Animal Rescue Stories

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

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

Alleluia

Alleluia

A friend was trying to find homes for a litter of feral kittens. I offered to help. It was Christmas so we decided to call the little tuxedo kitten with a white mustache and a feather of white from nose to ears "Alleluia." While everyone thought "Lui" was the cutest kitten on the block, no one stepped forward to adopt him. So when a job change took me to Pennsylvania, he became my companion. One day when I came home from work, Lui came to meet me at the door. Then he ran to the bookcase, leaned against it, put his head down and did a full somersault ending up spreadeagled on the floor inviting a tummy tickle. After that, every day I received a "so glad you are home" somersault. Lui loved the outdoors and was happy to take me for walks on a leash. That year we spent time daily walking downhill to the lake where Lui was fascinated by the tiny fish near the dock. The next year my job took me to Michigan. Our apartment was down several stairs immediately from the front door. Lui continued to meet me at the door, but no more somersaults. Then one day I was surprised to see him put his head down on the stair and do a revised somersault, a sort of twist sideways from one stair to the next. He had taught himself another trick! While I've been in Michigan the past five years, Lui and I have fostered 9 kittens, (all but one of them feral) and Lui has helped teach them to be happy housecats. Now, however, due to leg problems, it is difficult for me to go on walks with Lui and I have decided to find him a new home with someone younger who can keep him happy in the outdoors. He is 6 years old and very adaptable and people-oriented so I am hopeful with the kitten adoption center's help, to find the best match. Lui is healthy and will certainly outlive me, so this is a good thing, though I will certainly miss my companion!

Olivia Latiano
SAUGATUCK, MI

Cookie & Pookie besties forever

Cookie & Pookie besties forever

We adopted Pookie (Tortie Shell) about 5 years ago, and she's always been a very sweet cat. Very vocal, but sweet. Several years later, a friend at school had brought me a pitiful-looking black kitten one day before school let out for the summer. I already had two cats, Pookie and Duchess, and I knew my husband was not wanting anymore pets. But my friend was allergic and couldn’t keep the little kitten. At the time the little kitten had its eyes shut and looked to be a few weeks old. I knew that if I didn’t take it, it would end up in a shelter or worse, mauled by dogs. I brought it home, took it to the vet and nursed it back to health. I had named it Champ because of its resilience and desire to get better. The vet informed me that Champ was a female. We scheduled her surgery to be spayed. Duchess, the princess that she was, never liked any of the cats - she just stayed away from them. But Pookie took Champ - now Cookie - under her wing, and they both became buddies. Several years later, I had to put Duchess down. She was now 15 years old and she had been with us all these years. I knew that I had to put her to sleep. She was suffering and I knew that I couldn’t ask any more of her. So with a heavy heart I said good bye to my sweet girl that day. It was a few days before Thanksgiving. I then thanked the Lord for all those years that this little cat had brought so much joy into our hearts. He then reminded me that I had to be strong because I had Pookie and Cookie. Cookie and Pookie bonded with each other - they wrestled with each other, groomed and chase each other around. They’re the best of friends.

Marta Hawk
FORT WORTH, TX

Stuart's story

Stuart's story

This is the story of Stuart the cat. It's kinda long-winded but a cool story none-the-less. To preface the story, I'm a carpenter by trade and in June 2017 I began an extensive remodel-job at the Humane Society of Johnson County outside Indianapolis, Indiana. Stuart the cat was born on a farm near the Johnson-Shelby county lines approximately 5-years ago, roughly January of 2014. While he had constant human contact and attention, he wasn't really 'anyone's' cat. Whether the farm was sold, foreclosed-on, its tenant(s) passed away, or whatever isn't exactly clear to me. What's known is that in April 2017, Stuart was found after being left abandoned at the vacated farm and was then brought to the Humane Society of Johnson County. For whatever reason, Stuart wasn't immediately adopted out. Which is totally surprising in that he's the most friendly, playful, loyal & lovable cat I've ever known,...and I've known many. I truly believe that Stuart could make a person who didn't like cats, love him...that's how dynamic his personality is. So with not being adopted right away, he was allowed to be released from his cage to freely roam the barn & grounds of the Humane Society. Stuart seemed happy therefore it appeared to all the staff that he would just become a resident barn cat there at the Humane Society. In June 2017, I was to start a remodel job working at the Johnson County Humane Society. The project was extensive so I was going to be working there all summer. At 8am on Tuesday June 27, I arrived to begin my work there. I immediately set-up my tools & work-station to begin framing walls for the office portion of the contract. By 9am Stuart had jumped up onto my cut-table and introduced himself to me. Being an animal lover, especially with regard to cats, meant that Stuey & I hit it off right-away. He found me later that day at lunch-time, where I shared my turkey-sandwich's with him. And from that point forward, we shared lunch together every day after. In the days that immediately followed, he was not only finding me at break & lunch, but continually hanging out in the area I was working in...despite the noise & mess I was making. It quickly progressed to where I was looking forward to each morning of going to work to see Stuey all day...kinda like a buddy. And the feeling must have been mutual, as Stuey was waiting right by the overhead door each and every morning when I arrived to open it. Stuey & my friendship blossomed as the summer (and job) moved along. By late-summer Stuey had made it evident that at the very least, all day at the Humane Society I was his human. The staff at the Humane Society told me a story that was as funny as it was heart-warming. One morning when I WASN'T going to be there that day working, the staff arrived and opened the doors. Stuey as usual was waiting for me, but was soon dejected upon discovering that I wasn't there. They took a picture of him sitting out in the parking lot in the space my truck would be normally parked in. They said he sat there most of the morning, literally waiting for me to show up. So as the job was nearing completion towards the end of August, I realized I had grown extremely fond of Stuey. I had posted photos of him & I all summer on Facebook and subsequently continually razzed by friends that told me I 'had to' adopt him..."that cat loves you"..."look how he follows you around and adores you"...yada, yada, yada. Even the staff at the Humane Society kept telling me that while they loved him and didn't want to lose him, they too could plainly see that Stuart belonged with me. I was finally convinced. The signs had all been there, our life paths were meant to become tangent by a higher force. I had them draw-up all the necessary paper-work, he was vaccinated & chipped. At the completion of my final day on the Humane Society project, Tuesday September 27, Stuey left the job with me to come to his new forever-home. I was nervous about bringing him home initially. After being a farm cat and then a barn cat, I wasn’t sure how he'd adapt to becoming an indoor cat. Those fears were quickly put to rest as Stuey adapted to indoor living like a fish to water. Screwy Stuey still follows me EVERYWHERE. He lays by my head when I'm on the couch in the family-room. He rests on my desk, or on the window sill next to my desk of my home office when I'm working in there. He hangs with me on the work-bench when I'm working on a project or screwing-around in the garage. And of course he sleeps with me every night, where he steals my pillow and sleeps right next to my head. Stuart is now in a place that will continually spoil him and give him all the attention & love he's apparently always wanted but never had...until now. Stuey,...you're my forever-buddy.

Brett Hickman
INDIANAPOLIS, IN

The small shelter's animal technicians said "She's too wild."

The small shelter's animal technicians said "She's too wild."

I was volunteering at a small pet shelter when someone dropped off some "feral" cats in a cardboard box left on the shelter's doorstep. The cats were brought in and one in particular was thought to be too feral because when the vet techs tried to pick her up she went a little crazy. But as a several-days-a-week volunteer, I got to observe the cat's behavior close up. She wouldn't leave her cage, but the door was left open during the day. Other cats would leap up into her cage (out of typical cat curiosity) and the "wild" cat didn't hiss or bat at them, but would touch noses. In fact the cat would lick the hands of volunteers (after the mandatory smell test). But because she didn't like being picked up she stayed at the shelter for 6 months! I couldn't stand it because I knew what this cat was really like, and I knew whatever home she ended up at would be much happier because of her affectionate personality (and her beautiful large blue eyes). So guess who's home she moved into? Kitty Heart has been residing in our home for 5 years now. It just shows what amazing discoveries can be found volunteering at an animal shelter.

D. Davis
DALLAS, TX

My Aerial Bomber

My Aerial Bomber

We finally had a house, 2 cats in the yard, as the song goes... and it was finally time to add a puppy to the mix. Enter Aerial Bomber who turned into one of those best-dogs-in-the-world kind of dog. Stressful days at work called for a lunch trip to our local nursery to look at flowers. One day instead fate intervened and pulled me to our local humane society. And there was this tiny ball of gold and white fluff, a cut paw, no tail and looking very lost. She had been brought in as a 6 week old stray puppy. I wasn’t sure what type of breed she was but knew in my heart she was exactly the right one for me. Being a stray I had to wait a few days for the hold in case someone claimed her. Adopting her wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought. That night a forest fire was creeping close to the humane society and a call went out to come and rescue the animals. I tried to get there as quick as I could but the road was already closed. To save the building they called in an aerial bomber to fight the fires! Two days later the road was open and the stray hold was lifted. Arriving bright and early so I could be first in line to adopt her, she was gone. I was heartbroken. Slowly that day rescuers trickled back in, returning the animals they had saved from the fire. Staff said they would call if she was returned and many anxious hours later we received that call. The person who had rescued her during the fires wanted to know if we still wanted her. Of course we did! After all that, it was only fitting to name her Aerial Bomber. Aerial lived up to her name. An Aussie or Border collie mix, she loved to fly through the air catching Frisbees, and ran like the wind. She learned tricks in minutes. Understood every word I said. I had to change the word for squirrel at least 5 times because she learned every name I used and her mission was to keep them from our yard. She loved everyone and every dog she met, and made me smile every day. Aerial will always live in my heart, and truly was the best dog in the world.

Lisa Smith
FLAGSTAFF, AZ

Senior dogs make the best bouquets

Senior dogs make the best bouquets

As rescue advocates, we knew we wanted to include rescue dogs in our wedding. We had our 2 rescues walk down the aisle, and we had them represented in the signature cocktails and on the cake. But we also wanted to specifically promote senior dog adoption and hospice fostering, a concept we have always felt strongly about but especially after we hospice-adopted our 12 year old foster pit with advanced lymphoma in 2018. We hoped she would make it, but we lost her nearly a year to the day before the wedding. To honor her and all of our senior fosters who have found homes we invited local rescues to send adoptable seniors, hospice fosters, and dogs adopted as seniors to take photos with us. The dogs all came to the park and loved getting loved on by the bridal party for photos! We hope that the photos help raise awareness for senior dogs and hospice adoption and fostering, because all dogs deserve love at the end of their lives.

Sam C
LONG ISLAND CITY, NY

Ocean rescue

Ocean rescue

My husband and I used to take our karate class to the ocean beach during the summer for beach training. One year, with the car back seat full of coolers and food supplies, and my husband in front with his Peke dog, we saw a dog straddling the double yellow line of the 2-lane highway, looking completely panicked. I recalled a friend living in the southwest telling me how she’d picked up strays by the side of the highway, and I realized I could not let this dog go. I pulled over to the side of the road, to the concern of my husband and the dog, and beckoned the dog to come over. She looked at me with the expression on her face saying – really? Really?? I told her to come, and she bounded over and jumped in the back seat. With the help of one of our students, we bathed and fed her, and I tried to find her home nearby, but nothing. I’m pretty sure she’d had puppies a while back and either jumped from the back of a truck or was abandoned. This started one of the greatest love affairs of my life. I named her Ocean for her husky-blue eyes and where I found her. She was my first dog, and taught me more than I can ever repay. She got along with everyone, dogs, cats, people – her heart was pure and all love. She died over 3 years ago, but she still lives fully in my heart.

Tina
SEATTLE, WA