Animal Rescue Stories

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

We'll take them all!!  was Wharf Rescue's reply

We'll take them all!! was Wharf Rescue's reply

WE’LL TAKE THEM ALL! Words that were to change my life and others. That’s what I was told happened when authorities were looking around our big city area for a rescue place to take a large number of cats discovered in a hoarding situation. The lady had become ill, I’m told the kitten I ended up with had been used as a weapon – thrown at the people who had come to help the lady. He wasn’t rescued that day but arrangements were made.


My 6 month old kitten was TERRIFIED of people. He had been rescued about 7 weeks before I saw him. He was neutered and vaccinated and had started to heal; however, he still had open wounds on him and it seemed the bruises lasted many months.


I had 2 cats and 2 Chihuahuas [my “30 lbs. of pet” family] and one of the cats died unexpectedly from a tumor at way too young [not quite 8]. Even my dogs grieved and my other cat put her paws on top the little cat post she had taught Dooley to use [she preferred the big one and he had needed teaching]. She put her paws on it and sobbed, it was heart-wrenching. Hard to explain, I didn’t know a cat could cry that way…


I saw the ad. I wasn’t sure I wanted a new pet, especially so soon, but that kitten needed us and we needed him. It amazed me when the foster mom brought him in a crate and my Chi’s didn’t make a peep, they must have known he was so traumatized already. She had started working with him by trailing some buttons on a string and teaching him to follow.


I couldn’t touch him the first 10 days and every tiny bit of progress took a lot of time. Good thing that me and the pets have a very quiet, happy and loving household and I talk sweet to the critters a lot. Dexter [formerly dubbed Mr. Orville] eventually came around and instead of looking like a homely cat, he now GLOWED. He is still scared of anybody that visits and never comes out but he’s certainly my buddy! He often can be found beside my elbow at the computer or nearby when I’m anywhere else. He’s grown to be the slightly-bratty but very happy brother kitty and treasured member of our little family. It took until this year for him to like boxes and decide crumpled paper can be great fun too so he is still progressing.


I don’t know how many cats came out of that hoarded home but no other rescue places had offered to take them all on except WHARF RESCUE. I am so very grateful!!


Dexter now loves being close to me, loves being brushed [even his tummy], will take a treat out of my hand, kisses me regularly and is a love to all of us. He’s been home now for 3-1/2 years. Here he comes to sit beside me and get his hug!

Debra Anderson
Alberta, Canada

Is that a dog?

Is that a dog?

Is that a dog?
I had just moved to Albania and was looking to volunteer with animals in my spare time when the local animal rescue posted some pictures of this... creature. The pictures of him were so pitiful. He was under a car, legs folded together. Bald spots showed through the few patches of fur he did have. He looked more like a sick rat than a sick little dog.
I was missing my dog back home and thought I could probably give this little guy a temporary place to stay. The person from the rescue told me to meet them at the local veterinarian. When I got there, I was surprised to see a bold little dog who was not at all scared of me and mostly pretended I wasn't there. He was suffering from mange and smelled terrible. He was definitely a dog, a little terrier mix of some kind. And he was going home with me.
In the beginning, I bundled him in a blanket and rushed him outside when he needed to go out, trying to avoid seeing my neighbors in the elevator. After all, the mange had made his bare skin scabby and raw. He smelled terrible.
As he began to get healthier, we took longer and longer walks. Then one night, we woke to the building swaying. It was an earthquake! I had no idea what to do except leave our building once the shaking stopped. We rushed down from our 5th-floor apartment down the stairs and outside. For the next few hours, we wandered around the park, not sure where to go or what to do. I felt a little less lonely with him there.
As the weeks and months went on, Ralphie became healthier. It was time to think about the next, permanent chapter in his story. Luckily, my sister had been following his story and fell in love with him. It was hard to imagine not seeing him anymore, so I was ecstatic that Ralphie would go live with her.
Now, he lives near the coast in the US. He finally gets to be his true doggy self, a feisty little terrier mix who loves to cuddle and march around his house.
I share this story because many dogs (and cats) in Albania are still waiting for homes somewhere in the world. Dogs as pets are still not very common for most Albanians yet, but there are dedicated people there trying to help them. If you are interested in donating, being a travel companion, or volunteering, please reach out to Animal Rescue Albania. If you travel to Albania and are willing to have a dog or cat travel with you when you leave, Animal Rescue Albania can make the arrangements for a dog or cat to travel with you, even if you are flying elsewhere.
Even if you don't travel to Albania, keep in mind that there are dogs worldwide in need of homes, even in the United States, and your next travel destination could mean helping another dog or cat get to their adoptive homes. Also, remember animal rescues are always in need of money to pay for medical treatment, so if you can donate, please do. If you can't donate now, help spread the word.

Nikki
SEATTLE, WA

Our baby

Our baby

Went home to Tennessee because my brother who was single was very ill. He died 2 days after I got there. 2 days later my daughter was outside when this wet dog showed up. It was going from driveway to driveway looking for his owner. The neighbor called the dog catcher to come and get him. When they showed up my daughter was frantic and I told her to bring him into the house. They do not have any type of shelter so he would go to the pound and euthanized in 3 days and we were not going to let that happen. I prayed we would find his owner before I had to go back to Colorado. I put it on facebook, we went to every lost and found on the internet but no luck. My daughter offered to take him and I said no, she has 4 rescues she did not need anymore. This dog was very loving and was a comfort to me and would come and lay on top of my feet or climbed in the chair with me and lay his head in my hand and go to sleep. He won my heart over and I told my husband I was bringing him home. He told me to get him neutered and get his shots. I still had a week to go before going back home so on the day before I left took him to my daughter's vet and had all the things done. The next day it took both my daughter and myself to get him in the truck. This was in March and we ran into all 4 seasons on our drive. He slept almost all the way to Hayes, KS where we stopped for the night. The next day we still had 5 hours of driving to do and he handled it very well. He has bonded totally with my husband who loves him very much. I don't know the circumstances that brought him to us that day but I thank God every day. He is a wonderful dog and makes us laugh every day. Oh by the way, the vet said he was 12 to 14 months old and was a full blooded Red Bone Coon Hound. All I have to say is someone lost the best dog we've ever had as far as temperament. He shows his love to us every day and loves to go to the dog park.

Janet Houghes
PARKER, CO

Jessy james

Jessy james

We picked up this little boy at a rescue shelter at 8 weeks of age. He was going to be put down because he had a hernia and the back part of his spine was deformed. Made an appointment at the rescue shelter and met him and immediately fell in love with him. Brought him home to live a very fun life with us. He loved to chase bubbles, and loved to go camping with us. Loved laying in the sun, and was the best dog anyone had ever met. Unfortunately, because cavalier King Charles are prone to heart conditions, he passed away this past Friday night from heart failure. I still wake up in the morning with tears in my eyes. I was with him when he died and he knew he was very loved. Eleven and a half years wasn’t long enough for me......

Theresa trace
AMHERST, OH

My Dearest Gusie

My Dearest Gusie

In 2012, while walking my dogs home from the hayfields next door, my rescue Molly suddenly had a heart attack and died right before our eyes. Howie, my other dog and Bob, my rescue kitty and I were in shock.

I’ve rescued dogs and cats since the 1970’s.

Howie was very sad and needed a best doggie friend. I went to my local shelter and was met by a friend who volunteered there. She was walking “Blackie”. Blackie was rescued from a hoarding situation and wasn’t doing well there. She was terribly frightened and was shutting down. My friend asked if I had come to look at the available dogs. When I said I was, she implored me to save Blackie. How could I possibly say no! When I brought Howie to meet her they both were overjoyed. There was lots of sniffing then play bows. That’s when we watched them race about the enclosure and I knew Howie and I found our new best friend.

Blackie became Gusie , named after my dearest uncle Gus. Howie died of old age in 2015. He was a spectacular fellow and we missed him desperately. Several months after our sorrow softened it was once again time to open our home and hearts and I began my search for our new family member.

We found Dora at a wonderful rescue near home. She quickly became Gusie’s dearest friend and stole our hearts. Since rescues’ ages are unknown, we did not know how old Dora was. She came to us in 2015 and left us in February 2020, dying of splenic cancer.

Poor Gusie is so hoping we can bring someone home-me too! Someone a bit older, mellow and definitely gentle with cats. Both of us are seniors now which means we have some limitations, but we have so much love to give and share with a dog in need of a new home that I will keep searching for a new best friend for my Dearest Gusie.

Marjory Greenberg-Vaughn
SAUGERTIES, NY

Poe who needed me as much as I needed him.

Poe who needed me as much as I needed him.

My husband works in China. He is a principal of an international school. I was there too. For the first time in a very long time I was without a dog or cat. One day I saw this tiny skinny puppy beside the road. He wagged his little tail at me. I told my husband about it. The thought of that puppy wouldn't leave my mind. The next day he was beside our complex's guard house. Then the day after that he was still there. I rushed to our apartment and quickly cooked some chicken and rice. My husband said that maybe I should take the puppy some food. I said that was what I was doing. I gave him the food and some water. He gobbled it up. I asked the guard about the pup and looking concerned, he said please take him. So I did. He was a tiny, scabby, starving, pot bellied, bug eyed mess of a puppy with a gimpy hind leg as though he had been kicked or hit. I bathed him and fed him again and gave him a pillow to sleep on. We wondered if he would still be alive in the morning. He was. I went to the store and got him dog food and some toys. Took him to a vet. They said he was only about a month old. I loved him and fed him. He thrived. The leg is perfect. You would never know anything was ever wrong with it. He can bounce higher than any dog I have ever seen. I brought him back to Canada with me. There is more to the story, believe me.

Ellen Bone
Salmon Arm, Canada

From Abused to Unequivocal Love

From Abused to Unequivocal Love

I am in a shih tzu rescue. One of my friends, who was the manager of a local animal shelter at the time, texted me a photo of this greasy, shaggy, semi-hairless, but apparently full-bred shih tzu whose left eye was practically laying on his cheek. He had been brought into her shelter by the animal control officer who, based on the tzu's condition, advised my friend to put him down. Instead, she texted me and asked if my rescue could take him. I got approval to go get him, take him to our vet, and eventually foster him. When I went to pick him up, he was a mess. I carried him to my car, holding him at arms-length, and took him straight to our vet. Three days later, I went to pick him up. He had been bathed and his coat was shining; his eye had been removed and the opening expertly stitched so that you really couldn't tell that the eye was missing; and he had been neutered. He was handed to me, and he looked up at me with total trust in his one good eye as I carried him like a baby to my car -- and I knew immediately that I was a goner. He was going nowhere. He was home. I was later told by a doggie skin specialist that the hair on his rear-end would probably never grow back as a result of some kind of trauma -- the same trauma that more than likely cost him his eye. We did comb-overs in that area, and, although he had no undercoat there, his coat looked pretty enough. He lived with me for 12 wonderful years before I finally had to have him put down. Never in my life have I loved a dog as much as I loved him. He was my "soul dog," and I pray that I see him again some day.

Margaret Harpr
ARLINGTON, TX

Who rescued who?

Who rescued who?

A friend from work found our little guy cold and shivering on a stoop in North Philadelphia. They tried to knock on the door, but the people (who were clearly there) wouldn't answer. He was so scared and so aggressive the only way they were able to pick him up was with a pair of oven mitts. After months of fostering and showing him unconditional love he was ready to go to a forever home, and we were ready to bring him home. The first night he was so scared we were up most of the night with him. Finally in the wee hours my husband sat in his favorite chair, threw a blanket on his lap, and that was it. Charlie jumped up on his lap and slept the rest of the night. To this day, that is his favorite place to be. Daddy is his favorite person and I'm ok with that because he is my favorite person too! We also have another furry baby, a 12 year old rescue. His name is Utley and they have become the best furry siblings. We were a little worried about Utley thinking he wasn't #1 anymore... but they love each other so much. Sometimes when I sit and watch them playing I get a bit teary, so happy that everything lined up perfectly and he is safe with us... forever.

Belinda Harper
FOLSOM, PA

Best Buddies

Best Buddies

In 2003 my father decided to adopt a dog from the local shelter. He was a husky mix. My father lived alone after losing my mom to cancer.

In 2006 my father became ill and passed away. I was in charge of my father's affairs. I did not know what to do. My partner, Bob, whom I lived with wanted him to come and live with us. Of course, I agreed.

Bob changed his name to Buddy. And they certainly became that. They were inseparable. Wherever we went, Buddy came along. The dog became Bob's life.

In 2017 Bob became ill and Buddy was 14. Buddy was failing also. I prayed that Buddy would out live Bob, but that was not to be. Losing Buddy was more than Bob could endure. He passed about one month later.

The best buddies are buried together and are taking their daily walks in heaven.

Best buddies for eternity.

Fern Farley
WARWICK, RI

He was going to be put down for being too fearful.

He was going to be put down for being too fearful.

In April of 2019, we sent our beloved 14-year-old Jack Russell mix over the rainbow bridge. My son and I were volunteering on Sunday mornings at our local rescue shelter, and I had already tried to convince my mom and my husband to foster a dog in need, but they said they weren't ready. One Sunday morning in June, my son and I showed up for our volunteer shift. He went to the cattery to take care of the kitties, and I headed out to the backyard to check in with our volunteer supervisor and help with morning turn out with the dogs. As soon as I opened the door, this little sack of skin and bones comes running up to me, tail wagging a mile a minute. He was so happy to meet me! I fell instantly in love, and so did he. Our rescue transporter had just brought him in the afternoon before from a rural high-kill shelter. He was on their euth list for being too fearful. I was incredulous! This friendly, happy guy? We had to kennel him so the rest of the dogs could go outside and then back in for breakfast. Every time he heard my voice, or saw me walk by, he'd wag his tail and let out a plaintive, "Roo-roo!" After all the dogs were fed and had play time, I noticed he hadn't touched his food. My son and I took him into the office where I hand fed him and he played with my son and me. He was just so happy to be with us! The following weekend the shelter was undergoing some repairs and we were asked to bring him into our home just for the weekend. Although my mom and husband were skeptical, within an hour they had decided he was the perfect dog for us. He walked in as though he had lived here his whole life, and he's been a part of our family ever since. He was 14 pounds when we first met him, and now he's a healthy 24 pounds, and everybody's best friend. He is our unicorn dog. I am forever grateful to the rescue transporter who got him out and brought him into our lives.

Kelly A
OVERLAND PARK, KS