Animal Rescue Stories

Read heartfelt stories of rescue, and share your rescued animal stories with others.

Dixie Chick

Dixie Chick

Her name tells you round about the time I found her. I would take my Irish Setter to the dog park and saw outside the park fence this pup. Truckers would stop in the area she had a burrow in and I guess drop off food. No one took her. I told her if she was here the next time I came she was going home with me. I bought a cheese burger and headed to the park. She was friendly and jumped into my car. No chip so she was my rescue. She enjoyed life for many years. One day in winter, I noticed her panting. This seemed strange to me so I took her to the vet. Her lungs were full of cancer, like popcorn. No real options. Finally she struggled to breathe and I was with her as she passed. Wish she was still here.

Brenda Boutin
CINCINNATI, OH

Of course I would take both of them!

Of course I would take both of them!

I was running errands on a Saturday in May 2014 when I stopped at the PetSmart in Clovis, CA to buy cat food for the parking-lot kitty where I work. In front of the store was a rescue group with several adorable dogs in all shapes and sizes available for adoption. Having lost our two fur babies; Max, a cockapoo and Nikki, a buff cocker spaniel, in May 2011 and April 2013 respectively, one to cancer and the other to a heart condition, my husband was still not ready to consider having any more doggies just yet. I managed to get into the store without stopping to visit the dogs, but I couldn’t resist on my way out. There were so many there, I almost missed the crate in the back with the miniature poodle and a border terrier, both female. I inquired about them and learned that they had been turned in to a kill shelter because their family had to move to an apartment that didn’t allow pets. One of the shelter workers runs a rescue organization, and immediately took them both. They were not quite two years old and had been together since they were about eight weeks old. She didn’t want them to be adopted out separately. My husband had an appointment in Fresno, which borders Clovis, so I called him and very gently suggested he take a look at these two. The miniature poodle resembled our Max so much it was eerie. About an hour later, as I’m still running errands, I get a call from my husband who says I need to come back to PetSmart—we have two new family members! He said that when he picked them up to hold them, they each nestled into his neck and lathered him with kisses. Well, I couldn’t get back there fast enough! Fast forward almost six years to the present: Minnie (the poodle) and Daisy (the border terrier) have been with us through several vacations and a move from California to Idaho in 2018. I can’t imagine them having been adopted out separately. The rescue group, PAWS, Precious Animals Worth Saving, out of Fowler, CA, said they had several people who wanted to adopt Minnie, but not Daisy. I’m so glad they held out and didn’t let that happen. These two are practically joined at the hip—they sleep so they are touching each other, and Minnie loves grooming Daisy. I think Max and Nikki sent them to us to fill the void of a home with no pets. Oh, what happened to the parking lot kitty? Well, Mooch, as we called him, ended up going home with one of our employees when she retired. He lived out his days in the comfort of a loving home with a family who adored him.

Terry H
GLENNS FERRY, ID

A love letter from Tommy Bahama... the "devil cat"

A love letter from Tommy Bahama... the "devil cat"

For 12 years I was passed to 3 different parents on a small island in the Bahamas. When the last “Mom” moved in with her boyfriend and a d-o-g, I'd had enough. I decided I'd rather live under the old house and take my chances. I did this for 3 long years. I survived heat, cold, torrential rain- even hurricanes. And I'd get lonely and go out to the street looking for attention. Everyone on the island knew who I was. Many would pass by, some would even pet me, and I relied on the local 'cat ladies' to feed me. But I got bored living under that house. So I became the island cat from hell, or “devil cat” as some of the locals called me! Dogs provided a distraction. I could chase the big ones and bite them in the butt, or I could ride the smaller ones home. One day I decided to pick a fight with 2 Jack Russells and a Golden retriever. Silly dogs. I won. When I stopped at the church, covered in blood- that's when my life changed. I was taken to the vet- I only had a small bite on one leg- the blood was not mine! You both did not want an ORANGE cat, and for sure after the two mini rescue girl torti cats you'd had- you didn't want a 25 pound giant male cat... but yet you agreed to take me, at least until the stitches healed. I think at first you were a bit intimidated by me, and I don't blame you. After all- I was a big cat with a bad reputation and attitude! I pulled the screen door to your apartment open, flopped on the floor, and soon worked my way into your hearts. And the best part of MY life began. You and “dad” showed me love & spoiled me rotten. I got brushed every day. I got fresh fish treats in the afternoon, and I found a warm safe place to sleep at night- next to you, under your arms. When you moved away from the Bahamas, you brought me with you. My first boat ride, airplane ride- and then the beginning of car rides across the USA! How many of my Bahamian kitty buddies can say they've been thru 22 states? I loved the car rides!! Wasn't I the best behaved? I knew to use the litter box before we started driving, I knew to eat & drink at rest stops, and I knew when to jump into my carry bag to go into the hotels. During the drives, I loved sitting on your lap the entire time. And I got to come back to the island twice more as a tourist!! How cool was that? The condo in Washington state was nice, and I loved the rare sunny days on the back balcony- but the cool & rainy weather fired up my arthritis and hip dysplasia. You had accepted me even though I was old, but then you discovered I had diabetes, and had to give me expensive shots twice a day. Still- you were willing to do anything to try to make me well. You even slimmed me down to 17 pounds. I know that if I was still a Bahamian cat, I'd have probably not survived very long. When you took me to the desert (Palm Springs) I felt at home. Warm sunny days, dry air- I seemed almost healed. My favorite memories will always be sleeping on the sun lounge on the back deck, watching birds & lizards. You understood when I howled to be lifted up when I could no longer jump. You bought me a ramp to get up to the bed. You gave me medicines and kept trying to find a cure for me. And kept giving me fresh fish & treats and love. And knowing how my life was made so much better because of the 2 of you, I became the most loving, sweetest and smartest cat you'd ever meet. I would greet you at the door when you'd been away. I'd come out and meet your friends. I would follow you around to be next to you, touching you, and sleeping between you guys at night, as close to you both as I could get- I couldn't have been happier. You knew that tho- my purrs were so loud I'd wake you sometimes. And when things got harder for me you still loved me thru my pain & accidents. But finally you knew it was time. You both had done everything you could, and you cried a lot making the decision, but we all knew it was for the best. I went in peace, surrounded by love. I know I will always be in your heart, and you will stay forever in mine. Thank you for taking in an older stray. You made the last 6 years of my life the best ever, and I love you for it. (Love, Tommy * Hope Town, Abaco. *Vancouver, Washington,* Rancho Mirage, California*)

Amy Brubaker
VANCOUVER, WA

Shadow formerly Bryson

Shadow formerly Bryson

We believe in second chances for people as well as pets. We have had 3 rescued dogs in the past. Sheba, a German Shepherd/Collie who lived 16 years; Abbie, a Sheltie/Chow who lived about 15 years; and our beloved Gandoff. We Rottweiler/Lab lived 9 ½ years, the vet gave him Rimadyl. After the loss of our beloved “Gandoff” we were sure we wouldn’t be ready to take in another dog. We have had 3 rescued dogs and we know they need work, however we have never regretted it. Well, I had finished watching Cesar Millan and a comment made just did not sound right. “Black or dark dogs and cats are the last to be adopted.” I looked this up on the internet. Not only did I find this to be correct, I proceeded to look at some adoption sites and sure enough it is a fact. Well I saw two dogs when I showed up at our nearest shelter, Pawmetto Lifeline. The first dog was very high-strung. The second dog I was told may need some work. “Shadow formerly Bryson” was a 62-pound black (Sable German Shepherd with a white spot on his chest). He was underweight and had an embedded collar that had left very bad scars around his neck. We have picked out our dogs by behavior and when the dogs in the next room started to bark, he went to the door and just stared. I told him its okay, and he laid down at my feet and played. Well at his last checkup he weighed 76 lbs. in less than 3 weeks. His neck is healed and he is home. Open your home and you may need a little patience, but it’s worth it. The staff at Pawmetto Lifeline work very hard to save these animals and sometimes their work is not noticed.

Dan
TEMPLE, NH

Midnight

Midnight

She came to me because her people had moved away. I fed her at the door and she came in. The neighborhood kids had been kicking her because she was a black cat, and she was fearful of men; she would growl when she saw pant legs near her. She was an indoor outdoor cat. She would fellow us everywhere. She would follow us to the local diner and wait for us in the bushes to accompany us home after we ate. One day she followed my daughter to school; she closed the door behind her and said to Midnight, "go home." Then a hour or so later an announcement came from the office WOULD (my daughters name )come to the office! My daughter wondered why; she was a good student and didn’t do anything wrong! When she got there, there was Midnight, growling at all the pants in the office!! She had waited for the next person to open the door and let her in. No one could touch her! But then my daughter said MIDNIGHT LETS GO HOME and she followed her home just as Little Bo Peep. Midnight was a verbal cat and would talk to me when she wanted food and let in and out... and sometimes just to talk. She lived with us until she got cancer and died. We talked as she lay dying at home. Then, as she died, she lifted her head one last time and howled goodbye. I loved her as a human; I am never forgetting my Midnight!

Linea App
MAMARONECK, NY

She made our broken hearts whole again.....

She made our broken hearts whole again.....

After having to euthanize our cherished Maltese, Dandy, after 15 years & 23 days of pure joy, we were reluctant to get another dog due to not having the peace of mind of knowing it would be adopted by a family member when we are gone. After grieving for almost 2 years, an acquaintance who volunteers with Puppy Haven Rescue assured me that a pet adopted from a rescue group would be accepted back at any time for any reason & it would be fostered for the rest of its days or until adopted into another loving home. A three-year-old chihuahua named Gabby adopted from Pet Adoption League in Tulsa, OK became our new fur baby, after having a complete physical exam, her teeth cleaned, lab work performed, & being microchipped. She quickly became trained to indoor potty pads and bonded with both of us in her forever home. We should change her name to "Velcro" because she is always beside us while we are busy, in a lap when we sit & snuggled against one of us in bed. Life is just better with a dog in your lap.

Mary-Alyce Huenefeld
TULSA, OK

The loss of my Sweet Girl

The loss of my Sweet Girl

When I was living in Fl., my daughter wanted me to go with her to a dog rescue. I told her no as I can't see animals in cages. She was persistent, and I finally went with her. The very last cage contained a 10-week-old female Doberman. I have always loved dobs. There was a paper attached to the cage, and I read that she was scheduled to be put down the next day. I got upset and challenged them about this, and they said they needed the space. I left with my Daughter and went home, very upset. I knew I needed to occupy my time to get this off my mind. At 4 pm, I couldn't take it anymore, calling them to let them know that I was on my way. When I arrived, they were just getting ready to lock up. I adopted her and named her "Karma" because I felt this was meant to be. I ultimately moved to Colorado where I was from. 13 years later, I had to carry her out and carry her in, as she was in pain having trouble walking. On Feb 18, 2019 I had a vet come to my house to put her down. I have not gotten over her, I still talk to her hoping her spirit is with me. I am currently crying my eyes out. I miss her so much that words just can't describe. I have her ashes and pictures throughout my apartment. I pray asking God to help me get through the loss, I hurt so bad.

Fred Neitzel
ENGLEWOOD, CO

For me you came back, for you I let go

For me you came back, for you I let go

My wife and I trapped a pair of feral cat siblings behind a Walmart years ago. After we were sitting on the cold hard (winter) pavement for hours, someone called the police. Truck/ trailers full of merchandise coming into the back of the store. Not one but two feral kittens ran into the live trap. We took them home left the trap door open and allowed them to adapt to their new home. It took months, just to go into the room without them scurrying away to hide. And longer to get to touch "Sister" and "Bubba". Eventually we were able to pet Bubba and after some time he would allow being picked up. Sister was more difficult, but eventually she and I came to an understanding. Everything was on her terms. No sudden movement, no picking up, no holding..... petting only when she wanted. They both were to be inside cats but enjoyed looking out the windows at our outside cats. Bubba one day figured out the cat door and found his way out into the yard, no problem we had 'domed' the outside fence to keep cats in the yard. Sister was not allowed into the yard for fear that we could never get her back inside - as she didn't allow being picked up and did not accept being touched unless she initiated. All Good things come to an end it seems and one day she went out into the yard, amazingly I was able to call her back thru the cat door (my wife says I'm the cat whisperer) and she stayed for awhile. Later she found the cat door again and decided to spend her first night outside. I worried like a new parent. Sometime during the night we were awakened by the flapping of wings followed by a screech and what we thought was a cat fight and finally a loud bang as if something had crashed into our metal storage shed. We searched through the night, found no sign of Sister. The next morning we both searched again to no avail. She was lost. I had to go to work out of town but couldn't concentrate, worrying about baby Sister so I came home early to search again. Still no sign... I called and called. Crawled under the house. Looked in the neighbor's yard. Searched the vacant wooded lot next door for the umpteenth time and found nothing. I was devastated. While trying to make my way out of the woods I glanced toward the fence separating my yard from the neighbor's yard and at the base of a tree in the neighbor's yard was a tiny bundle of white and black fur. As I worked my way through the dense foliage I saw that it was her and sped my way to save her. Knowing she would not allow me to pick her up I worked a hole in the fencing to squeeze her through quickly. As I started to pick her up my neighbor's dogs ( a rhodesian ridgeback and a mastiff) ran up barking. I knew that I could fight my way out, but didn't know if I could do so with the baby in hand so I charged the dogs shouting. When they briefly backed away I scooped up Sister, slid her through the fence, closed the opening and faced the dogs again. Sister was safe! The dogs didn't bite me, I backed them down again and escaped. When I found Sister she had a huge scar over her eye (no damage to the eye) that went to the base of her head. We figured out that an owl had lifted her by the head, tried to fly off. She was able to reach up and work her way free and the owl dropped her on my storage shed, then she bounced off to the ground on the wrong side of the fence! I was able to pick her up after I got back in my yard (she was too exhausted to protest) and carried her into the house. She and I became VERY close after that and she started sitting next to me or at my feet, occasionally even sitting on my lap. I could even pick her up. When I saw her rolling on the floor, I would roll beside her. If I lay on the floor she would come and lay beside me or even sit on my chest. We bought a new house with 6.5 acres of land so the cats would be safe from traffic in 2002 and moved Sister and company to the new place. Everything was great! They all thrived being able to come and go as they pleased and we had no worries until Sister started getting older and seldom wanted to go outside. She had to have some teeth removed and went through the surgery well. My little princess was all grown up but was still my beautiful little girl. On occasion she would still climb her indoor cat tree when she felt good but was clearly older and slowing down. When she did climb the cat tree, she and I were nose to nose and I started rubbing my head on the shelf that she was on - she did the same! When I told my wife to watch she couldn't believe it. I did it again and this time Sister rubbed her head against mine! It was so cute! So adorable. We had many years together and one day in May she wanted to go outside again, I was reluctant but let her go. When night started to fall I frantically started searching and calling. Nothing. The next day, nothing. I was worried she had gone off to die and I would never see her again. Next morning we both looked to no avail. Same thing all day. We went out to get something to eat around 5 pm. When we got back I saw a shape walking towards our house and jumped out of the car- there was my baby heading home! She didn't register me calling, just headed home. I picked her up and headed to the front door. She squirmed like she did not recognize me. When we got inside she stopped squirming and gasped as if she were giving up her last breath. I cried and cried, telling her she had made it home...everything was alright. But it wasn't. She was dying. I told her it was ok. She fought it and fought it getting one last gasp of air then going limp. Her eyes glassed over and I thanked her for coming back to me - thanked GOD for bringing her home. I knew she was gone when my wife mouthed the words to me and Sister had been completely relaxed for an eternity. As I lay on the floor next to her sobbing with my eyes closed, I felt her little head rub up against mine ! I opened my eyes in disbelief and she rubbed her head against the floor! My wife and I both believe we witnessed a miracle. She came back. And of course I rubbed my head on the floor in response. She lived for a few days after that and I lay beside her on the floor when she wasn't strong enough to jump up on the couch, occasionally rubbing my head on hers or on the floor. Her headstone says simply" For me you came back, and for you I let go"

Tim Scott
TALLAHASSEE, FL

Harry, my parrot cat.

Harry, my parrot cat.

I rescued Harry and his two brothers in 2017. No one wants black cats, so I knew I had to take all 3 kittens, who were 7 weeks old when I got them home. Harry in particular liked to climb up my jeans until he got to my shoulders, where he would "perch" himself, hence his nickname: Harry the parrot cat. This photo is a collage of him sitting on my shoulder, when he was still a kitten, and now as an adult cat. Nothing beats a cat shoulder massage!

Beverly0807
STROUDSBURG, PA

Tim from TN

Tim from TN

After our lovable doofus of a chocolate lab, Zane, passed away, my two sons and I searched with hopes to rescue a dog. We searched for weeks online till we were granted acceptance for a pup named Quincy from TN. There was not much info on him, but he was coming to us via tractor trailer in December. When they handed the small, brown dog to me he was crying and screaming and I was worried he had been hurt. When I held him close and he stopped they assured me he was okay. On the way home I stopped for a small meal to eat in the car. When I returned to the car the pup started to scream again and that's when I realized he did not like to be left alone and was very vocal about it. He was very small so I drove home with him curled up in my lap. Eight years later, Tim (his new name) smiles and 'expresses' loud tears of joy when we return home. He's about one foot tall and the best guard dog we've ever lived with. He sleeps with us at night and is about the cuddliest dog we've ever known. We couldn't imagine home without him.

Michele Barron
NEW HARTFORD, CT