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Filling The Gap

My childhood dog, Pepper, passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2015 and I was not home for it. I was working out of state when my mother called to tell me and I was heartbroken that I could not come home and bury him myself. And while I still feel a pang when I think about him, I knew that I needed to keep a dog in my life. The snag was that my mother did not want another dog and I was still living with her while in school.

So for nearly a year I was driven mad from dog deprivation while I finished up a college degree. My mother and I eventually reached a compromise: when I was moved out and in my own place she would pay the adoption fee for a dog as my graduation present. And I knew I didn't want just any dog.

I wanted a "less adoptable". Old, impaired, both, it did not matter to me but I wanted to give a home to a dog that just needed a quiet and safe place to live. Which is where Haji came in.

He was called "Danny" at the rescue and at only two years old he had been hit in the head with a 2x4 so hard by a guy that he was partially blinded. Then "rescued" by a hoarder until the shelter found him. He was scared and nervous but still wanting so much to love someone.

I still spent a month or so looking at various special needs dogs, but I kept coming back to him. The rescue was overjoyed when I offered my home to him.

Haji is learning to trust again and I am re-learning the joys of having a pup again.

Taylor Wallace
Lexington, KY

Maverick Was Left to Die

Maverick is a sweet little Jack Russell Terrier found laying on the ground with terrible injuries. Chris, a volunteer of our rescue, saw Maverick dragging his back legs around and called us right away. This poor dog must have been dragging himself for quite a while because he had scrapes and sores on his body. We didn’t think he had a chance of surviving.

Upon the first vet visit it was determined that his spinal cord was severed and he would never walk again. The vet said he has no feeling and his medical care could be astronomical, estimated anywhere from $6000-$8000. Should we euthanize this poor dog? We’ve heard of stories of dogs living full and happy lives while paralyzed and using a wheelchair so why couldn't we try.

The vet did x-rays and realized his back was broken. Also, his leg was severely broken, his spinal cord completely severed and he had no control of his bladder or bowels. We had to make a tough decision. When I went back to see Maverick, he just melted into my hands. We knew we couldn’t fail him and promised we would help him. Against the recommendation of the neurosurgeon, we're going to save his life. He spent two nights at the emergency vet getting fluids and antibiotics. He had a CT scan which revealed something both horrifying and inspiring, his spinal injury was at least one month old. What happened to Maverick a month ago before he broke his leg? We will never know.

It is now several months later and Maverick has begun to moving his legs. It's a miracle! Against all odds he is a happy boy, loving life, and we are so grateful we gave him a chance. He now has his wheelchair and he receives mobility therapy daily. We hope that one day Maverick will walk again! Polka Dogz Pet Rescue located in Oakland, Florida has more updates, photos and videos about Maverick and our other rescue dogs on our Facebook pages.

Linda Rock
Winter Garden, FL

No Longer "The Cat from Hell"

After losing Petey, my companion kitty of 15 years, I vowed to not get another pet for a while. One year later, my neighbor told me I was going to get a cat, and I resisted at first.

A mutual friend had adopted a male cat from a shelter for his 90-year-old mom. The cat was friendly enough most of the time, but would bite suddenly for no apparent reason, and the lady was terrified of him. He hid behind the couch and she sat in her chair armed with a fly-swatter and a spray bottle of water.

When I met with my friend to talk about the cat I asked him how long he had had him. "About three injuries ago," he said, holding up his bandaged hand. It turned out to be three days. I said, "Oh, what the heck," and Boomer came to live with me.

"Stock up on Neosporin and bandaids," my friend said.

For a while, my friends called Boomer "the Cat From Hell" because I was always injured. He was skin and bones when he came to me and still had some wounds from his time on the street before the shelter people found him. His ears were notched from fights. It seemed he would bite out of anxiety, so I decided I could love him out of it, and that's how it has worked out.

With regular meals, he soon ballooned to a regal 23-pound creature. We have been together for three years now, and he is my good companion. He lets me know his displeasure when he doesn't get his way, but he hates to let me out of his sight.

Leslie Manes
San Diego, CA

A blessing to me and her.

After being a dog lover all my life and the loss of my last adopted best friend dog Magee from a local no-kill shelter who had spent the first 7 estimated years of his life in the shelter and then another great quality remaining 7 years shared together with him a kitty showed up after a storm about a year later. I trapped this abandoned kitty using our city's volunteer trap and release program and took her to the local Animal Hospital. They found out that she must have been an indoor spayed friendly. She was vetted and in great health and now chipped. But the great folks at the Animal Hospital did not think she would be adoptable and released her back to me. I decided to welcome her into the house as a forever friend and give her every chance that she could acclimate to being an indoor again. Now after 2 years of having her inside and with her own bedroom sleeping on or under the bed she is living the dream more and more every day. I believe she is a gift to me and I to her. She loves to look out the front window and the the back patio door. and play with her toys. Although she still will not allow me to get too close to actually have contact with her yet it is very obvious to me that she is so happy. I have allowed her to go outside a few times for a short time and she comes back in quickly knowing this is her safe haven and her forever home.

Dave
Rolling Meadows, IL

A tale of two homes

Miss Sugar is 16 years young. She's a big diva and much loved. When she was a wee kitten she was thrown over a fence at a bowling club and abandoned. She was adopted by the elderly man who found her and his wife. They loved her dearly. Sadly the man passed away 8 years ago and not long after his wife went into a nursing home. Her biggest worry was who was going to look after her angel. We told her not to worry and took in their beloved girl. At first Miss Sugar was very frightened and spent the first 2 weeks hiding under the lounge, hissing if we came near. Not long after that we gained her trust and she became a total love bunny. We visited Miss Sugars elderly first mother in the nursing home, taking photos and keeping her updated. Sadly she had dementia and eventually forgot Miss Sugar and passed away 7 years ago. These last 8 years we've been blessed with a lovely wonderful furry companion. I like to think that we've honoured the memory of her first caretakers by providing her with a loving home but she has also blessed us by being a beautiful and wonderful companion.

Sammi
Adelaide, Australia

Jersey Boy

We had been talking about adopting a pet for a while. My husband grew up with cats, but I am allergic and I grew up with a dog, so a dog it would be. My husband browsed our local adoption sites, and that's where he found him. Junior was a then two year old currently in a foster home, looking for his fur-ever home. We met him and instantly fell in love. His big, soulful eyes and calm demeanor hooked us instantly. He came home with us a few days later. He had two surgeries for cherry eye, and was missing patches of fur on his belly. Junior ( now called Jersey) is stubborn. He doesn't always come when called, and he refuses to fetch. He won't eat until he feels like it. He takes up a lot of room on the bed. He fights us when it's time to put the leash on, and he tugs us on our walks. He showers us with kisses. He squeals with excitement and shakes his butt when we walk through the door. He loves to cuddle. We don't know his story before he came to live with us, but it doesn't matter. He is tremendously loved and will never know hurt. We smile when we realize he rescued us.

Marissa T.
Austin, TX

Casper, Survivor of the Wild

After the death of our first cat, my family and I adopted this beautiful cat when he was just a kitten in the parking lot of a CVS. There was no way we could ever realize what we were getting ourselves into, that we were going to witness a miracle in this icy blue eyed monster of a cat. We quickly decided that this beast needed a friend, so we adopted another kitten, Alfred, to keep him company. Alfred and Casper were the best of friends. They constantly fought for the top platform in the cat tree, and they still do to this day!

About two years after we adopted the kittens, we unexpectedly had to move away and could not keep both cats. It was a devastating feeling, having to decide which one to take with us and which to give to another family. It would be a long car ride down to our new home, so we had to choose who would be best in the car. Casper's uncontrollable energy forced us to give him to another family, who eagerly accepted him.

Fast forwarding about a year and a half later, a picture on Facebook pops up of a skinny cat, identical to Casper, aside from the weight. The people who found him were unaware whose cat this was, and where he came from. Casper was never skinny, he'd always been a massive cat around 20lbs in size. To see him so small was horrifying. The family we had given to had moved away and left him behind. We found out that he'd been living in the wilds of northern Maine for about 2-3 months without shelter or a solid source of food. I couldn't help but feel angry as well as guilty. The rest of my family felt the same, and we hastily met a family halfway to bring Casper to his true family and reunite him with Alfred and our dog Tobi. It was a success, Casper immediately recognized his friends, and started to rub against Tobi and quickly befriended Alfred once more.

Anonymous
Haverhill, MA

We Will Always Love Lucy

We first noticed a flash of white in the backyard. Some new creature was living in our yard but it never slowed down long enough for any of us to figure out what it was.

Then winter came and along with the snow there were occasionally fresh footprints along the sidewalk. Tiny footprints that told us that the streak of white was actually a cat who had to be beyond freezing. We started putting food out for our guest and winter turned into spring. The white flash became a more and more frequent visitor, finally perching on the ledge of our living room window and peering in with an expression usually associated with orphans in old movies pressing their noses against plate glass bakery windows. Attempts to coax her to get closer to us were rebuffed and we decided that the white cat seemed to be destined to be our permanent outdoor cat.

Until one day when I was sitting on our front steps when a ball of dirty white fur appeared from behind an evergreen and climbed onto my lap. I waited to see what this cat would do.

What she did was purr. And then follow me inside to see what was for dinner. We took the white cat, now called Lucy, to the vet and Lucy became the newest member of our family. After her rough life outdoors, she became the most indoor of indoor cats, not even looking out the windows when she walked past them. I suspect that she had enough of the Great Outdoors to last her the rest of her life, which unfortunately didn’t turn out to be very long.

Lucy spent almost exactly one year with us before getting sick and leaving us for good. We are thankful that Lucy finally decided to come into our house. We were so happy to have her, even if it wasn’t for long.

We loved Lucy and I know, once our hearts heal, we’ll love our next cat too because the joy of loving them almost makes up for the pain of losing them.

Almost.

Nell Musolf
MANKATO, MN

Mr. Peepers Miracle

Kitty Konnection, a local rescue, sent out a plea for homes for a feral cat colony threatened with poisoning. I agreed to take 2 as barn cats at our historic site. The little one arrived with a severe eye injury that was badly infected, he would die without immediate attention. The vet said the eye had to be removed. Because he was so small, and would be at a disadvantage, the vet didn't want to see him go back to being a barn cat. Turns out, he wasn't the least bit feral, rather he was a sweet, cuddly boy who was, likely, dumped, because of his injury and/or for being male. He recuperated at my house, gaining his name, Mr. Peepers because he does not meow...he peeps! Six months later, he is my one-eyed wonder -- nothing slows him down. He is the best little "bother" to his big sister, Merlin, my Bombay, and an all around wonderful boy. The moral of this story -- ferals are not always feral, special needs cats are special, and never underestimate the power of love and good medical care to change a life!

Michelle Zupan
AUGUSTA, GA

Izzy-Belle -- Rescued From Horror

I lost my beloved foster kitty Namir to feline infectious peritonitis several months ago. That meant I was a one-kitty home, which was not acceptable. But I waited until the time was right. Last week was the right time, and I decided to get a rescue kitty.

I went to a local no-kill rescue shelter and almost instantly fell in love with my Izzy-Belle. Her back story is horrific. She was abandoned in the bitter cold, and found herself literally frozen to a cement porch for many days. When she was finally rescued, she had lost one side of her fur and skin to frostbite, eventually the tips of her ears fell off, and she had essentially lost use of her hind legs due to being frozen in one position for a long time.

The rescue shelter took her in, tracked her microchip (her former owners refused to take her back!), and began the long and arduous road to rehabilitation. They had to replace bandages every day. Keep in mind, this is a rescue shelter -- this was a costly procedure. This shelter is an amazing sanctuary for many lost kitties.

When I went to the shelter, I was lovingly introduced to many available kitties, but I kept going back to my sweet Izzy. She came when she was called, and was wearing a fetching red feathered collar. I couldn't say no.

Izzy has fully recovered (although her ear tips haven't grown back, but that lends her a sweet, quirky look!). She runs around my house like a crazy cat, sleeps with me all night, and gives my other kitty, Titus Andronicus, a run for his money!

Ruthann Logsdon Zaroff
Belleville, MI
Rescue Box
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