Animal Rescue Stories

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

Harry Sato, the best cat in the world

Harry Sato, the best cat in the world

My dear cat, Harry, died in 2006. He had been a faithful companion to me for 16 years. He was my baby, my buddy, my confidant. He was a great cat. His purr was so strong you could hear it across the room. He was polite, but friendly to everyone. He met me at the door after work each day and voiced his concerns if I was slow to serve up dinner. He loved pizza sauce, spaghetti sauce, and milk, but what he really loved was shrimp. I knew I could not go to Red Lobster for dinner without bringing a shrimp home for him, because he’d smell shrimp on my breath and demand his share. He wasn’t a brave kitty, although he would have liked you to believe he was. But on his last day, he was very brave, more brave than I, when the vet gave us the bad news. I knew then that he knew, had known the last night how sick he was. So we said our sad good-byes and I held him as he went to sleep. And that Harry – he went out purring, just like a trooper. Dear, dear Harry, he was the best.

Cynthia S Sato
PRUDENVILLE, MI

Taking a Chance on Chance

Taking a Chance on Chance

After having to put down our beloved Whitney due to liver failure, it did not take my daughter and I long to realize we needed another dog. A couple of weeks later, we went down to the local animal care and control to look for our new family member. We had agreed to look for a female dog, at least two-years of age and not bigger than thirty-five pounds, as we felt with our living environment, this would be best. There are always so many wonderful animals at the local public pounds and it is always hard to walk through and try to pick out one with so many fearful and hopeful faces begging you will pick them. We went through the kennels looking at various dogs and while there were many that I pray found the right home, we were unable to find one that "spoke" to us. My daughter and I decided to go through the kennels separately and look over the dogs again. After some time and having a few dogs brought out to interact with us, my daughter came up and handed me a small steel-grey puppy, literally pushed him into my arms and said, "Like this one". This little puppy snuggled his head into my neck and let out the biggest sigh of relief - and my heart just melted. Instead of a two-year-old female who would be no more than thirty-five pounds, we ended up adopting a ten-week-old male (that was found on the streets as a stray) who the pound told us would grow to be around fifty-five pounds. Oh, he was a handful, potty training, going through the teething phase, learning to walk on a lead and all the other obligations that come with a new baby puppy. He got his name when we were visiting a friend a couple of days after adopting him. Our friend had a female rottie (Katie), and while we were visiting, treats were given to each of the dogs. My puppy gobbled his up and then ever so slowly, creeping inch-by-inch approached Katie, keeping a close eye on her. Katie just watched him and showed no aggression whatsoever. Finally, when he was close enough, he darted in, grabbed the treat that was between Katie's paws, and ran off like the dickens with it. At that point I knew his name - Chance. While Chance was always a handful, he was a great dog. Always wanting to please, accepting of training and one of the best family members anyone could hope for. He became"my" dog in more ways than one and became "that one special dog" everyone has at one point in their life. In the fall of twenty-ten, I noticed Chance seemed to be losing weight for no reason. We went to visit our vet who seemed to know from the moment he walked in the room what we were dealing with. Chance had an auto-immune disease that was attacking the proteins in his body. The vet advised there were medications we could try; however, the prognosis was guarded at best. One evening, about five weeks into treatment (and I still don't know why this night) I put Chance's head into my hands and pulled his face to mine. I told him I would miss him terribly, but I would be okay. When he was ready to let go, I would help him and be with him as he crossed. The next morning when we went out for a potty and walk. Chance walked to the gravel area and went potty and then pulled towards the house. Even with as bad as he had to have been feeling those last weeks, he always looked forward to his walks. I tried to coax him to go walking, but he just kept pulling back to the house. That prompted a call to the vet who said to bring him in right away. As the vet explained to me, the disease had moved into Chance's lungs and they were not deflating correctly. He was starting to slowly suffocate, it would only get worse and there was nothing that could be done to help. At only five and a half years old, it was time for Chance to leave us. Chance had let me know that morning that he had fought all he could, and it was time. He was so loyal even to the end, and it still seems as if he was waiting for me to tell him I would be okay with him crossing before he took that journey. The passage of almost nine years has not softened the loss I feel, and the tears still flow as I write this. Although I have had several other personal dogs that I have loved dearly, and have fostered for a wonderful rescue and helped countless other dogs find loving homes, the loss I feel for Chance has never gone away. As I said, Chance was "that dog" for me. He will always be in my heart, and I know when it is my time, brat that he is, he will push his way to the front of the pack to meet me at the Rainbow Bridge.

Kris Arnold
MESA, AZ

Dumpster dog with newborn pups....

Dumpster dog with newborn pups....

I was recently blessed with a bouncing baby girl........with a tail, lol!! I named her Fortza, which is the Italian word (forza) for "strength,"....and here's why: Fortza was found tore up, scratched and emaciated in a dumpster with a litter (5) of day-old puppies. She was believed to have been a bait dog (used for dog fighting) based on her condition upon arriving at the Palmetto Animal Clinic. Apparently, a non-English speaking man saw the dog and her puppies in a dumpster somewhere in Palmetto, and brought all of them to the Palmetto Animal Clinic. My friend Estella Pena, made me aware of this dog/situation by tagging me in a Facebook post. I instantly offered to adopt this little angel after she was done nursing her pups. Unfortunately, Fortza was in such bad shape herself, she didnt have any immunity to pass on to her babies, so tragically they all passed away (Fading Puppy Syndrome). Fortza is only about a year and a half old. I've been visiting Fortza for the past month at the Palmetto Animal Clinic where Paula Rowell and her awesome team nursed, trained and LOVED this little gal back to good health. Paula put soooo much of her time and heart into working with Fortza!! I'm the biggest fan of Paula's heart, and feel absolutely honored to know her. She's incredible, guys!! Paula Rowell and her team at the Palmetto Animal Clinic have a non-profit, donation-based Angel Fund that is used to cover the cost of the medical recovery efforts for animals found in heartless situations, like Fortza. I'm happy to report that Fortza is gaining weight, full of energy and is an absolute lover. She never leaves my side, and falls asleep on me or in my arms every night. She's getting along incredibly well with the other dogs in my neighborhood!! She's a 'lil timid with people, but warms up instantly to women. She is still untrusting/fearful of men, but we are really working on it...just this evening she waggingly approached my (male) next door neighbor (who didn't even have treats!!)!! This 'lil mama is the epitome of strength and love. I'm in total awe of how trusting she is already, and how well she's acclimating to everyone and everything. Progress, not perfection is our goal, and baby steps will get us there. I'm so proud and completely honored to have this amazing little heartbeat as my new copilot on this journey!!

Abby Ciosici
BRADENTON, FL

Little Pigeon

Little Pigeon

Pigeon was found looking for food in a garbage bin by a friend who was not able to have animals where she lived, so Pigeon found a home with me. She was a little kitty with super soft fur and loved to climb up as high as possible. She adored chewing on the tomatoes I left on the kitchen counter, and also liked to eat cantaloupe and oatmeal. She was the cuddliest kitty ever and would stand up on her hind legs with her front paws lifted up to show me that she wanted to be picked up. I often thought that she would have happily have let me carry her around all day long. Sadly, she died a few years ago and I still miss her terribly. I hope that she is climbing the trees in God's garden and has found some tomatoes to chew on and cosy angel laps to snuggle in.

Patricia Lyndale
ANN ARBOR, MI

Fitz and Me, and how he saved me

Fitz and Me, and how he saved me

I fell in love with Fitz when I saw his picture online through a Rescue. I told the Rescue owner I really wanted him but wasn't sure I was ready since recently losing my previous dog to lymphoma and I was going through a very deep depression. She knew how much I needed him and rather than letting anyone else take him, she held him for me. Several weeks later, I met Fitz in person and he has brought love and joy into my life every day since then, almost a year ago. Just 5 days ago we had a terrible house fire and miraculously survived. When the flames started, I grabbed Fitz and ran. We don't currently have a home, but we have Fitz. Nothing else matters!

Karen Blattner
GRAND RAPIDS, MI

He was my Valentine

He was my Valentine

I was sitting on my patio one night, just enjoying the quiet, when I saw a big black cat walk around the corner of the house and let out a big meow. I asked him if he was hungry, and went in to get some food and water. When I returned outside he was sitting on the chair I left. I put the food and water down and he came over and rubbed on my legs and ate up all the food. He then jumped up on the chair and took a nap. I thought maybe he belonged to one of the new neighbors that just moved in, so I thought he'd return home after his nap. I got up the next morning and he was there on the chair waiting for me. I got him more food/water and went to work. When I got home he was still there. It was supposed to get in the 30's that night so I build a little shelter for him. I already have 3 cats in the house so it wasn't an option to bring him in. He stayed with he for the next two weeks, then one Saturday morning I came out and he had cuts on this face and ears and frozen saliva on this face. I took him to the vet that day had him neutered and shots. I took him home and kept him in a small bathroom for two weeks until the rescue would take him. I brought him to the rescue on Saturday 9 Feb 2013 and cried all the way home. I couldn't get his sweet face out of my mind so on Thursday 14 February 2013 I went to the rescue and adopted my handsome boy. I named him Waffles since when I introduced him to one of my other cats Pancakes, they became best pals. He's still my sweet loving boy, but will always be my Valentine.

Joy Kosloske
NORTH LAS VEGAS, NV

My heart rescue Boy

My heart rescue Boy

We had just lost a fur baby at the age of 13. A family member gave us this little ball of black and white fur to help us heal. He did more than that, always such a sweet guy. I did have another dog too and within a couple months found out he had full blown stomach cancer. Our new boy was there for me. The sick one was beyond help when the vet found it. So Buster was the perfect gentleman, stayed with him (Levi) when he felt bad, and followed him every where... up 'till the day he was gone. He just let me hug and cry on him. He was lonely, so I adopted another, a female. They got along great. 6 yrs later, Molly was at the vets and they found she had an enlarged heart. All the meds and checkups couldn't hep her. During this time, Buster always the gentleman, stood beside her also. Slept with her; the day she left us, he was beside her as she took her last breath, and so was I, holding her, kissing her and telling her how much I loved her. He was kissing her face. When she was gone, he sat and just looked at her. I could tell both our hearts were broken, he had lost 2 friends in 6 yrs. Buster is almost 9 now and my heart boy. He's not the healthiest guy, but he is the most loving friend I have ever had. Been there for me when I really needed him. There is a bond with him that could never be broken. Since all that, I've had both total hip replacements. I'm not doing good with them, he helps me if I get down and can't get up. If my pain is bad, he cuddles me, as I do him when he has pain from his arthritis. This is my love boy, my heart dog. I love him sooo much. I know when his time comes, I will be beyond devastated. Until then, we will just be each others' best friend, and love each other unconditionally.

Lynn Vance
SMITHFIELD, PA

He owns my heart!

He owns my heart!

A friend in rescue called me while I was on an outing and said they have a furbaby that needs rescuing, but they need a foster. I Said of course, this being my first time ever to foster. My sweet boy came to us with a gunshot wound to his front leg and all ribs showing. We nurtured and loved, went to therapy and fed small meals. We taught this baby how to be in a home. When we first brought him home he would only go in the front door and to the couch; after some time, we taught him that it was ok to explore the house and to climb steps. Thru all of this he taught me a new kind of love. After several months of healing and getting love, I knew I was going to be a foster failure but I also knew the love I felt for him was special and he returned the love full circle. Today he is healthy, loved and happy. He is an Anatolian Shepherd and one of the loves of my life.

Mary Ann Smith
LOUISVILLE, KY

Lonely Ol' Guy

Lonely Ol' Guy

Now, keep in mind that I was not looking to take home a dog. Our son moved away and took his dog with him. My husband and I were heart-broken, but also figured that they would both be back. At the same time we thought that this was our time to start living for ourselves; our children are grown and moving on with their lives, we have no other responsibilities; this is our time! I went to an event to sponsor and help our local Shelter, but it wasn't long before I saw out of the corner of my eye this quiet Ol' Guy curled up on a blanket. When someone passed by, he would stand up and wag his friendly tail. He was waiting for someone to pay attention to him but probably because of his dull coat, kinda skinny body, and most likely his age, people would just look and pass him by without even a "good boy" or a little pet on his head, walking around him so he couldn't even make contact with them. After they passed by, he would just hang his head and curl back up on his blanket. This happened several times before my soft, sap-sucker heart gave in. I went over to him. His name is Mickey! Mickey curled up on my lap and just sat there with a big smile on his face and his tail wagging so fast that I thought he was going to take off - rear end first (LOL). He just sat there so happy. Obviously I started asking questions about him; how old is he, where did he come from, how long has he been in the shelter, is he kid and cat friendly (we have grandkids and cats), how is he in the house...all the normal questions. Well, Mickey is about 10 years old, loves everyone, loves to go in the car, is crate trained, walks like a champ on a leash and is good in the house. He was found roaming the streets one evening during the summer. With the heat we were having in Upstate New York, they don't know how he was surviving with most likely no regular source of water. He was in the shelter about 5 - 6 months. I started falling apart. How could someone just let this happen, letting an animal roam the streets of town? Well, you know what happened. I put in my application for Mickey. I was the first and only applicant he ever had. When I went to pick Mickey up a few days later, (they don't have instant adoption), I was informed that his $250 adoption is paid. For Mickey's entire stay at the shelter, some kind sole from another state paid for his care and adoption fee. I am so grateful for this person. I still gave the shelter a donation! Well, here it is February 2019 and Mickey has been traveling with us. He has been to the New York State Fair, went to a football game 247 miles from home...ok, he stayed at the hotel when my husband and I went to the game. His biggest travel was 1,965 miles one way. We took him to Texas, as well as many other places including local visits to family and some friends' homes. Once a month Mickey goes to Doggie Daycare - who ever thought :) This gives him a day to play with other dogs and get out of the house during the winter. The short of Mickey's life now is that he has most of the house to run in, I come home for lunch during the week to break up his day and let him out to "do his business", he has 4 days a week when someone is home because of our work schedules, and he sleeps on a hammock instead of a cold, concrete floor. Our son's dog is home for now so Mickey has company. He is a happy guy and willing to please. We know that he is old and our time with him may be short but at least he has a family who loves him and will be there for him no matter what!

Samantha
FONDA, NY

My Big Beautiful Kissie

My Big Beautiful Kissie

I already had 6 cats, so when I saw a posting on NextDoor of a "beautiful, long-hair cat" who had a pretty tragic abandonment story, with the notation on the post, "does anybody have room in their home or heart for this cat?" I thought to myself, "What a beautiful cat. But I'm full up." So I replied that I had room in my heart, but not my home. Then came the posting that if nobody could adopt this precious fur-baby, it would be taken to a shelter. This was in May (kitten season), and I know an adult cat has very little chance of surviving or being adopted from a shelter at that time of year. So I bit the bullet and replied that I would adopt it. Then the lady who found the cat told me the whole story. She was driving past an empty corner in her housing development and saw what looked like a nice duffel bag sitting by the side of the road. She stopped to check it out. It turned out to be an airline-approved, soft-sided cat carrier with this poor cat sealed up inside - in May, when temps are in the 80-degree-plus range - a bag of stuff next to the carrier, and no note or indication whatsoever that there was a live animal inside. Once she realized there was a cat in there, she checked out the bag of stuff next to the carrier. There was a 3/4 full bag of prescription urinary tract cat food, four brand new scratching pads, and 7 or 8 cat toys. Lord only knows how many days the poor thing was sitting by the side of the road, in a black carrier, with no food, water or litter tray. She took the cat to the county shelter to check for a chip, but there wasn't one. They told her it was an unspayed female. She brought me the cat the next evening, along with all the stuff that had been left with it. Since I had 6 other cats, I didn't want to allow them all to interact until I'd taken the new cat to my vet to be checked for diseases. That night, I put the new cat in my bathroom (I live in a trailer, so we're talking SMALL bathroom) and slept on the floor with "her" because she'd already been abandoned once, and I didn't want her to be psychologically traumatized even more. During the night, every time I turned my face to her, she'd respond by "kissing" my face, so I named her Kissie. The next day, she got a clean bill of health from the vet, but she was so dehydrated, they couldn't draw enough blood to test her general health. They also asked me, "How did the shelter know it's a female? They didn't shave her." I'd wondered the same thing. The shelter told the lady who found her that if they did anything other than a cursory examination, she would be legally obligated for one year as the "owner" of the animal. Anyway, I'd noticed Kissie's beautiful, long fur was quite matted. She did NOT like being combed or brushed, clawing and nipping when I tried, so after a couple of weeks I took her back to the vet for sedation and shaving. I asked them, "While you're there, can you shave the pertinent parts and find out for sure if it's a male or female?" Later that day, they called to give me the blood test results, saying, "He has nothing abnormal on the blood test." I said, "HE?" They said, "Yes!" So my Kissie had a sex-change overnight. Since the blood tests were fine, I decided that everybody was going to change from the dry food they were currently being fed to urinary tract food, since Kissie had been given a prescription for that, so he must have had some kind of testing to determine that. My vet also told me he was neutered and had recently had his teeth professionally cleaned. They estimated he was about 7 or 8 years old. Adding it all up - the several hundred dollars the carrier would have cost, the prescription Royal Canin urinary tract food, the professional teeth cleaning (also several hundred dollars), the neutering - my only conclusion was that SOMEBODY had really loved this cat. The lady who found him guessed that his previous owner had died, and the family didn't know what to do with him so they just LEFT HIM BY THE SIDE OF THE ROAD. He has some personality issues - he claws and bites when I do anything he doesn't like - but that's how God made him, and I love him that way. I just have to pay close attention to his body language. He is a supreme cuddler, putting both his arms around my neck every time we cuddle, which is pretty much any time I hold still long enough for him to climb on. I thank the Lord every day for allowing this wonderful, beautiful, loving soul to come into my life, and I think all the time what a horrible waste of this incredible amount of love, had my Kissie been sent to the shelter.

Ms. Fred Boucher
BRIGHTON, CO