in there.

I had done all this without my husbands knowledge. And the Maine Coon was on a hold for 12 more days. I left and told God that it was in his hands. If I was to get either cat, they must be there when I returned.

I did return with my husband 12 days later. Both girls were there. Waiting. We decided to get both cats. It turns out that the Snow-Shoe Siamese had been a the shelter for 8 months. I named the Maine Coon Hope. Because hope should be soft and fluffy and sweet. The Siamese, I named Joy. She was so happy to be out of that place.

It took quite a while for her to let her guards down. Joy, now, doesn't like it when I'm out of her sight. She and Hope even tuck me into bed.

And that is how a very depressed person found Hope and Joy in an animal shelter.

Mary Wilson
Augusta, KS

Puppy Picture Perfect

Puppy Picture Perfect,

Annie was found by a rescue group abandoned on a 100 degree summer day in a closed box with the rest of her litter. Severely dehydrated they were found in the nick of time. I have fostered and rescued dogs all my life but I never ever had the blessing of a puppy of my own because I always take the misfits and unadoptable dogs (as if there really is such a thing) no one else wanted. The last thing we needed was another dog, but when I saw her eyes I couldn’t leave without her. I put her on my husband’s lap and she looked up at him with those big brown mischievous eyes and he was hooked too. We thought she was a mix was dachshund and miniature pincher because of her markings but she kept growing well beyond what she should have for that mix. When she finally quit growing she was almost 40lbs and nothing but muscle. After some research, I found out she was a standard dachshund and Rottweiler mix. She has a long body, short stubby legs, big paws, a big head and tiny dachshund chin that created the biggest overbite I have ever seen. We call her our “too big, too small, too long, too short dog”. She barks “loud” like a Rottweiler, sleeps on her back dead cockroach style with her eyes partially open, and snores like a drunken Saint Bernard. She is quirky and hilariously fun and she makes us smile every time we look at her. All that and a huge love bug to boot. She is definitely a Papa’s girl but she loves Mama too. I am glad she was my first puppy. We got so lucky when we found her. It’s like winning a lottery and the jack pot is smiling for the rest of her life…

Stella Williams
tacoma, WA
St Francis Pet Tag
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