It was a dark and stormy night. Not really. It was a hot August afternoon in 2006. As I waited in reception at the vet’s office to pick up our cat, an older man and a young-adult woman came in. She carried something wrapped in a towel. All I could see were two little white ears sticking up over the towel. The young woman explained that her father was driving her back to college when they spotted a kitten on the side of the road. They pulled over and rescued the kitten, but the rescue left them with a hard decision. Neither of them could give the kitten a home, so they reluctantly decided to stop at the first vet they came to and arrange for his humane euthanization. Before starting on the paperwork, the young woman asked if I would hold the kitten while she wrote. That was when I saw the owner of those little white ears. I held a beautiful grey and white kitten. Fleas were visible all over him and there was a bloody hole where his left eye had been, and he was still beautiful. As I checked him over I was moved by the kindness and generosity of these people. Even though they couldn’t keep him they were willing to take the time and spend the money to save him from a grisly death. I’m not sure when I decided to take him home but it was probably when the vet tech asked me to hand him to her. The $35 euthanasia fee was returned to the young woman. We hugged and remarked on Karma and how the cosmos works. Everyone was happy with the outcome. Even though we weren’t looking for another cat it was hard to argue: destiny, fate, or some other cosmic force converged at the perfect time for Jack. In the end, we all came together, and we all saved Jack.
I've had several Maine Coons in my life, and spent a year grieving my last one. After moving to France, I started cruising the Maine Coon site but couldn't justify spending so much money on a kitten from a breeder. So I went to a rescue site and saw an ad for a cat described as very large, too large to be adopted, and mean-tempered. One look and I knew he was a Maine Coon. I called, and the woman told me he had been abandoned by his owner for 'being too big,' and they rescued him after he had been mauled by a dog. He hissed and hated everyone. I have never, ever known a mean Coon. I told her I would take him. So I drove on the hottest day of the year for 3 hours to "interview" this cat. A woman was fostering him and she had a dog of all things, so the Coon spent a week hiding under a dresser. No surprise. After being questioned by the rescue group, I walked into this woman's home, opened the carrier's door and softly called the cat. His big beautiful head poked out, we took one look at each other and to everyone's amazement, he walked into the carrier and curled up. Anywhere was better than here for him. We drove back home, with the carrier on the passenger seat. After a few minutes, he poked his paw out and we spent three hours with his big paw on my hand on the gear shift. Boubou was home. The vet checked him. He was underweight and matted. We fixed that, and for the next 16 years, Boubou was the gentlest, most even-tempered, loving Coon I've had. He wasn't large, he was huge and very dignified, and my friends adored him. He was also generous, letting me know when a stray that I fed was on my terrace. One very cold night, he actually persuaded the stray - who wouldn't let me touch him - to come Inside. Sushi (as I called him) was now home, and the two of them were friends until the Boubou left us a few months ago. There is no such thing as a mean Maine Coon.
Our retirement home is in a lovely wooded area, where homes were built on what used to be farmland. The person who owned the land had beagles, lots of beagles, & they ran all over our development. I saw two of them in our yard, and fell in love at first sight. When I learned that the two females had been picked up by animal control, I called & told them I wanted to adopt them. I didn't know they were both pregnant, so we brought home the 2 mamas & 4 puppies, just 3 days old. I was in heaven. One puppy died, but we found homes for the other 3 and kept the two mamas. We had to house-train them for everything. We lost a few books, some shoes, and they chewed on our sofa table. We use to lay puppy pads all over our carpet at night. But finally, they were mostly house broken. I learned that my two beagles were mother & daughter. It didn't take long for their son & brother to be adopted by us. We had his mother & sister, so he joined the family too! I have loved them the entire time, that was 10 years ago. I only have the son, Bandit, left. We lost Mama & Miley to cancer. Even with the pain of their loss, I wouldn't change a thing. They brought so much laughter & love into our lives!
Eight years ago my husband, our daughter and I went to a Farmers Market in Oak Park, IL. We were looking for cheese, vegetables, and books (the library was hosting used book sale). We got our veggies and cheeses and were walking to the book sale when we came upon an adoption event for the shelter where we had adopted our last 2 pets, Animal Care League. One of the volunteers had the only skinny beagle I have ever seen on a leash. It was love at first sight. When we heard her backstory we had to have her. She was between 2 and 3 years old, and was picked up by animal control on the street in Berwyn, Il. According to the vet, she had given birth to at least 2 litters of pups. Because we had a history with the shelter we were immediately approved on the one condition that she and our daughter’s dog could get along. I stayed at the event while my husband and daughter went home and got her dog. They did OK together, so Chloe came home with us. Chloe and our cat, Princess, became best friends. We faced many challenges, most in the first 2 years with Chloe. She could not be caged, panicked as soon as the door was closed, and wet and defecated. She got into the garbage any time we left the room. She is terrified of loud noises; thunder, fireworks, trucks, or motorcycles. (She has no fear of the vacuum cleaner.) She ate through a hollow-core door to get into the closet we kept the dog food in. We stuck to our commitment of being her forever home, and she rewarded us by being the most loving gentle dog I have ever known.
After I lost my last of 3 kitties, I thought I would not get another animal for a while. It was just so painful to lose them. But after a week my husband and I decided the house was too quiet, so we went to look for a new furry family member. We found a solid gray long-haired cat named Lucy. She was 2 years old and had been returned twice. I thought, this is it, we have to have her as she needed some stability. We soon found Lucy needed a LOT of attention, which I'd never experienced before with my previous cats. We then decided we'd start looking for a dog, and we were both nervous about it as neither of us had an indoor house dog. I began to volunteer at the SPCA in my area. While I worked mainly in the cat area, I'd go into the dog room each time I volunteered to check out the dogs. One day I came upon Jesse. His kennel said he was a 3-year-old Lhassa Apso mix. His hair was so overgrown and he looked pitiful, but his eyes just captured my heart. I Immediately called my husband and said I think I found our newest family member. I took a pic and took it home to show him. I called the shelter that same night and asked if anyone had dibs on Jesse and they said no. I went to the shelter the first thing the next morning and adopted him. He had been returned twice as well: the first time for resource guarding, and the second because he had been hit by a car and had a broken jaw, so the owners surrendered him to the SPCA. He had his jaw surgery, neuter surgery, and by the time we adopted him, he was all fixed up. Soft food and toys for a while, and he needed to gain a little weight, but otherwise fine. We ended up finding out after having him for eight weeks and after a jaw recheck, he was only 14 months old. We also found out through a DNA test, he has zero Lhaso Apso in him and he is primarily a Shih Tzu mix with a lot of other doggie DNA. It's been almost 4 years we've had Lucy, and 3 1/2 years we had Jesse. We can't imagine our lives without them; they bring so much joy each and every day. I would encourage everyone to adopt and give shelter animals a chance. They want nothing more than to be loved and they give it back tenfold. My husband and I look so forward to coming home each day and seeing our 4 legged kids so happy to see us.
Many years ago I had my first Bengal cat. He was so bonded to me that if I left him alone he'd pull out his hair. I took him to the vet, and the vet said it was stress and suggested I get him a kitten. This is where Nanny comes in. I saw a litter of Siamese-mix kittens that were going to be put down if no one took them. I'm in New Hampshire but contacted the rescue that had the kitten that was in Georgia. I chose Nanny, had her shipped up from Georgia, and she became the Bengal's best friend. I used to joke that he left me for another woman. Years passed and I lost the Bengal to cancer. Nanny was devastated. So later that year my daughter bought me another Bengal kitten. Nanny was happy again. Three years later, I got another little Bengal girl. Now the three cats and my German shepherd are one big happy family. By the way, I still call her Naughty Nanny because her love of shredding toilet paper has not stopped.
One frigid February morning, my co-worker asked if I would take a cat that needed a home. I already had two and told her I could not. But she told me that the cat had been locked in a basement for months, and then thrown out after it killed the owners 'pet' toad, also kept in the basement. She said the kitten kept trying to get into the nearby church on Sunday mornings, trying to get someone's attention for help. I was incredulous that not one of of these church goers ever did help this helpless kitten. After hearing this story I agreed to get the kitten, but I would not be able to drive to the location for 3 days. My co-worker called the kitten's owner, who said the cat would be kept on the back porch until I could come. Naturally I assumed that by back porch she meant an enclosed heated shelter. I could not believe what I saw when I came three days later. On a freezing February morning with howling winds in southern Michigan, there was this tiny terrified kitten on an outside concrete porch step in a tiny wire cage. This kitten had to survive like this for three days, exposed to the cold and wind with no protection. When I opened the cage, the kitten climbed to the top of my shoulder, desperate for help. I did not attempt to confront the owner because I was so angry I did not know what I might do. So I grabbed the cat and left. She is sweet and quirky, and still has multiple issues from her early dismal treatment. But she is safe and loved furever now.
Jasper was surrendered to a rescue group by his owners who said they were going to have a baby. He was 8 years-old and had been with his family since he was a puppy. I agreed to foster him and found a scared little schnauzer with such bad skin allergies that he had been shaved--no fur. He was sensitive and nippy if his feet or ears were touched or there was an unexpected movement toward him. In fact, early in our relationship, I startled him and ended up with several stitches in my hand. He was very apologetic afterwards. He was blind in one eye due to a cataract and just didn't look like he had been cared for well. He shook and cried when taken anywhere in a car. His preferred places were hiding under something--such as a blanket, throw, or rug. The rescue did not have money to address his skin issues, so I took him to my vet. He quickly became my dog, instead of a foster. In the 5 years I have had him, he has had several medical issues, and is now blind in both eyes. But he has fur again and thanks to Apoquel, his allergies are manageable. He knows he is home and finds his favorite places, even though he has no vision. He has two dog siblings and cat siblings as well, but he tends to do his own thing and ignores them most of the time. He has food, treats, a lot of petting, and a comfortable home. I tell him every day that I love him and he is mine for always. We are his forever family now!
I worked for a property management company. On my last week before I retired, we were notified that a little white dog had been left in a duplex alone for a week. My family had taken in stray animals, both cats and dogs. (We live in the country, and when people dump them they seem to find us. Because of coyotes and foxes we take them in to protect them, and we had been a dog-fostering family.) So of course I had to go after work and gather that little one in. She is a Lhasa Apso, and had belonged to an elderly woman who was an alcoholic and had dementia. After a welfare check, the paramedics took her to a nursing facility and no one noticed the dog. When I took her that evening, I had to take her immediately to Pet Smart and have her shaved, as she was so matted, dirty, and tangled with her long hair. It was impossible to tell her front end from her rear end. She had not been taken care of. Our intention was to return her to the woman if she was released, but when she died a month later, Snuggles became part of our family menagerie. 6 years later we belong to her, and this is her home not ours - just ask her.
Walking through my townhouse complex one evening, I saw a young girl feeding two kittens that looked to be about 8 weeks old. I asked her if they were her kittens and she told me that they were, but her sister was allergic to them so she asked her classmates if anyone wanted the kittens. When no one took them her mother just put them outside. I tried to get the kittens to bring them home, but they kept running from me. Scared that they would run into the nearby street, I aborted the mission for that night. I went back each day to try to find the kittens again but I couldn't find them and I didn't know exactly where that little girl lived. After a while of not seeing the kittens, I hoped that the mother had a change of heart and took them back inside or at least found a new home for them. About 6 months later, on the way to the trash, I saw the unique markings of one of the 8-week-old kittens on a now-grown-up cat. I couldn't believe it. I approached him but for every one step I took towards him he took two steps back. I ran home to get some food but by the time I got back, he was gone. Once again, every night I tried to find this gray cat with white feet and chest. Over the next several months, I would see him on someone's patio roof, by someone's car, on someone's porch. He was in a different area every night so it was hard to set out a trap for him. My "Grapes" sightings went on for years. Every time I found him I would baby talk to him and tell him how much I wished he would just come to me. One night I was walking in the parking lot. I felt a push on my leg and realized that he chased me and "tagged" me! I was finally making progress. I started talking to him in a silly voice, and this made him flop and roll. But he still would run when I came near him. He finally realized where I lived and would eat on my porch but I couldn't get him to come inside. A few months later, my husband and I bought a bigger house a few miles away. But every night I went back to where Grapes was, determined to bring him home. He would walk all around the trap but never go inside. One night, by crazy luck, I was able to sneak up on him and scruff him. Finally, after 7 years, this cat - who was thrown out like garbage and forced to survive all on his own - had a forever home.