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Animal Rescue Stories

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

The Little Princess

The Little Princess

I was working a Saturday adoption of an animal shelter. My husband and I had transported a dog to the center. We were talking to people and giving the history of the various animals. The day had been cloudy and slightly windy, so I continued to check the cages to keep the animals comfortable. As I made a circuit I saw a cat, rather skinny, with large green eyes and the worst case of dry skin I had ever seen. I also saw she had been recently spayed. I went to the director and said that I was taking Princess, paid my fee for the cat, wrapped her up and brought her home. Fifteen years. I kept her name; she made me her own. Fifteen years. She taps me on the arm to ask for attention or to go out. Also, no more dry skin. She is one of three with Ranger the beautiful black cat and Stanley Katz, M.D., my ginger-peachy guy. Other species make humans better people.

Laurel Mancini
VIRGINIA BEACH, VA

Milo My Wild Child

Milo My Wild Child

I trapped a feral kitten when he was about 6 weeks old and he lived in my bathroom so I could socialize him in a small space. I installed a small cat tree so he had something to play on, and when he was 3 months old I had him fixed and chipped and started looking for a forever home for him. A co-worker of a friend adopted him. Less than a year later, I received a call from Animal Care Services that they had picked him up in a TNR (trap-neuter-release) and since he was in good condition, they could just put him back in that neighborhood. I told them I would come and get him since that was not the neighborhood to which he had been adopted. He showed signs of abuse so I kept him even though I already had 4 cats. He is a trouble maker and will howl to go out in the middle of the night, but some of his other antics are just heartbreaking. He will jump up and run when I get out of my chair. He will also run if he is eating out of a bowl and I walk in the kitchen. We are working on all that. I can only assume that where he lived, they had other pets and he was not allowed to eat out of their bowls. He does bad things like jump on the kitchen counter or scratch the furniture when he wants out - Sticky Paws tape fixed that -but in order to reprogram him, I never react negatively to any of his behavior except with a quiet “no”. He looks right into my eyes and understands and slowly he is stopping most of it. He surprised me by being one of the most affectionate of all my cats and loves to be held close to my neck and have his jowls scratched and drool on my shoulder. He is still my wild child and wants to be outside as much as possible, but he is also a true love of a cat.

Carole
SAN ANTONIO, TX

My sweet Norton

My sweet Norton

My previous dog Matilda, the love of my life, had suddenly died in December of 2006, but I didn't feel ready to start looking for a new pooch until January of 2008. At that time, I started dipping my toe back in the rescue world and looking at Petfinder on-line. Then I received an email from my then-boyfriend (now husband) Brad. His friend LaSonia had found a little dog at an apt complex she was visiting and brought it home for safekeeping. She had been able to track down the poochie's owners, but they didn't want him back. Brad forwarded me the email thinking that I might know someone who would want a dog. That someone turned out to be me. We went and picked up Norton that next Saturday and brought him home. He turned out to be about 7 months old, with long hair, and a male. I had always said how I didn't want a puppy, and liked short-haired, dark-colored female dogs (like Matilda had been). Apparently, the universe had a different idea on the perfect dog for Brad & me. 12 years later, we still adore our long-haired, fawn-colored, male chihuahua Norton. He has had success as a pet therapy dog at an area nursing home and he brings joy to our lives every single day.

Carolyn Clark
RENTON, WA

Door Prize

Door Prize

One night I was standing outside the front door of an arts venue discussing the movie shorts we had just seen with my friends when something brushed my leg and meowed. I reached down to pet it and felt skin and bones. With a quick goodbye to my friends, I scooped it up and jumped in my car nearby. He rode on my shoulder all the way home and has been my constant companion and morning alarm clock ever since. He has shown signs of ill treatment as he hates to have his big bushy tail touched, but has gotten better about it over the years so I can get the burrs out that he picks up in my neighbor’s garden. He is also very resistant to being brushed, but at least now he no longer bites me for it since he knows he is my spoiled not-so-little boy.

Carole
SAN ANTONIO, TX

The Sun Rises and Sets Because of My Dawn

The Sun Rises and Sets Because of My Dawn

My husband and I spent months mourning the passing of Sammy, my sweet tabby boy who I met when he was hours old and stayed with me until he almost reached 19 years old. My heart was broken, but I was ready to love again. Dawn was the second cat of a pair of rescues I adopted. She tended to her frightened brother and helped him come out from under the bed. She charmed us right away, but took some time to completely let us in. Sadly, her brother passed away. When we added Winston to our family, she took him around our home and bonded with him immediately. She's been the queen bee from day one and the tender teacher to both of her brothers. The love she (and her new brother) brought to our lives is amazing.

Abby Frank
JAMAICA, NY

Happiest dog ever

Happiest dog ever

We got Molly at a local shelter. Best we can tell she is a Maltipoo. She was rescued from a hoarder - dirty, starving, covered in fleas, and heartworm positive. She weighed less than 3 pounds. We went through heartworm treatment with her and got her weight up to 8 pounds. She has never met anyone she didn't like and is the sweetest, happiest dog! I wanted a bigger dog, but my husband wanted her. So glad he won that argument. She is so easy to love. Wouldn't part with her for a million dollars.

PJ Tennies
SLIDELL, LA

2 year old doxie lost her owners

2 year old doxie lost her owners

We had adopted several doxies over the years and still had one older dapple at home, and decided not to adopt more as we are retired and wanted to travel some before adopting again. Then we saw a rescue with a young chocolate doxie who had lost his home. He lost 2 1/2 pounds in a week; wouldn’t eat; was skin and bones and was in distress. We saw his picture and immediately knew we had to try to adopt him. Luckily we were able to bring him home 3 weeks later; the rescue had been able get him eating; he gained his weight back. We named him Corky. He is very loving little guy; needy; wants to be on our laps at all times and doesn’t like being alone; maybe because he is afraid of losing another family. Loves his daily walks and of course, we share our bed with both our doxies. Corky is such a well mannèred boy. Whoever had him before us trained him well. We are very lucky. With the coronavirus, we have been self quarantining, so it’s been a great time to add another dog. Can’t imagine our home without him now, and who knows when it will be safe to travel again. Nothing better than a dog’s unconditional love!

Jody Thorsen
OMAHA, NE

Waiting a Long Time to Heal

Waiting a Long Time to Heal

A couple of months after the passing of our beloved Shih Tzu "Mitzi" my wife began looking for a furry healer for our broken hearts. She found "Buddy" at our local shelter. He wasn't the "Shih Tzu" that the shelter had advertised, but she still wanted me to meet him. I went the next day with her to the shelter and I was intrigued. We still hurt from losing Mitzi, but the hour we spent in the shelter's Meet and Greet room was enlightening. Our little "Chewie" was obviously a broken soul. He only wanted to spend time with my wife, occasionally offering me a few short visits here and there. He would look out the glass window any time anyone walked by as if he was hoping they would take him out of the shelter. His fur was very matted and his aroma was not at all pleasant. My wife said that Chewie had been in and out of the shelter and foster for 3 years, since he was a puppy. I wasn't sure I was ready for a new dog and I could tell that my wife had reservations as well, but Chewie thought my wife was his mama. It was obvious. I decided that Chewie needed us as much as we needed him in order for all of us to heal. We took Chewie home that night. The next day we went to the pet supply store to get our newest family member cleaned up and looking handsome. A couple of toys and some new supplies later, we were on the road to recovery as a family. Chewie was a broken little boy and it took a long time for him to come out of his shell. We noticed him starting to follow us around the house. He would occasionally make eye contact, and the accidents in the house decreased. Then one day he wanted up on our bed. He had shown no interest in the bed before, so this was a new experience. Up he went for a spin around the bed. We knew he was coming out of his shell when we left the bedroom to finish up some chores and left Chewie up on the bed to get used to the new surroundings. A few minutes after we left the room Chewie gave a little bark. We looked at each other and asked the same question. "Was that Chewie?". We went to the bed room and sure enough, there was Chewie looking at us with that "Well...." look in his eyes. He has continued to grow and become a wonderful, happy little man-pup. It has been 5 years since our journey began and has been rewarding for us all. He is a bit of a couch potato, but that's just fine with me. He likes to sit with me on our chair and I enjoy calling "puppy paralysis" whenever I can. He is still not sure, about his sister but that's another story.

Kurtis Van Cleave
ROY, UT

No one would adopt her

No one would adopt her

We were ready to adopt our second dog. We always have two. When we got to the shelter we asked for the least adoptable dog they had. We were shown to a pathetic little dog leaning against the bars of a cage with several other dogs. She looked terrible. She had a Mohawk sticking straight up and a deformed right paw. They said, “We’ll never be able to adopt out this one.” Of course we took her. My Mother in Law even said, “you’re not taking that one are you?!!” We had her for 13 wonderful years. Our Luci. She turned out to be one of the best dogs we’ve had. And everyone fell in love with her.

Patti Rae
BELLA VISTA, AR

From Hoarder to High Life!

From Hoarder to High Life!

Chevy aka “Doc” joined our family in March 2008. We had seen a horrific story on the news in February: “Today 85 dogs, 20 cats and 2 birds were rescued from an animal hoarder in Ohio”. The pictures were horrendous of the living conditions and the condition of the animals. This was way too close to home and my husband and I decided then we were going to rescue one of the dogs. The local humane society needed a couple of weeks to process and evaluate them; all malnourished, many with mange or worse. My first visit to one of their Adopt-A-Thons, I broke down in tears, how could anyone do this to these poor dogs. After spending over an hour visiting with them, the “right one” was not here. I spoke with one of the volunteers and she said that they would be having another Adopt-A-Thon the following weekend with more dogs; this coming up group needed an additional week of care and nourishment. So off I went with our rescued fur baby, Beamer, the following weekend. This event was held at a PetSmart and they encouraged bringing in your existing pet for compatibility. In we walked, looking in the cages at all the unsure eyes of precious scared fur babies. Beamer quietly sat next to a cage as I looked around. The volunteer said “I think she has chosen her friend”. I turned and peered in, way in the back of the cage was this thin, black and “tan” baby, trying to make the world go away. The volunteer got him out of the cage and he sat quietly in my lap, careful not to make eye contact, nothing but skin and bones, his hair stained by urine and feces. Beamer and “Doc” connected, the deal was done. Renamed Chevy (as he was thought to be part Cavalier King Charles ~ for those that remember the “Chevy” Cavalier), he clung to his sister and began to trust me, but he was scared to death of my husband. We surmised he had been abused by a man, as both of his canine teeth were broken, probably by being kicked, and his lip was scarred & puckered. After a few months of love, patience, snuggles, and FOOD, he started to settle in. To watch a severely abused animal blossom into all that they can be is amazing and heartwarming; we couldn’t have been more proud of him. Happy months turned to happy years, but in December 2018 reality hit our happy, perfect family: we lost his sister, Beamer, and were devastated. We picked up the pieces and became a family of three, forging new roads, spending as much precious time and travels as we could together. Then 2020 came along, we had managed through the large bladder stone surgery in 2019, but now we had irritating skin growths that needed to be removed, done. March came with a diagnosis of Cushing’s disease, he took that in stride too, then along comes April… inflamed gallstone. Due to his Cushing’s he needed a specialty Dr. for that surgery; he must have decided he had had enough surgeries, as he crossed the Rainbow Bridge on April 30, 2020. We are beyond devastated, but know that he had the BEST life ever with us and we are better humans for being his parents. Please adopt, don’t shop, as there is no truer love than from a rescued fur baby.

Linda Johns
OAK HARBOR, OH