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Gentle Protector

I had been wanting a dog for many years until my husband and I felt we were ready. We had agreed on a big dog that was good with children, ideally a lab. There were no dogs who fit our needs in the main area of the local shelter so when we asked if there were any other dogs, they brought out a darling mid-size black dog who had just come out of quarantine. He was so gentle and loving that we adopted him on the spot. On the ride home he fell asleep on my lap, claiming me as "his human." We named him Bra'tac after a character on the sci-fi series Stargate SG-1. We soon learned that he was not a 6 month old lab as we had been told, but an American Staffordshire Terrier/Australian Cattle Dog mix who was already at least a year old.

I have struggled with depression for many years and Bra'tac has helped me so much; he never leaves my side. Some days when things get tough for me, he will sit at my feet rather on his big comfy bed to reassure me that he's there for me. Some days he actually gets me out of bed, as if to say, "That's enough, Mom! Come play and we can be happy together!"

A few weeks ago, Bra'tac probably saved my life. We were taking an evening walk together when someone started walking in our direction on the sidewalk. I thought nothing of it, but Bra'tac didn't agree. He growled, which is something he never does. After all, he loves everyone! I listened to his instincts and immediately took a different route home. When we got back, he became extra affectionate and protectively sat on my feet later that evening.

He may not be the large dog we had in mind, but he is perfect for our family and I couldn't ask anything more from a four-legged companion. He has saved me from danger, and lifted me up on my darkest days. We saved each other. Thank you, Bra'tac.

Milwaukee, WI

Husky Heaven

I rescued my first Husky in the early-90's from a pound. It was a love-hate relationship as I learned about the breed. Since getting married, my wife and I have rescued 6 more, over the last 25 years. They've ranged from 6-months to 8 years old. I've taken up to 10-hour drives to get them, where they looked the most pitiful. We love them as kids, and have seen lots of the emotional/physical trauma that can be done to these beauties[our current red one, is full of birdshot]. They've all become success-stories, have been the most loving and amusing company. They're not for most people, but I've/we've come to understand their quirks and impulses. They've also lived very spoiled and unusually long lives for the breed, with all being so doted-over and cared for. We wouldn't change a thing. Winter is coming...and they can sense it. This is our current four...Jake, Sonya, Trinny, and Sara.

Michael R.
Chesterfield Twp., MI

Mr. Peepers

He came as a stray, unfriendly and refusing me the privilege to touch him. Each morning, as I fed the other feral cats, I’d take him out his share of breakfast, only to be met with hisses, as if warning me not to get too close. Ignoring him, I’d set the food bowl down in front of him before walking away to give him space. He was truly a unique looking cat. Long black and white fur, his ears were small and rounded like a Scottish Fold and his eyes were small and yellow. That was my reason for naming him Mr. Peepers.

Mr. Peepers had major trust issues and no matter what I did, there was no changing him. It was obvious Peeps had experienced enough cruelty in the world to have learned not to trust any human. It was a cold, damp morning when I looked out my kitchen window and found him standing in the courtyard after a long absence and he was extremely sick. He was nothing but skin and bones and his nose was crusted over with dry mucous, unable to smell. Not wanting to spook him, I sat down on a porch step, encouraging him to come to me. Weak, he made his way to where I was and climbed into my lap as if knowing he had found a human he could finally trust. I cleaned his nose and face before wrapping him in a blanket, placing him in a makeshift bed, warmed with a heating pad.

I took him to the vets and was told that Peeps had a fractured palate and because of the injury, he’d always have respiratory infections.

This last weekend, Mr. Peepers got sick again and it was the worst I’d witnessed with him in the past. He had put his trust me and today I did the only thing left to do in order to ease his pain. I let him go. My heart is one huge hurt right now and I’ve cried most of the afternoon but my Mister Peepers is no longer suffering.

Janet Smith
Atmore, AL


Sometime between 17 and 19 years ago, my neighbor's cat had kittens. She asked me if I would like one. I fell in love with the cutest little calico. But I wasn't able to take her. My sweet neighbor is now in the hospital and will probably have to go to a nursing home. Her children asked me to take care of that little, and now very old "kitten". I was feeding her at her house, but she was outside. I could hear coyotes during the night and worried about her being out there all by herself. We have 5 rescue dogs and 4 rescue cats already but I asked my wonderful husband if I could bring Nellie home. As I said, he's wonderful and said "go get her". I brought her home and everyone is getting used to each other pretty quickly. Her motor never stops. She's safe inside and happy for however long we are lucky enough have her. Patience.....that's all it took...I now have the "kitten" I wanted so many years ago.

Charlene Andrzeicik
Florence, AL

Our October Mission: 30 days, 30 spays (and neuters)


Cannon County Community for Animals is a non profit organization in rural Tennessee dedicated to helping our stray dog and cats.

We challenged ourselves to do 30 feline spays/neuters for the month of October.

Feral cats, community cats, and owned cats whose family needed help with financial assistance for spay and neuter was our mission.

Starting small, with only four traps, we dedicated our time to setting, watching, feeding, and lovingly, transporting the cats to local vets and spay and neuter clinics.

We hope our mission raises awareness, starts conversations, and makes a HUGE difference for our cats in Cannon County.

We made 30 new little friends in October!

Miranda Caffey
Dowelltown, TN

Love at First Jump

It was just after Christmas when I decided to get a new cat. I wanted to go to the local shelter and rescue a kitty. I went with my parents. When I got there the volunteer brought me right over to the kittens area. There were only about 6 left and they were are all crammed into 1 cage. I didn't see her right away. She was tiny and scrawny. My mom pointed out this beautiful grey stripped cat and asked if we could pick it up. The volunteer told us sure. I bent down to open the cage and was going towards the grey one when this little black blur flew out of the cage and landed on my shoulder and started licking my cheek and curling into my neck. I was done! I didn't need to look any further!! It was love instantly. I immediately named her Chloe. She just looked like a Chloe. My mom asked me if I was sure about her there was no hesitation. It is now 13 years later and my baby girl Chloe is the most loving and special kitty anywhere. I love my Chloe girl so much ❤️

Orlando, FL

A starving stranger

My parents lived in a small house with a large garden that backed onto a levee and a riparian flood-control area. Someone must have dumped a litter of kittens back there. One survived and found his way to my parents' house. By the time my dad spotted him, he was very nearly starved to death. Dad fed him twice daily. He was afraid at first, but gradually came to trust people that he knew.

However, my parents had no idea how to care for a kitten. My mother wasn't about to let anything feline into the house; growing up on a farm, she'd been scolded too many times for trying to make friends with the barn cats. A mama coyote raised a family in that levee every year. Kitten's life expectancy was pretty low as an outside cat. So I took him home with me, and the next day took him to my vet. He had fleas, a respiratory infection, and ear mites. We got him fixed up and neutered, and after a bit of initial skittishness he decided my husband and I were okay. Then we were more than okay, we were HIS people.

Rocky, as we named him, never quite got over his initial childhood starvation. He would get terribly distressed if the kibble bowl actually emptied. As a result, he got too fat, and our efforts to reduce his calorie intake didn't just annoy him, they terrified him. We settled for a fat cat. He was a very loving cat, always ready to play but equally ready to cuddle and be loved. Alas, he never did get over his fear of strangers.

One night, when he was in his tenth year, as we were going to bed I noticed him having trouble breathing. I took him to the emergency vet, He was suffering from an enormous amount of fluid in his chest, a side-effect of heart disease. She tried surgery in vain. He was dead by morning.

I dearly love my current kitties, but I'll always miss Rocky.

Santa Clara, CA

Joey and Jesse

I can't ever recall a time in my life without cats. Sebastian "Kitty Bastian," an aloof and slightly bad-tempered gray guy, was part of my human family prior to my birth, and my introduction to the feline world. Being an only child before I appeared, he undoubtedly felt a bit of sibling rivalry accounting for the slightly awkward relationship between us. After all, a mere baby was definitely an affront to his considerable dignity!

Fast forward some 60 plus years and I'm still an avid cat lover. Though there has been a LONG line of other animals in my life- many dogs, goats, a horse, pot-bellied pig, rabbits, rats, snakes and assorted birds (all very well-loved, I hasten to add), I don't remember ever being cat-less.

My husband David and I are currently the proud and doting parents of five (!) rescue kitties and wouldn't have it any other way. We recently figured that there is close to 50 pounds of cat body between them! They all love to sit on laps and we are all too familiar with the term "feline paralysis" accurately describing the inability to move with the weight of a loving cat on one's lap!

The lovely little striped brothers pictured above were part of a family of five babies which appeared with their mother in my sister's barn six years ago. We fostered all five after their mother found a loving family and, though sorely tempted to keep all five, good sense prevailed and homes were found for three. The two who stayed, Joey and Jesse, were well accepted (and tolerated) by our two adult cats, Max and Reilly, and are very much part of the tribe. A few years later a stray (Sally) became an addition but that's yet another story.

Today Joey and Jesse are gorgeous, fully-fledged, middle-aged chaps and, though totally different from one another, have proved to be model citizens!

Mitzi Sudlow

Tonganoxie, Kansas

Mitzi Sudlow
Tonganoxie, KS

The ZBoys

One chilly afternoon in April, 2011, my husband was walking our dogs and saw a bag by the side of the road - thinking it was trash, he picked it up. Inside were 4 kittens, 2 dead about 6 weeks old, and 2 very alive at barely 10 days - 2 weeks. We hand fed them, took them to the vet for constipation, checkups and held them for hours, mimicking the mothers care as best we could. We named them Zuess and Zion-my husband said they needed strong names!

This picture is their first night with us.

Today, they are beautiful Turkish Vans, about 12 pounds and a constant joy and full of love. They fit right in with our family of 11 rescues!

How anyone can do such a thing to animals is beyond me and I can't help hoping they get "payback"!

Mio, MI

Rory the Hiking Kitten

My Tuesday hiking group had just started our hike along the Tuscarora Trail in Virginia, when we heard a loud crying sound. It was a tiny black and white tuxedo kitten, all alone, meowing as loud as he could. He came out of the bushes and started following us along the trail, crying the whole time. He followed us down a road, through a farm, across a bridge over the Shenandoah River, and partway up a mountain before finally getting tired- it had to be at least a mile! I hoped he lived nearby, and would find his way home, but worried about him all day. Sure enough, when we came back down the mountain, there he was waiting for us. We couldn't just leave him there, so I carried him back to the car and decided to take him home. My husband and I already had two cats, and really didn't need a third, but I thought I'd either find him a home or make him a barn cat. Well, after a couple of days trying to keep him in the barn, he made it very clear that he did not want to be a barn cat- he wanted to be in the house with us! And that is where he has stayed- he is a tiny terror, always into something, chasing the older cats, knocking things over, etc., but he is also the most affectionate and loving cat I have ever seen. We named him Rory, short for Tuscarora- the trail where he chose me to be his human!

Joan D'Alonzo
Charles Town, WV
Golden Paws Ombre Jute Bag
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