Animal Rescue Stories

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



I walked out our back door, and there on the cement pad to the door to the storage room lay a black and white kitten on its side. I thought for sure he was dead. I walked over and he didn't have the strength to lift his head. He did look up at me, though.

I picked him up. He was about 4 - 6 weeks old, and he laid across my hand like a limp noodle. I carried him into the house and told the wife to get me a can of cat food and a teaspoon. I had to force his mouth open the first two times. The third time he opened his mouth like a baby bird, so I laid him upright in the dish of cat food. He ate about 1/4 of the can, which is a lot for a kitten his size. He was only about 6" long at the most.

He is with me almost all the time now when I'm in the house. He is now 5 years old.

William Rifenbury

God sends you to the right place at the right time

God sends you to the right place at the right time

Fourteen years ago, my then almost 11-year-old son and my husband decided to go get pine needles for the yard while I was working. I am a nurse, so it was my late night to work, and we never used pine needles so it had to be a blessing that they went. Someone had put a male pup in a small cat cage at this particular establishment where they were getting the needles. He was scared, flea-infested, and stunk so badly. My son called me to see if he could bring the pup home and of course I said yes.

Once I got home he received a flea bath and was given the name Bailey. He turned out to be a handsome black lab with the kindest most gentle spirit about him. He lived to be 14 years young and was truly our best friend and companion. He slept with my son and then took to my bed until he got big and wanted his “ own bed”.

He passed last year in September and we have his ashes. I still miss him so much and I can still feel him here with me.

Wanda Gossett

Glow's Second Chance

Glow's Second Chance

I was dumped in a mini-mall parking lot right off a busy road in October. I was already grown up, but I was pretty small and not used to fending for myself, and was was having a hard time catching enough food to eat. I started asking shop owners for help by staring in their windows. Probably due to my previous experiences (I had already had at least two litters of kittens before I was dumped), I didn't trust people much and nobody could pet me, but if they left the shop doors open and put some food down I would come inside to chow down.

The weather was getting colder and wetter and the building owners did not want a "stray cat" in the parking lot or "bothering customers", so a really nice lady who was feeding me and calling me Gloria (she said because I Will Survive) asked someone to help get me to a shelter. They tricked me into a trap (!) and let me move into a safer-feeling carrier, and then a different nice lady drove me to the local shelter. I was very scared and didn't know where I was or what was going on. When the shelter person looked into my carrier, I hid in the back crouched down with big eyes, and they said I was feral and I couldn't be in the shelter! What?! They told that poor lady (who was just helping by driving me there) to put me back where the shop owners trapped me! I wanted to cry, "No! I was cold and scared and hungry out there, and all those cars were big and loud and scary!" I would die out there!

The lady put me back in her car and took me back to the lady who helped trap me. When she heard what the shelter person said, she ranted a little and said a few bad words, but then I heard her say no way was I going back to that parking lot, and I got to go home with her! She talked to me in a soft voice and blinked at me a lot, and told me I could come stay at her house for a while until she figured out a safe place for me to be. She had six cats living in her house already(!) who were all very curious about me, and I was a little nervous but none of them hissed or growled at me in my carrier, so I wasn't too scared. There was also a big goofy looking dog who was curious, but I swatted his nose and hissed dramatically at him a few times and he left me alone after that!

Trapper lady (I'll call her "Mom" for convenience's sake) set up a really big metal crate in the living room of her little house. She gave me a blanket to keep warm, a carrier to hide in, a cushion on top of the carrier to relax on, a big cardboard thing attached to the crate for me to scratch into pieces (so fun!), a litter box to do my business, a water dish, and even a cool catnip-filled banana that smelled SO GOOD I couldn't stop chewing on it until I ripped it open and got catnip everywhere (YEAH!!). She covered my whole new home with a big blanket until I felt calmer, then each day lifted the sides of the blanket a little more until I was comfortable coming out of the carrier with my crate uncovered.

Mom shortened my name and started calling me "Glow" (I like it!). She talked to me, read to me, sang to me, let me watch TV with her, dangled things into my crate for me to chase and grab, and gave me really tasty food and yummy treats that I swatted out of her hands because I didn't want to get too close to her (sorry for making you bleed, Mom). After a while, she even took my carrier out and gave me a big squishy soft bed to lie in instead - so much more comfortable! The other cats came around to touch noses and say hi, and sometimes Mom would have toys for them to play with right outside the crate while she played string-games with me, and we sort of played together!

I really really really didn't trust people, and I wouldn't let Mom's hands come anywhere near me for a long time. I remembered some human being very mean to me when I was younger, and then people in the parking lot sometimes chased me or threw things at me, and I had forgotten that people touching me could feel good! Mom started touching my head with a little puffball on a long stick, and I realized that felt WONDERFUL!! So relaxing! I would close my eyes and pretend I didn't notice that she switched out the puffball for her own hand rubbing my head. I started to spend most of my time in my bed really close to the front of the crate, hoping Mom would sit next to me for a while and rub my head.

Getting me to trust again took a long time, and Mom said she didn't want me to have to go through it all again with some new person, so she said I could join her family! Since I didn't act so scared anymore, and had gotten a lot healthier and plumper and furrier (who knew I was a long-haired cat?!) , Mom said after I saw the vet I could come out and run around with all six of my new housemates! That whole "seeing the vet" thing was NO FUN and she had to put something in my food that made me sleepy so I didn't popcorn all over the examination room and the doctor could look at me and poke me with things and even take some of my blood out of me (!). But once it was over and we got back to Mom's house, she put the carrier into my crate, opened it, and then left the crate door wide open!

I stayed near my crate the first few days, and my housemate cats only got to visit with me a couple at a time. After I got a little braver, Mom let me go back into all the cats' favorite room - "Mom's Bedroom", which is full of cat trees, and cat caves, and cat beds of all kinds. AND there is a special door in this room that goes OUTSIDE to the coolest thing ever called a CATIO! I found out I could go outside and bask in the sun and eat grass and climb ramps and watch birds and catch bugs, all being totally safe from dogs and people and cars and eagles and anything else that might want to eat me! It has become my favorite place to hang out!

I am so glad Mom didn't listen to that shelter person when they said to put me back out in that scary cold parking lot! Now I live in a warm house with cat friends and I get two meals a day and Mom gives me treats and plays with me. I still make her start petting me with the puffball, but then I let her change to her hand sometimes. Maybe someday I'll climb up on the bed and sit in her lap like some of my friends do, or even let her pick me up! Or, maybe not. But Mom says it's my choice, and I love her for that!

Signed, Glow

Kelleen Thaxton

Rescue search

Rescue search

The children were grown with children of their own. My husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I was alone and started searching for a rescue. I was turned down time after time. Shelters said I had too much with my husband to give enough time to a dog. One time I literally begged for a little poodle and could not get her.

Pugsley came to us as my husband was preparing for a stem cell transplant. He was brought up in a transport from Alabama. He was 8 months old, and the cutest, sweetest and cuddly dog we had ever seen. He is a part of our family and soon will be 13 years old. He is so smart and understands everything. Having him to care for has made a tremendous difference in all of our lives. We are grateful to have him and he is grateful to have us.

Karen Lurie

Rampy Cat's Rescue and Rehab

Rampy Cat's Rescue and Rehab

A shy, scraggly, dirty cat began hanging around my house some years ago. He wouldn't come near me and ran when I approached but he needed a lot of care, so I started putting food and water out for him every day. He liked to sleep in the carport on a pile of old blankets. From a window, I could see him out there. Sometimes when he was sleeping very deeply, I could walk past him quietly and get a better look at him.

One day I noticed blood on his head. From that day on, I watched more carefully. Finally I got a clear look at his head and saw that his ears were raw and bloody. With help from my housemate, Dave, I set out to trap him so he could be taken to the vet.

This cat was too wary of a live trap, so one night we lured him into a large dog crate using food. I had set up a rope to pull the door shut from about twenty feet away, and Dave was hiding out of sight nearby to quickly lock the crate door once the cat was inside. Then we moved the crate into the back of my minivan to take him to the vet in the morning.

The vet required a name for the animal. Given how angry he was at being trapped, Dave suggested the name "Rampy" (as in "ramp and rage"). The vet neutered Rampy, applied flea meds and examined his ears. They were overrun with ear mites, so the vet cleaned them up and treated them.

We brought Rampy home in the dog crate. While he was still groggy from the anesthetic, I slipped a litter box, cat bed, food and water bowls into the crate where he would spend the next few days. Dave and I collaborated to apply a healing salve to the backs of Rampy's ears twice a day. We used a 1"x2" stick of lumber pushed through the metal bars of the crate to force Rampy against the side, and an artist's sable paint brush to apply the salve.

Meanwhile we prepared the quarantine pen in the corner of my living room for Rampy to have more room to move around during his recovery. He would need to spend another week or so in the quarantine cage so as not to require re-trapping to go back to the vet for a second round of ear treatment. A cat carrier with its door tied open was placed in the cage for Rampy to use as a hide-away and sleeping area.

During his quarantine time, Rampy got to meet my other cats. All of them were curious about this newcomer. The curiosity was mutual. As Rampy's male hormones declined, he gentled down enough that I could refill his food and water bowls and clean his litter box without being attacked.

After his second visit to the vet, Rampy became less and less anxious when I approached his quarters. He started spending more time interacting with the other cats. He also spent a good deal of time looking out the window, as if he was longing to get back outside.

One day I decided to open the cage door and allow Rampy to roam the house. He went straight to the front door and cried to be let out. I had to choose whether to let him go or keep trying to turn him into house cat. Ultimately I decided to put the big dog crate on the front porch with a bed and his food/water inside. I left him there overnight and let him out in the morning, hoping he would come back when he was hungry or wanted a safe place to sleep.

Rampy kept returning for food every day. He often napped on top of the dog crate. Dave and I would sit on the porch while Rampy was eating, to help him lose his fear of us. At first he would attack our feet after we set his food dish down, but within a few weeks we were able to stroke his back while he was eating. Then one day he decided to jump into Dave's lap! It was so gratifying to see this cat learn to trust a human!

About five months after he was first captured, Rampy accepted my invitation to walk into the house. He spent about half an hour looking around and interacting with the other cats, then asked to go back out.

From then on, Rampy would spend increasing amounts of time indoors. He would occasionally spend the night inside. He developed a fascination with my pet rabbit, Timothy, and would spend hours playing with him. Sometimes he even slept on my bed in a pile with other cats. But he never learned to use a litter box consistently, and thus could not be a full-time house cat.

After some years, Rampy's health declined and he eventually disappeared, never to return. He was such a gentle soul. We will never forget or regret the time we had with him.

Patricia Davis

Broken Hearted Mama

Broken Hearted Mama

It was a sad day for me, one that I dreaded. My sweet 13 year old chihuahua Bella was suffering from heart failure and couldn't breathe. I humanely had her put down and went home that night alone. My heart was broken and I cried for days.

One day, while thumbing through Facebook, I saw that a Shih tzu was being rehomed because she was aggressive with the couple's grandchild. Since it had only been a few days, I was hesitant to petition for the dog but I felt a pulling to do so.

As it turned out, Matilda had lost her original owner due to death and her second owner only had her two weeks. She was lost like I was and we needed each other.

I adopted her 1 week after my Bella passed away and we are best buds. She needed an older mommy who had the patience and love to give her. I believe Bella sent Matilda to me, to heal my loss until we can meet again.

Christine Montoya

My Loyal Friend

My Loyal Friend

When I retired from teaching elementary school after 31 years in 2018, I knew I wanted a friend for our little 1-year-old Morkie that my daughter had brought into our home and then left for college. Our Morkie had so much energy, and I thought a little friend was just what she needed.

On Facebook, I saw that a rescue organization a horse friend of mine was involved in had a Maltese mix dog that was removed from a home due to severe abuse. She was severely matted and her jaw had been broken. She had not been provided the medical care she needed after the abuse.

The rescue took her to their vet, who determined her little jaw had already healed very crooked and would have to be broken again to fix it. They decided that since she could eat and drink fine, they would leave it.

When I saw the video of her cowering and shaking in the back of her crate, I knew I had to try and help her heal, not just physically but emotionally. She was delivered to my family by her rescuers. It was a rough go for quite a while for her to learn to trust.

The first three nights she was at our house, I slept with her on our couch. When she would start to get up and I would reach and put my hand on her, she would relax. When I would take her outside, she was literally terrified of her shadow. If a butterfly flew by, she would shake.

She soon became my best friend. She needed and depended on me. She has been a part of our family now for five years and has transformed into the most sassy, loving, loyal little white dog anyone could wish for. I don’t know what we ever did without her and her sweet crooked smile. I didn’t rescue her, she rescued me.

the Trouble with Tribble

the Trouble with Tribble

I had recently lost my best friend Tommy (turns out she was Tomassina) to cancer at 9-years-old. I was sitting in my second floor office when three raccoons tried to get through the window. I went to ask my vet if she knew anyone who did trap and release of wildlife. She said "No, but I have something for you" and thrust a tiny ball of black and white fur at me.

She was a stray the local TNR committee had brought to be spayed and released, but she was too young and small to let go free. They said her name was Bella, and she didn't like people. Turns out she didn't like women but was fine with me. She cuddled up on my neck and chirped just like the tribbles from Star Trek, so that was her name from then on.

When I took her home, she either avoided or attacked my wife and daughter for almost a year. She slept on my head, rode around on my neck, and when I got sick, she would sense an episode coming on and howl and jump at me until I sat down.

Sadly she passed away from squamous cell cancer about five years ago, and I still miss her.

Richard Q
Cote St. Luc, Canada

It was a golden autumn day...

It was a golden autumn day...

My dog Twinkie and I were going for an evening walk in our rural village. It was getting dark, so we were about to head home. That's when I heard a loud (but tiny) meow!

I looked over and there was a tiny orange kitten crying for help as he walked from the bushes. Twinkie, a Bichon mix who was on her leash, ran toward the kitten, who stood on his hind legs and spit with his claws out. Then he turned to slowly slink away. I grabbed him as his mother would, by the scruff of his neck, and put him in my coat and hugged him. He immediately started purring and did not try to get away.

I took him to the vet the next day. He had a goopy eye that was infected and a lung infection that took two rounds of antibiotics to clear up.

He has been the most loving cat I've ever had (I've had 13 cats), and he's now 7-years-old. Unfortunately, he has a nasal lymphoma and isn't expected to live much longer, but you wouldn't know it watching him hunt and play and eat.

He will be sorely missed by the entire village who has gotten to know and love him. I named him Golden because it was a golden moment when he found me. He has brought us so much love.

Cher Thoming

Cinder Maybe Shadow

Cinder Maybe Shadow

In 2010, I was at my store nearing closing time when Kelly from next door came over and asked if she could borrow a card table. I told her I was sorry, that I didn't have one, but I asked her what it was for and she replied that she was having a fundraiser that evening for an animal rescue organization that she and her partner were starting up. Then she mentioned that she had a dog that had literally been forced on them the previous day at another fundraiser by a man that was really sketchy on details and she didn't know what to do with it because they weren't ready to receive animals yet! She told me it was part Border Collie, and that piqued my interest because I have a real soft spot for them.

I told her that I would like to take a look at the dog. I locked up my store and went next door to meet the dog that was to become Cinder. She was huddled and timid in their office, but I was immediately struck by how much she reminded me of our dog Shadow that had passed away from cancer two years before. They didn't look anything alike, other than being black, but there was something about the way she held herself that caught my eye! I told Kelly that I needed to do further investigation. I called my wife and had her come over to meet Cinder. No sparks, nothing. I wasn't willing to let this drop!

The next day, I called Joey who worked for us part time and was intimately connected to our dogs, as we brought them to work everyday, and had him come over to meet Cinder. He walked into the rescue, took one look and said that dog reminds me of Shadow! I was sold, I adopted her that day!

Cinder was about 6 months old when I adopted her and it quickly became apparent that she had suffered from mental abuse. That didn't happen at my house. This is where it gets sort of spooky. Thirty-six hours after arriving at my house, my wife took the dogs for a walk, Cinder included. There was a wardrobe malfunction when Cinder's collar fell off, and she escaped when they were blocks away from our house! My wife hurried back to the house frantically to get me to begin a search, only to find Cinder on the top step of the stairs on the sidewalk leading into the house!

Whenever strangers came to visit us, Cinder would hide and not come out until they were gone. A year later, my daughter came to visit us from Seattle and when I went to pick her up at the Charlotte airport, on the drive home I explained to her that she would have to get used to Cinder hiding from her. My daughter is a huge animal lover and she and Shadow had a very special relationship.

When I pulled up in front of the house, Cinder was at the front door going absolutely nuts. We have a full length glass storm door that we leave open for the dogs to see out. Cinder was jumping five feet off of the floor! When we went inside she was all over my daughter. This continued for her entire visit. You tell me, was this Cinder or was it Shadow?

Sadly, we lost Cinder to kidney failure in 2020, but the way I look at it is I had Shadow back for an extra 10 years.

Michael Atkins