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My First Kitty

When Butch showed up at a friend's home he was not unlike any other stray kitten. Hungry, crying and frightened. The choice was to take him to the pound or take him in. I doubted my ability to be a good guardian as I am a dog man and have never owned a cat. I could not imagine taking him to the pound, so after feeding him a day or so, I relented and took him to the vet and then home. He had his space and I had mine. It took a while but he finally came out of hiding and one day I realized he was laying in my lap. We have had a special relationship ever since and he has trained me well.

For a time no one believed I even had him, as he is as elusive as ever, but those who visit a few days have the priviledge of seeing him and he even allows belly rubs. He is a great boy.

R. Hodges

Rodney Hodges
Thibodaux, LA

Alley Cats

I live in an apratment off of an alley and put out food every night for whatever hungry lost soul happens by. I have aquired four kitties by trying to help the lonely or sick little things that lingered by my door waiting to be rescued. I may have saved them, but in return they have saved me. They made me realize that my calling in life was to help animals, any animal that needs me. These four needed me, and now they are the most beautiful and healthy bunch around. Harley, Arai, Sprocket and Lola are now my family, and if I had room I would save many more. Now I dedicate my time to helping my local animal shelter, so that hopefully all of the strays will find a loving home like mine.

Jefferson City, MO

Madison and Me

I had been wanting a cat for a long time but suddenly I knew I needed one. I knew nothing about rescues, adoption, or even cats really. I had several cats when I was growing up. They all lived long happy lives and I loved them but I certainly didn't spend much time thinking about them.

I walked into a store that was having a adoption fair. We had always had black cats and that is what I was looking for. I walked around the cages slowly most of the cats were hiding in the back of their cages. I was looking in the other direction when a cat jumped out of the top cage and into my arms. There was Madison looking up at me with those beautiful green eyes.It didn't matter to me that Madison had been ill most of her 8 months. I was her human from that moment on.

Madison was born a feral kitten and was fostered at a no kill shelter which was a blessing or I might have never met her. She was born with severe diarrhea and intestinal scaring. After trying many options we found weekly B12 shots worked.

Madison is outdoor motivated and I had thought I adopted a indoor cat. To come to some compromise we worked on leash training. After a year of practice Madison and I now go on daily 45 min walks and our goal is to visit every park in our city.

Madison has opened my eyes to rescue work. I now volunteer at the shelter that I adopted her from and foster for our local Humane Society. She has taught me more then any other human in my life. I am blessed to be her human and have her as my teacher.

Cheri Linehan
Madison, WI

"Izzie" Three Paws of Steel

Izzabella Cinderella is a three legged Shih Tzu I thought I rescued for my blind Bugg (Pug/Boston Terrier) but realized she really rescued me!

June 27th 2009 a coyote jumped in our backyard and took our baby girl Kassie (12 yr Lhasa), my life stopped and her buddy Corky (8 yr Bugg) depended on her since he had SARDS. After a month of sadness I decided to look on line for a rescue similar to Kassie. This little big eyed girl jumped out of the computer and into my heart. I contacted her rescue Mom at Holly's Garden to see if she was available and she said yes but she could only go to a home without stairs because she only had three legs, thank goodness we had none. I decided it was Corky's decision weather she was to join our family or not. The next day she visited our home which would be the big test! When she arrived, Corky smelt her then found his way to his toy box and brought her his favorite toy, I knew than SHE was the one! She stayed closed to Corky and even would pull him around by his lease, now that was a funny sight; the three legged Shih Tzu leading the blind Pug. Five months later Corky became ill with kidney failure and joined his sister Kassie! I realized then that Corky had selected Izzie to take over the job of caring for me, I was a MESS! She had to be extra special to take over for two dogs that were my children and she has done just that! She goes everywhere with me, exercise classes, tennis, meetings, flights, movies and work! She truly rescued me and I'm grateful for this Angel Dog with three paws of steel!

Tamilee Webb
San Diego,, CA

Marble - The Pre-Shelter Rescue Cat

In June 1994 a friend was taking the last kitten from a litter her Mama Kitty had to the local shelter. As I was on the way there she asked if I'd be interested in seeing if I'd want to take her. In came this small 8 week old silver and black tabby kitten .... the runt of the litter and a fiery furball of energy that nobody wanted over her litter mates. After about 30-45 minutes of her playing, exploring my apartment and climbing all over and around me and my wheelchair, it was time for them to head on their way. Or so we thought ... I looked down beside me in my wheelchair to see her fast asleep. She had found HOME.

For the first year she was an indoor only cat but she soon had her own ideas about that and after many "training sessions" (not sure who trained who) it was "negotiated" that outside was OK when I was home and as long as she stayed near the apartment door. For 14 summers Marble would lay on the sidewalk and greet any visitors to 'her' courtyard area of the complex. For nearly 16 years Marble was my best friend and my constant companion until 13 February 2010 when I had to make that decision that no pet parent wants to face. She had given me over 15 1/2 years of love and it was now my time to give her that one last 'Gift of Love' ... Freedom from a failing body and pain while still having the dignity that she had all her life.

If Love alone was enough to keep you alive you'd never had left this world before me. I love you & miss you soooooooo very much my little baby girl.

Mitch Osika
Indianapolis, IN

Momma Mia

Mia was at local Humane Society in Missouri. We had seen her on pet finder website which had her age at 4-5 years, which was just the age we were looking for as a companion to our Border Collie. When we got there they told us that she had either been a puppy mill escapee or dumped by a puppy mill and that there was an error on her age, she was more like 8-9 years old.

We were upset but didn't think we could handle another older dog as we already had an older Chow Chow who had cancer as well has our 4 year old Border Collie who needed a companion close to her age. After they told us she would not be put down but sent to a no kill German Shepherd rescue group if she didn't get adopted, we felt better about not adopting her & decided to keep on looking. We kept thinking about Mia and after awhile we decided older or not we wanted her & luckily she was still there.

Well, we had our Vet check her health we found out she wasn't 8-9 years old more like the 4-5 years old! You see her front teeth were worn down so they thought she was much older. Our Vet told us that she had no sign of any arthritis or hip problems. Her teeth were a mess, her coat was coarse & she was thin but after the Vet cleaned her teeth & she had a good bath, actually 6 baths in 1day and some decent food she has filled out & is a happy & playful with boundless energy. We have had Mia for over a year now and can't imagine our family without her.

Jennifer Brinson
O'Fallon, MO

Jake the Snake

When my family and I moved into our house six years ago, we noticed a skinny tabby cat sleeping on our porch. After about three weeks, we aksed neighbors who the cat belonged to. They announced that the cat was ours since the previous owners had left it behind. The cat was scrawny and very mournful. Because my husband was not crazy about bringing the cat in our house, I began sneaking him in when Jim was not at home. When Jim realized what I was doing, he said we should find a home for the cat. One week later, we were sleeping with our windows open. We heard a horrible cat fight. Before I knew it, Jim jumped from our bed and ran outside. Another tom cat was beating up on the tabby. Jim found the cat under a car down the street. He quietly brought the cat home and plunked him on our bed. He said, "Well that does it. He's our now." Jake the Snake, as he was later named, curled up between us and when I awoke the next morning, was hugging Jim around the neck. The cat has now become our baby and has been through bladder surgery and several illnesses. He is tough and sweet. He also bosses everyone else around. In fact, after we adopted our second lab, he put the dog in his place and continues to do so by yelling at him and swiping at him whenver Darby walks by. No one is really afraid of Jake. They all just pretend to be so that he feels important. We just love our Jake!

Monmouth, IL

Napoleon Dynamite-best rescue cat!

My husband and I had two labs and two rescued cats. However, our three children often bring animals home that are strays. One day, our oldest brought home a five week-old kitten that had been dumped at the elementary school down the street. He was skinny, infested with fleas, and starving. I did not think we could keep another animal, but really wanted to help. My kids named him Napoleon Dynamite, calling him Leon for short. I took him to the animal shelter, where I was told they could not accept any cats. Because he was so tiny, I couldn't abandon him to someone who might not care for him. I bathed him, picked fleas off by hand, fed him and held him for days. He was such a scrapper that he quickly gained weight while winning over the house, my husband and my heart. He is now over four years old and the lover of the house. He sleeps on my head at night, and waits for my son at the door. He especially loves my kids and their friends. I often say that he thinks he is a teenager, so often wants to spend time with his peers. Oh, and he especially likes our dryer, so I have to be diligent when checking for castaways before using it. I am so thankful that Leon was brought into our lives!

Monmouth, IL

Two more reasons why rescued animals are the best!

When my husband and I moved into our current house with our three children, we had one dog. However, the previous owners left behind a cat, Jake, who quickly adopted us and still rules the entire household. About four months after moving in, I was cooking in the kitchen. I heard the plaintive cries of a kitten outside. I ran outside and found the black and white cat running down the street. He literally jumped in my arms. I had been frying chicken, so the kitten eagerly began chomping on my fingers. I figured he was about four months old. He was skin and bones and the little pads on his feet were bleeding. I fed him and he immediately vomited the leathered remains of an old dead mouse he apparently had tried to eat to survive. He was starving! I fed him, gave him water, and then my daughter proceeded to hold him for three days straight. He hardly woke at all. At one point, I thought he had died, because I could not wake him. I took him to the vet and was told that he was fine, just exhausted from running from predators, most likely. He is now six and my sweet buddy. His name is Bo Bo Tuxedo and he wears his formal attire with grace and dignity!

The next spring, one of my kids found the calico in an ice storm. She was struggling to get in the church to avoid the ice and cold. She had been sprayed by a skunk and was clearly traumatized from being dumped. She has an enormous personality and has decided that she is devoted to my husband. She wakes him every morning with kisses. We just love our Cookie!

Monmouth, IL

Halloween with a Happy Ending

It was Halloween night in 1995, and a steady stream of ghouls was coming to our door. Then, one group came with a little beagle mix in their arms, asking, "Is this your dog?" The dog was trembling, and her eyes were huge, sad and scared. I said "No, but we'll take her in for the night." We were well aware of what can happen to lost pets on Halloween. So she came in and immediately became a loving lapdog. Our collie, also a rescue, had been kind of sad since we'd found her earlier in the year, and suddenly, when that little dog came along, the collie perked up as if to say, "Look! They got me a puppy!" Needless to say, we fell for the little thing, and our son named her "Pup." Not the most original, but it fit -- short and to the point. She has been guarding our yard and air space ever since. We've had her nearly 15 years, and she's a little cranky and in the throes of some "dog-heimer's," but her loyalty and love are still unequalled!

Patti Van Slyke
Topeka, KS
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