Animal Rescue Stories

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

Three kitties

Three kitties

Our cat, Milo, unexpectedly died at the vet’s office. We were devastated. We decided to go to the shelter to see the cats there and maybe find one or two to bring home with us. We visited with a couple of them and then took a look in the kitten room. Three litter mates were in one cage playing with each other. We fell in love, but just couldn’t fathom having three cats. We had to leave as the shelter was closing. We decided we wanted to adopt one or two of those three kittens but which ones? We couldn’t leave one by itself, so I went back as soon as the shelter opened next and ran in and asked if all three were still available for adoption. They said, “yes” and I said, “we want all three.” Maddie, Ben, and Jerry have never had to be alone. They have been so much fun! Adopting from a shelter is the best way to go for sure. We can’t imagine life without our three kitties.

Sheryl Williams
LEANDER, TX

Rita, the Throwaway We Found

Rita, the Throwaway We Found

When my husband was working as a driver, he saw all parts of the city, industrial and residential alike. One night he passed through an area of old warehouses, and a little cat dashed in front of his van and disappeared. The next night, he returned to the place with some makeshift bowls and dry cat food. And that began his friendship with a little feral cat colony of mostly black and white tuxedo cats. He got them through a Minnesota winter, and spring brought with it a new "cloud of kittens," as he called it. It also brought the attention of the warehouse owner. He wanted the cats gone. The workers warned my husband, who had a chance to buy and set a trap. Soon we had most of the colony living on our porch. On his very last day of trapping, two tiny Siamese kittens showed up, barely weaned, and definitely not related to the older tuxedo kittens. The vet told us they were probably rejects from a breeder, who must have seen the colony and knew the kittens would be cared for there. Rejects!! They came home with us to become our much loved baby kittens, the only real kittens we'd ever had. Long slender Cookie was so perfectly beautiful, but she carried her tail curled over her back like a little Husky, and had a bump on her aristocratic nose. Rita was chunkier than Cookie, and had white markings, lots of them! She is definitely not a "perfect" Siamese! From the beginning, she was a little fireball. As a kitten, she had to have medicine, and would hide under my dresser. I would reach one arm underneath, and she would attack with all her tiny fury, sinking all her teeth and claws into me. Then I could just pull my arm out with her attached -- I thought of it as fishing for Rita. Cookie succumbed to cancer 3 years ago, but Rita will be 18 in March, despite her kidney disease. She is spoiled rotten, and given anything her little heart desires. She's partially deaf now, and so with her big Siamese voice, she is deafening when she wants something. We have a new rescue cat, a tuxedo named Rounder, and although he's bigger, younger and more energetic than she is, she can wither him with just a frosty glare from her icy blue eyes. But we couldn't love her more if we tried. She is the most precious "reject" I can imagine, and her continued presence in our life is my perfect Valentine.

Annie
MINNEAPOLIS, MN

Little Buddy: My Feral Friend

Little Buddy: My Feral Friend

I used to drive a taxi. It's by no means a good job, especially in those pre-Uber days, when you were always assigned some cab with a filthy steering wheel and a funny smell, and every potential rider knew you were alone and carrying cash. But it had one huge advantage for me: I didn't have a car. Doing errands like grocery shopping without one can be a bear, especially when you add in the weather Minnesota can throw at you in winter. So one night I was dropping off in the north part of the city, and I saw a little cat. I slowed down and it dashed in front of me and into some overgrown bushes. The next time I drove, I went prepared with food and water, which I shoved as deep as I could into the bushes. From then on, I made sure I delivered food and water at least every two or three days. Eventually, my wife and I took a job that we could car-pool to with a friend. The pay was much better, but this meant I had to ride my bike up north (we live in the city's southeast side). And of course, that included the winter months. During the middle of the first winter, I managed to get a homemade cat shelter to the area behind the bushes. I could see he was using it, but I didn't see him often. After I put the food down, I made a clicking sound, and sometimes he would magically appear, but he always kept his distance. After the second winter, I decided I didn't want either of us to go through that again. I waited to feed him a bit longer than usual, then baited my live trap, leaving it partially hidden behind the bushes. I got him on the first day, poor hungry boy. I had him neutered and vaccinated, and then released him near my home. WHY??! Well, we already had some indoor cats, and I wasn't sure whether they'd all get along together. I also was worried that he'd be miserable inside. It was a dumb decision, though. But as he's gotten older, he's gotten tamer. I rigged the basement window under the deck to be a cat-door with a ramp down to his choice of beds. He regularly comes in when I'm there, stopping halfway down so we can butt heads. He throws himself down with abandon and makes air-biscuits, purring all the while. He's still a bit afraid of hands, but sooner or later, he'll be my little indoor Buddy. I just know it.

Tom
MINNEAPOLIS, MN

My Fluffy story

My Fluffy story

Fluffy was abandoned at an apartment complex I lived in. I made sure there was fresh food and water daily for her. It was middle of summer on AZ. She finally walked up to me when I was sitting outside and jumped on my lap and started purring. She ate the Tempation treats I had right out of my hand. Glad she picked me as her human companion.

Sheri Blommer
MESA, AZ

Mother's Day 1999

Mother's Day 1999

A couple of months before Mother's Day, my cat of five years was diagnosed with Feline Leukemia. I did everything I could to help her; it progressed so quickly I eventually had to put her down (heartbreaking). I went back to the vet to pick up the body on Mother's Day, noticed two kittens in a cage, and asked about them. They were sisters, and adoptable. I sat in the car shedding a few tears, then finally went back in, knowing I could only give one a home. So I adopted one of them that day. I named her Willow. That was almost 19 years ago. We love her as much or more as the day I adopted her. Giving an animal a home is one of the most heartwarming things a person can do. ♥♥♥

Anita Waters
CLIFFSIDE, NC

Daisy Saved Me

Daisy Saved Me

When you lose someone you love you think your world has ended. That happened to me in 2018. My daughter was murdered. I was totally lost in my grief despite seeing a grief counselor. Even prior to our daughter's death, I had been telling my husband how badly I wanted a big yellow dog. We had lost our Golden in 2017. My husband kept refusing because we still have our other dog, Tucker. One day John went to the shelter where we have adopted all of our dogs, and asked if they had any big yellow dogs. The answer was yes - a dog was surrendered two hours earlier. We adopted her on the spot! She is very big and she is yellow! I named her Daisy - my daughter's favorite flower. Daisy immediately realized her job was to save me. And she has done just that. She has pulled me out of some of my darkest hours. God has blessed me with this beautiful soul.

Gail Drury
GALLATIN, TN

Loving even when it's hard

Loving even when it's hard

When I got out on my own and was ready to get my first dog of my own, I heard from a friend of a friend about some lab mixes that needed a home. By the time I got there, 2 pups were left and I was told whichever one I didn't take was going to a kill shelter so I took both (Printc & Beare)! They were the loves of my life but unfortunately at 6 years of age, Beare had an unexpected seizure at a regular vet check up and passed away. I had no intention of replacing him but his brother was inconsolable. He wouldn't eat, go for walks, or accept any treats. Begrudgingly, we took him to the local humane society to find a forever friend and make sure it was a dog he would get along with. Upon entry to the shelter, many dogs were outside running and playing and as soon as I saw SAYDE, we made eye contact, she stopped short, and she immediately took my breath away. If Beare could have come back to life in another dog, it was Sayde; same markings, same body type, and same type of personality! I couldn't believe my eyes and then I learned she had the same name as our first family dog was the cherry on top! I kept an open mind and we tried out multiple dogs to see who would best get along with our sweet Printc. As fate would have it, Sayde was the one he loved the most! We took her home and soon realized how completely unprepared we were to care for this dog. All we had known about her backstory was that she had been a runaway and was probably about a year old. We instantly fell in love with her but she had a lot of issues that we were not aware of. Sayde (we think) is a boxer/pit/akita mix and is incredibly loyal, sweet, funny, and beautiful but she also has extreme separation anxiety! Both she and many crates/bathrooms/blankets/etc had been war torn and destroyed multiple times before we realized what was wrong with her and that there was medication available for something like that. She wouldn't let us cut her nails, she was so loyal that she scared off a few people/dogs, and she shredded just about everything in site! After awhile, we also figured out that she was terrified of tall men in hats (we are guessing she had been abused in the past). To put it plainly, she was a pain in the butt, until I realized that it was I that was a pain in the rear that just didn't understand how to properly care for her. There were many times I came home to disaster after disaster, threatening to take her back, but knowing I would try everything in my power to keep her before that was the answer. When I finally started to understand more about her and why she had so many "issues", I started to show her UNCONDITIONAL love and even started to love her issues. She still has severe separation anxiety (which is why I can't have pretty things, lol), she is on human anxiety medication, we have to slightly rearrange our lives to accommodate her, but daily leashless walks help burn some of that anxiety energy off. She is now 10 years old and unfortunately last year we lost Printc at 14, but we gained a new pit puppy that has brought a new energy in the house. The great thing is that Sayde has really taken our new pup (Buck) under her wing and groomed him to be the (mostly) well behaved little boy he is today. (I'm pretty sure she has had more success training him than I!) She has been so patient and understanding with him (even when he tries to push her limits) but in doing that, she continues to teach me more and more to have patience myself and how to just love, even when it's hard. She is an inspiration to me for many reasons, but my rescue dog that I didn't want, has become the most important, precious, beautiful soul I have ever known. She truly is the rescue that rescued me right back! She has the cutest howl when she gets excited at treat time or when we come home. She quickly becomes everyone's favorite after they first get over the fear of how intimidating she looks. She won't take treats from just anybody, she has to trust them first and she does not give kisses away freely, you have to earn them! But this sweet little girl who is still scared of tall men in hats, QUICKLY latched onto and fell more in love with my now husband of 6'2" who ALWAYS wears a hat, than anyone else in this whole world (maybe even me,lol). She gets me out of bed every day, and makes me get out and walk in the cold, but she is the best part of my EVERY day and coming home to her after being anywhere is the best feeling in the whole world, for both of us! Thank you Sayde Mae, for teaching me in actions, to be a better version of myself every day!

Nicole Eaton
PELLSTON, MI

Emily oh Emily

Emily oh Emily

She'd been thrown out the window of a fast moving truck. Her mate as well, but he'd jumped clear of the road. She'd landed with a splat in the pavement, an unmoving pile of fur. The angel who saw it happen stopped to capture the boy and move her body off the road. As she bent over her, an eye fluttered open. She was a mutt, but looked mostly like an Aussie Shepherd. The Vet said she and her mate had belonged to backyard breeders. Her uterus had finally exploded from years of whelping. The vet said whoever did this couldn't tell which one was sterile so he threw them both away. The rescue said the little boy, a cattle dog, was totally socialized and "normal" and was adopted right away. But the girl, the baby girl was another story altogether. She'd never been out of a cage in a dark barn so she didn't know how to stand and walk upright or how to run. She crawled on her belly like a reptile. She spent 5 long months in rescue. She chewed through the highest gage chain link fencing, so great was her fear of being caged again. So the rescuer brought her inside. She couldn't be house trained, she would hold it in for days. She had a boo boo inside one day and when the door opened she fled, hiding under a porch for 5 days, so great was her fear of punishment. She was put on Petfinders as a "special needs" adoption. I was one year in grief recovery after losing a beloved baby under crushingly sad circumstances. I'd decided "No more fur babies!!" That's when it happened. A customer at work left an out-of-town paper on a chair. It was folded open to ads for pets. I picked it up and there was a photo of an elderly golden retriever boy with a sweet face. The ad said: "Emergency! Owner passed. Must find home asap." My heart melted. I called the shelter some 100 miles away to inquire. "All our pets go up on "Petfinders" they said. "Type in the info and our city and if he's available his picture will pop up." So I opened "Petfinders", typed in "male, senior, golden retriever, Lewiston, Idaho." I said a small prayer to Angie my deceased Aussie. "Angie, I said, " I know I asked you to send us something freckled. But it's ok to send us the one who needs us most." Up popped the Aussie, the damaged baby with special needs. The screen request clearly said "male, senior, golden, Lewiston". What popped up was " female, Aussie, middle aged and a town 200 miles from us! I was blown away! There was her photo and right on her back, facing the camera, a giant freckle!! I called the contact number, no answer. I left a blubbering sobbing message about Angie and how I'd searched for another dog, a boy, a golden (who by the way had already been adopted) and how I'd asked Angie for help. Well that did it! The rescue said the Aussie could become ours. We named her " Emily". Emily oh Emily. I've fiercely loved all my dogs, but some dogs fiercely need your love. That was Emily. Oh my Emily. We drove the 200 miles to pick her up. The rescuer was doing an adoption event at a pet store. But instead of opening a dog crate, she opened the back door of her SUV and slid a totally limp pile of fur across the seat and plunked it into my arms. She hung limp. Oh my goodness I thought. What have we gotten ourselves into!! But one look into that sweet face and I knew we were meant to love her. Emily had never been petted and thought she going to be struck. So we invented "The Invisible Dog". My daughters and I would put her on the bed. Then I'd pet my daughters and they'd pet me, all the while saying "pets" in a happy voice. Then we'd turn to "The invisible Dog"; Pets, pets we'd say while stroking the "make-believe dog." Then we'd do the same for "kisses" then "hugs". One day it just clicked. She scooted over to us and stepped into the space of the invisible dog and she never stopped asking for pets and kisses and hugs. She loved the sunshine and would lay out next to her favorite lilac bush. 30 minutes on one side, get up, turn over and 30 minutes on the other. Like a lovely croissant. I still remember the smell of her fur fresh from sunbathing. She learned how to speak, and I don't mean woof, but talk. I would pull into the driveway after work and my daughters would open the front door. Running out out at a hundred miles an hour Emily would come to the driver's door. I'd open it, and she would look into my face, eyebrows wrinkled in contemplation. Where were you?"Ver wa wu?" in dog speak, Emily would ask. " I'd say " I was at work". Woah, woah she'd say, her head nodding up and down. Then like a rocket, she was off, back to the door. "Home, she's home!!!" (Rhome z rhome in dog speak) Every morning she would race downstairs, her butt wiggling a mile a minute. " Herroo!! Herroo!" As she backed into chairs and plant stands all in her joy to greet us. Oh Emily, my Emily. How we loved you. One night she started panting. A trip to the vet confirmed end stage heart failure. We held her in our arms as angels came from heaven to bring her rest. May you all know an Emily. Remember, never buy a puppy from a pet store. That puppy's mother might be an Emily.

Christine Mikalson
FARMINGTON, WA

God's little Gift

God's little Gift

I am a R.N. and lactation consultant, and had experience with feeding premature babies. In late August 2013 I was outside trimming a shrub when I heard a peeping sound. It sounded like a baby bird, but I couldn't find it. I located the sound in the planter behind the flowers and just as I saw something moving, I saw a tiny kitten waddle out and drop into my hand. We had feral cats in the neighborhood so it wasn't a total shock. Her eyes weren't open and her ears were still down. When I took her in the house my sister said, are you sure that is a cat and not a chipmunk? I was sure. It was Sunday evening and nothing was open so I called an emergency vet and they told me to get KMR at Walmart. I Took her to my Veternarian the next morning. She was healthy, about a week old, and weighed 8 oz. She hated to bottle feed. I had to get up every 2-4 hours for 5 weeks to feed her. I had to wrap her in a kitchen towel to give her a bottle. I told her she would eat because if I could feed premie babies she was going to eat. She was not going to die on my watch. Her little paws went into crazy mode when feeding. No wonder her Mom left her with me. I wouldn't have breast fed her either. She was a talker as soon as she found her voice. She has always been a rascal so I named her Sassy. She has lived up to her name. There is never a dull moment when she is around. Her favorite toy is an elastic pony tail holder, and when she plays she talks constantly. We have 2 big dogs and another rescue cat and she is the smallest and youngest, but she is the boss of the house. You have to say YES when God puts a baby kitty in your hand. Life is full in our house. She has truly been a blessing.

Janet Harden
BIRMINGHAM, AL

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