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Normally you pick a dog from the shelter, but without a doubt I can tell you that Moonie picked my family or more so she picked me. My neighbor’s foster dogs and something made me go with them to pick up a foster from the vet. Moonpie was different from the rest of their fosters, I couldn’t tell you why at the time but I knew she was ment to be in my family, and she knew it too. From the second she laid eyes on me she refused to leave my side. Shortly after we adopted her we learned she was heart worm positive and started her treatment. At that same time my mom was starting chemo so they went through that together. Earlier that year I was diagnosed with lupus and moonpie refused(still does) to let too close to me when it flared so maybe she sensed and claimed me as hers or maybe she just knew how much we needed her before we did or maybe it’s a little bit of both. All I can say is that i'm beyond grateful that moonpie came into my life.

wheaton, IL

Smiley Wiley

I went to the local shelter a lot. Not to adopt but to give attention to the critters there. For some reason my husband went with me (he doesn't usually like to he's afraid I will want them all) and he was looking through the books they had on smaller dogs we are both suckers for chihuahuas. Then he asked if they had any small dogs in the shelter to see. The lady that helped us said they had one but he had a broken leg and another person had put their name on him when he was adoptable. Surprisingly my husband said to put our name on him just in case. We went about our business and didn't think more of it we assumed the other person took him. I got a call at work from the shelter saying the other person couldn't take him so I called my husband and said if he still wanted the pup to go pick him up. We met at the shelter after work and went to see him. He was a tiny little thing and had worry wrinkles on his face, we went ahead and adopted him. My husband took him home. When I got home my daughter was there with my husband and the pup I guess my husband called her from the driveway saying he needed a hand with something, the something was the pup on the way home he had climbed between the drivers seat and the door jam all my daughter saw was a little tan butt showing. She decided we should call him Wiley because he looked like a coyote pup. He is my little shadow between 6 and 7 pounds. We call him smiley Wiley because his lip gets stuck on his teeth and he looks like he's smiling. He talks at us in the morning when my husband goes to work because he needs to be picked up and give a kiss to him before he leaves. He is one of three dogs we have and is the sunshine of my life.

Wendy B
Overton, NV

two different puppies,one man who needed them.

I stumbled across a shelter in Carlsbad Ca as my hubby had been wanting a bigger dog to help with his PTSD from deployments so I went just to look. There she was,this beautiful 4 month old german shep/aussie mix looking at me with those honey brown eyes. she was playful but not too extreme like some puppies can be. I went and inquired about her available day and how many people were on her list. I was the first on her list and she was available the next day. I went home and informed my husband of what I have done and that he had an appointment to go meet her and see if there was a bond. He went with the thoughts of just making me happy and not coming home with a new addition. He showed up and surprised me for lunch the next day with the puppy happily sitting in the passenger seat. We named her Dixie. She helps my husband in his darkest hours and knows when he is having or about to have an episode and she can snap him out of it instantly. Minka, I think is a split faced chi/terrier mix with crystal blue eyes,was seen on Craigslist and was in wrong hands as they were trying to sell and abandon her, she was extensively skinny and timid(still is) and was to be a two night foster for the rescue i volunteer with. She curled into my husband's neck and he was in love and that was it. Out of all the dogs in the house she could have paired with she chose the biggest one and they are inseparable.They have a bond like no other and it melts my heart that they both react to my husband's PTSD. They know just what he needs. Ironically, they both have their nights of dreams and he is the only one who can wake them put of it.. It was nothing short of being meant to be for all three of them. They find their way into our hearts and lives when needed.

mindy carr-pittsley
el cajon, CA

Muppet, She's OK!

On a cold February day, I drove down the street in a disadvantaged community when I saw a dog walking unaccompanied and collarless. This dog had a goofy look, as one of her ears pointed up and the other down. Seeing this, I pulled over and jumped out of my car to figure out who or where she belonged. Crazily, I approached this strange dog without a bit of trepidation. As we came closer to each other I realized how thin she was and how large tufts of fur were missing from her coat. Suddenly, a women yelled out of her window, telling me that this creature, Muppet, was a "neighborhood dog" and that she had a wonderful master, who was elderly, taken sick and taken away in an ambulance. Then she said "Don't worry, Muppet is OK". My heart sank, realizing that Muppet had no where to go, was hungry, thirsty and cold. I desperately wanted to take her home, but already had 4 unsocialized cats living in my house. So day after day I tried to place Muppet in a shelter, but no one wanted an unhealthy dog. I'd go down her street each day and fed Muppet while trying to find a solution to this excruciating problem. Finally, a blizzard was predicted for the next day and I took Muppet home until an answer was found, hoping for the best.

Well, 4 years later that sweet and loyal doggy is still living in our home. She is spoiled and adored by her sibling cats and anyone else who meets her. I shudder to think of what would have occurred had I not driven down her street on that February day. She has been transformed from a homeless dog into a diva and finally, Muppet's OK!

Merryl Handel
Woodmere, NY

Izzy, the cat that saved me

Nothing compares to an animal's love; they are truly pure at heart, and no human deserves the complete devotion they give us. I tried my best for Isabel, and still have regrets, but I hope her life was happier because I was in it.

When Izzy was diagnosed with cancer (of her salivary gland) the prognosis was grim. This type of cancer was difficult to remove, and even if successful, would greatly decrease her quality of life. I knew I had to end her suffering. On that final car ride to the vet, Izzy held my hand. It was as if she knew, and was trying to comfort me. Even in pain, my girl wanted me to be okay.

Here are some of my favorite things about Izzy:

• She could say "hello," and scared some folks a few times in doing so.

• She loved belly rubs, and would let you give them all day, if you were willing.

• Her favorite toys were red mousies, and she'd fling one like a football into the air so she could catch it.

• She sounded like an alien calling the mother ship when having a hairball.

• She had a ton of nicknames, including: Izzy Belle, Izzard, Izzy Bug, and Isabelly.

• When we played and she would get really excited, she would expel air from her mouth, making a *pop* sound. I dubbed it the "Izzy-Pop."

• She was my best friend, no matter what life threw at us.

I struggle with her death to this day, a year and a half later, and miss her constantly. But Izzy taught me that, even though we're the ones to adopt them, animals truly are the ones who save us. I adopted another black cat soon after Izzy's passing, because I knew she would want another cat to have a happy life, and for her to further enrich mine.

Her name is Mia, and every now and then, she'll "Izzy-Pop."

Ann Childers
Bowling Green, KY


It was a cold, snowy March morning in Ohio, 2008. My husband had gone outside to start the car before driving our son to school. I had worked late the night before so was still in bed. I remember my husband coming in and telling me not to freak out if something crawls into bed with me. So I jumped up, of course who wouldn't freak out, and saw this tiny little kitten staring up at me. I reached down and picked it up and it was so skinny and frail, it made a soft meow as I touched it. I have always been a cat person but we had just moved into this apartment complex with no pets allowed, and my male cat of 10 years had recently past away. My husband proceeded to tell me as he went outside the kitten was shivering at the outside door, and when he had opened it, the kitten ran in the building. He said he went and started the car and when he returned the kitten was sitting outside our apt. door. There were 11 other units in that building, but she somehow chose our door. He tried to push her away but as soon as he opened the door she ran in and straight back to my room. While he was telling me this story, this soft, little, frail baby had curled itself up into a ball on my lap and began purring, and kneading my arm. We called the local shelter and it was full, and I was not sure I wanted her because she was female. I have always had male cats because I was told females are loners and do not like to cuddle. We took her to the vet and she was approximately 2 months old and only weighed 1# 6 oz., we also found out her tail was broken, most likely from someone swinging her around. Needless to say she stayed and has become the most loving cuddlier I have had. She is very healthy now and in a safe loving home!

Jennifer Brummett
Huron, OH

Sammy, an amazing newf

This is Sammy, I adopted Sammy when he was a year and a half, and he had lived a horrible life. At his old house he was chained in a 1 meter chain, he used to live on his own filth, they had him abandoned, sometimes without food or water. He had thick fever twice and nobody wanted to give him his treatment, an amazing girl had to go every day and take care of him, so he wouldn´t die, and also they tried to lose him twice. When I got him his weight was 50 pounds (when a newf should be 130-150 pounds). Since he got home, 3 years ago, he gain weight, knows what love is, and has been trained to be a therapy dog so we can retribute what life has given to us. He has been one of the most amazing gifts life has given to me. He has all the space he wants to run free, he doesn´t know what a chain is and has his regular vet visits. We are now 6 dogs and 2 cats, all of them adopted from different life situations.

San Jose, Costa Rica

Our little Pooky Bear

In 1997 my fiance's (now husband's) cat of 17 years died. We had spoken to a friend about the house feeling empty and about adopting another one. She beat us to the punch and adopted us a cat from the local shelter as a Christmas gift. He was 3 months old, all black with beautiful green eyes and was barely 1 pound. He was absolutely the sweetest, most loving cat and we fell in love instantly. We named him Gromit after the claymation character from the series "Wallace and Gromit". When our friend gave him to us she told us he had a "kitty cold" and the shelter had sent him home with antibiotics. We also had to feed him with an eye-dropper. After a few days it was clear this was far more than a cold. We took him to the vet who diagnosed Pneumonia. He said that if he survived he would likely have breathing issues the rest of his life. He suggested putting him down. This was simply not an option.

For the next month we nursed him back to health. It was hard fought but he made a full recovery. Two weeks later he developed ringworm! We couldn't believe it. Still, we loved him so we nursed him again.

He is now 17 and very healthy! He lies on one of us whenever we are home. He gives lots of kisses, greets people at the door, and talks all the time. He hates to be left alone and is quite the king of the hill. He has brought so much love and joy into our home. My husband and I do not have children - but he is our child!

Recently, we found out that he is actually a bred cat - a British Bombay. He has the all the physical characteristics of this breed and the personality traits as well. We have no idea what happened to him as a kitten or how he ended up so sick, tiny and alone in the shelter, but I am so glad my friend picked him for us.

Mary Hall
Lake Worth, FL

Unexpected Treasures

Both of these guys were on the loose at roadside rest areas, needing help and tugging at my heart. I found Boots dog in Wyoming in the summer of 2003 and Deuteronomy cat about 200 miles from home the next spring. Boots was wandering and nobody claimed him so I gave him water, invited him to jump into the car, and we headed for the nearest town to get him a leash and collar. At the motel that night he wanted out often, I guess looking for his former home, but the next day he was more calm. When we got home to the California coast I was sure he'd never seen the ocean before judging from his body language after he tried to drink salt water. He loves to run in the woods also. Deuteronomy was under a picnic table and we befriended each other. After I fed him he followed me to the motorhome and jumped in. He had quite a "whoa!" expression when he saw Boots, my mother, her dog, and my cat. I know he wanted to get out, but he was starving so we kept him there with us overnight and brought him home. I call him "The Flying Cat" because even though he became a normal weight he still can leap so effortlessly. The vet estimated their ages, Boots two and Deuteronomy six (he is slowing down due to age now). They are both wonderful; what unexpected treasures!

Fortuna, CA

Saved by Grace

About a month or so after some renters moved out of the house next door to us, a small tortie kitty started coming to our door. Of course my daughter and I fed her and gave her fresh water whenever she showed up. After a while she became very friendly and never missed a meal. After already having cats in the house, I was (as usual) reluctant to take in another. Our vet once told us that we had a Welcome sign in our yard that only cats could read!

As I was sitting on the step one day with her, I noticed her side really protruding. All I could think of was a liter of kittens. But as I examined her I noticed the protrusion was only on one side. My daughter and I grabbed her up and headed to the vet. It took 2 expensive surgeries and many months of care to get her healthy. Our vet surmised that she had been kicked and as a result developed internal injuries. We named her Gracie because it was by grace that she came to our door and was saved.

That was at least 8 years ago and now that my daughter has gotten married and moved out, Gracie is my little snuggler and cuddlebug at night. She even has her own pillow that she sleeps on beside me. She kisses me when I ask her to and sometimes will give me a kiss to wake me up.

She also loves it when I share my chicken or turkey with her. When I get out of my car with chicken, I can look at her in the window and mouth the words, "Mommy's got Chicken" and she runs to the door. I pray she continues sharing dinner with me and loving me with those kisses for a very long time.

Hollywood, FL
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