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More additions to the family

I went to Petco this past weekend with my fiancee and son to buy a new wooden house for the blind gerbil we adopted last winter, as a treat for my son to relieve his annoyance about learning he was to be a big brother come summer. There on the counter was a cage with a pair of guenia pigs for adoption who had been relinquished to the store. My son was in love but so were the other two girls and their mother. Before I could open my mouth the other woman had pulled cash from her pocket and paid the adoption fee for the duo. My son was crestfallen so the cashier offered to let him see and pet the other relinquished animals they had. I was hesitant but my fiancee had given him the ok so we walked to the back where there was a cage containing a young mother gerbil and her 4 young. I already have 2 gerbils I rescued and was not prepared to even think about adopting more. But the sandy baby looked up at me and I felt myself melting. I had reached out toward the cage and wall near it to balance myself and the little guy came up to the glass like he was trying to climb in my hand. Between the looks of the guys and the actions of the little gerbil, I gave in. So now we have partial custody of a 10 yr old, a baby on the way and 7 gerbils. And now my friend has told me there is a ferret in need of a forever home that was left on the doorstep at his wife's job.....So we may be even larger soon. But as many as we are, I wouldn't change any of it

Baltimore, MD

Mittens holds a place in my heart

Mittens was one of four kittens I took in as fosters for a rescue agency when they were one week old. I bottle-fed them every four hours and took care of them and loved them all. But Mittens was the smallest, and there were times I thought she would not make it. Once, Mittens crawled off the heating pad and got chilled; I took her to school with me and I taught third grade while I held her near my heart all day, keeping her warm. She survived that day, and Mittens slowly grew bigger and stronger, as did her brothers and sisters. I took the other kittens to adoption events and one by one, they found forever homes. But Mittens was so much smaller than the other kittens; finally, she was the last one remaining in my home. I kept telling myself that I was giving her some extra time to grow bigger and stronger before I took her to the adoption center. But one day Mittens crawled up and snuggled on my chest, where I had held her that day when she was so ill, and she looked me in the eye. I finally realized that she was meant to be my kitty. Mittens is a year and a half now, and she is very spoiled! And yes, she still likes to be carried around, held near my heart.

Melissa J.
Mesa, AZ

Like moths to a flame

Scout was the first. We'd lived here only a few months, and we new neighbors were chatting in the yard when a bewildered sharpei mix joined the conversation. As we went our separate ways it was obvious she had nowhere to go. Phil got her to follow him home and told LeAnne her name was Scout (he knew LeAnne had always wanted a dog named Scout; so how could she turn her away, even though we already had a dog?)

Next April, we noticed a stately black lab standing guard in a hayfield day after day, assuming that he lived nearby. He would watch each car going by with detached interest from that same spot in the field until one day when he ran to the road as Phil was driving by. A little while later, Jet showed up at our back door, mighty hungry. We looked for his owner with no luck and even tried to give him away. How could we take in another dog when we already had two?? Now, Jet is the alpha of our little pack - the best dog that ever was.

LeAnne began to want a lap dog that was actually lap-sized and found Tony at an online rescue. Our family was now complete - we thought!

One month after our beloved Betsy died, a worried yellow lab and her puppy wandered through the yard. Phil gave them some food and water, and no sooner had they moved on than LeAnne drove up with an adorable puppy (Australian shepherd?) who had plopped himself in front of her SUV. On the way to buy puppy chow, we found Jasper grieving over his mom - struck by a speeding car. Winston and Jasper really have completed our family now. We hope!!

Greeneville, TN

Love Rolled in On Little Cat Feet

Six years ago, our daughter wanted a cat of her very own (we already had two at home), so we looked on Petfinder.com to look at cats available for adoption at our local shelters.

We tagged Mr. Smudge as one to visit. He didn't exactly meet our criteria, however...we wanted an older cat (he was barely 1 year old), we wanted a declawed cat (he had all his, and still does), we thought we might like a female for a change (he is all male!), and we wanted a cat with a big loud purr (he makes very tiny snorty-noises). After meeting several cats, we couldn't seem to agree on a choice...so our daughter said she guessed "he would do."

Into the carrier he went, and when we got him home he sauntered out as if he owned the place, and sauntered straight into our hearts. He is the most loveable, cuddly, smoochiest cat we have ever had the pleasure of living with. He now tends to answer to "Ticky Tack" as much as "Smudge." Such an easy-going guy! Go to your local shelter---I know there is a cat out there waiting to saunter into your heart as well!!!!

Medina, OH

Being adopted by an abused Tortie

I was volunteering at a shelter after losing my cat, and had no intention of getting another pet yet. There was an orphaned kitten not yet up for adoption because she had stopped eating and responding to the staff and the vet did not think she'd live another week because they could not get her eat. She arrived at the shelter injured and with open sores on her neck because something had been tightly wrapped around it. She was a pathetic sight.

A few moments after I peered through the bars on her cage she seemed to notice me and worked her way to the front of the cage, then proceeded to howl until I opened the door and picked her up, she tried to suck on my fingers. The other staff were in shock, because she had been so listless since she arrived there. I spent the next few hours with her, she ate a little bit of soft food and fell asleep in my lap. When I had to leave she started howling as soon as we went back in the kennel area.

I couldn't return for 2 days because of my job, but when I went back I knew I had to adopt her because I was told she would not eat those 2 days I was gone. I didn't feel I was ready for a new pet, but I had fallen in love with this kitten, and she seemed to have picked me so I filled out the paperwork and brought her home that night, and we've been together ever since.

That was over 12 years and a couple thousand dollars in surgery, medication, and prescription food ago.

I can't imagine life without her, I'm glad she picked me to be her human.

Louisville, KY

Lost to Found

The day I found Oliver was a rainy September day. I was driving down a highway, and as the 4-lane highway merges into two, I saw a boy on a bicycle standing on the edge of the road with a small unleashed dog. Snarky comments ran through my head about the danger, just as the dog trotted into the road. I slammed on the breaks, honking the horn to alert on-coming traffic. As cars stopped, I pulled over to scoop up the wanderer. I carried him back across the street to the boy, who said the dog had been roaming up and down the strip mall and he was trying to catch him. He rode off, and I went into the day spa to see if anyone knew this dog. No one could identify him, but the sweet ladies brought out a towel to dry the poor dog off and picked the trails of eye discharge from his face. He looked like a yorkie, his fur long and matted. Two vet hospitals couldn't find a micro-chip, and despite wearing a collar, it had no tags. My father was furious when I brought the dog home, but I promised it was only until I found his owner. I contacted every police station, shelter, pet-related business, and lost pet website I could think of. He belonged to no one. Since he looks like a yorkie, offers to take him off our hands popped up like crazy. After all, my father has never ever allowed us to have a dog. Somehow, within the month that we had and finally given the mystery dog his name, Oliver was able to convince our father to let him stay. Oliver has been one of the best additions to our family.

Sarah Marie Gilbert
Middlesex, NJ

Roxie...rags to riches

Roxie was running the streets at 7 months old, severely underweight and had been hit by truck. It was January and cold out and my daughter had seen her running loose in her friends neighborhood and begged me to come get her. She was cold, starved and scared. Once I got her home she curled up in a little ball on the bed and was so weak we had to bring her food and water for the first couple of days. You could see every bone in her body and we doubt she would have survived one more night on the streets. She was lucky that the truck only took some skin off of her head, she didn't have any broken bones but she did limp and favor her back leg.

A sweet dog even after abuse and neglect. My girlfriend was babysitting a 4 year old little boy and brought him over for a visit, we watched Roxie very closely to see how she would do since she had not been around any small children and it was amazing! She got her favorite toy and kept dropping it at the toddlers feet for him to play with her. They played all afternoon running all around the yard and not once did she get rough or try to jump on him.

Now Roxie is 2 years old, sweet, loving and very healthy. Her vet always raves about how shiny her coat is and how good she looks. She is the most affectionate loving and obedient dog we have ever had. She will not let me out of her sight and insists on being in constant contact with one of us.

Roxie is responsible for teaching me and my friends just how amazing bullies really are!

Douglasville, GA

From CA to NM - Kofi

I first saw Kofi on Petfinder while i was living in California. He was

in Colorado Springs and was pictured with another newfie mix (a black

and white female, either his sister, or a buddie) that they wanted to

adopt out together. The pic was so beautiful I downloaded it to my

computer. Over a year later I moved back to Colorado and decided to

adopt a dog. I saw Kofi's pic in Colorado Springs (this time alone) and

went to see him. As soon as I went to the "meeting room" he put his

head on my lap and rolled over for a belly rub. I went home without him

that day but went back three days later. He was 7 years old and several people at the shelter said nobody would would adopt b/c of his age, and b/c he was a "large black dog". At the time he was 100 lbs and

totally matted.

That was Memorial Day and I had just moved to a house at 10,000

feet in the mountains. We had a major blizzard. Over the next two days

Kofi wouldn't eat and went to lay down in the snow. By Sunday evening I

was at the vet's who said he had a bad strain of kennel cough which had

turned into pneumonia. He gave him a 50% chance of making it. Kofi had a

106 temp for 6 days. We went to the vet's every day for two weeks, but

he made it. ...

Sadly, he passed away two years ago from mega-esophagus and pneumonia, but he got to spend the last 3 years (2 1/2 years longer than the vet predicted) of his life off-leash, chasing rabbits, digging snow tunnels, and generally being adored (and adoring).

Santa Fe, NM

A stray cat and her litter

All of our cats have been rescued from outdoors, and Shadow was no exception. Seven months old, black and skinny, she found us one spring. We soon found out that part of her affection was due to her pregnancy - surprise!

Ryan and I were ecstatic; we knew we could find good homes for the babies, and this would be our first experience "raising kittens" together. When the moment came, I was out of town at a conference; Shadow had no trouble jumping onto our futon and giving birth next to my semi-conscious boyfriend.

The five kittens that Shadow brought into the world were absolutely adorable. We chose to keep her and two kittens - Smoky and Pancake. Friends quickly adopted the other three. As they'd been raised with a constant stream of visitors, all of the kittens were very attached to people.

Unfortunately, Pancake became ill, and we found out shortly after that she was positive for feline leukemia. Our hearts broke as we watched her pass before her first birthday. Her brother, Smoky, passed last month - before his second birthday. Shadow has tested positive, as has one additional kitten from the litter.

If we had the chance to do this over again, neither Ryan nor I would change a thing. Welcoming Shadow and her kittens into our hearts was one of the most positive experiences we'd ever had, despite how tragically things turned out. We can always look back on how loving Smoky and Pancake were - how Pancake would wake us at 5:30 every morning, just for affection, or how Smoky would jump onto the office chair, wanting to be pushed around.

This experience has taught us to appreciate every day we have with our pets, and to be grateful for our time together.

Erin Michael
Streetsboro, OH

Lady Girl and Katie

I am a rescue from the local pound, I was returned to the pound twice before and I can't figure out why because I am very friendly. Lady Girl and Katie are the best of friends and playmates. They are also my boyfriend and my best friends. They always can make us laugh no matter what kind of mood we are in and they always make us feel better. I wanted to adopt a dog because I know what it feels like to be taken away from everything I have known. I was adopted when I was 7 years old. I wanted to give them a home so they wouldn't feel lonely and we have all helped each other. They are also a great cure for depression.

Colonial Heights, VA
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