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"BANDIT Big Black Dog Who Stole My Heart"

Bandit is our rescued Big Black Dog; a Labrador Retriever. He is our wonderdog. He and I have written a book together, and yes, he talks in every chapter of the book. Bandit stole the hearts of everyone in our famiy, and the hearts of everyone he meets. We love this picture of Bandit; we call it Bandit's Heart Pose. We think he looks like a Big Black Heart. You may not know about a syndrome that Bandit talks about in the book, but it's called the Big Black Dog Syndrome, and it's a bias against large, dark breeds in shelters. Bandit's goal is to spread an awareness of the syndrome and to change the opinions that people have about Big Black Dogs. Bandit's foundation, in its infancy stage, is called Bandit's Heart, and its goal is to rescue, adopt, train for service and companionship, and pair the dogs with veterans who suffer from PTSD. Bandit is in training to be a Therapy Service Dog, and will assist his human Dad, who is a Vietnam veteran diagnosed with PTSD. He serves as a brace dog, helping to steady us at all times. His size, stature, demeanor, and eagerness to give back makes Bandit the perfect candidate for Service. He will look so handsome in his red vest, when he becomes certified. We hope you'll fall in love with our Bandit, and when the time is right, consider adopting your own Big Black Dog. Happy Valentine's Day, and here's a Bandit Hug for everyone.

Carol Bradshaw
San Bernardino, CA

A Lesson in Unconditional Love

"To those who have loved a faithful and wise dog, I do not need to explain how much happiness animals bring. There is something about their unselfish love that goes straight to the heart. This is especially true for anyone who has ever been disappointed by the weak friendship and loyalty of humans." I know this because I have loved such a dog and more importantly was his unselfish unconditional love for me. Mork, my American/English Foxhound was the first dog I ever had and taught me and showed me all about unconditional love. So it seemed fitting as he lay in my arms one last time, we silently shared our unconditional love until he quietly and peaceful slipped out of this world. Mork, 11 1/2 yrs old, had lymphoma

and due to trouble swallowing, I decided to end his suffering. A heart wrentching decsion in the end came down to unconditional love. A love that in the best and worst of times Mork never forgot. Perhaps this love, the strongest kind of love, came from his appreciation of that fateful day in 2003 when he came into the office to be put to sleep and ended up instead coming home with me. He taught me how to love. Mork was a special dog brought into my life for a reason. He changed my life in ways I can never thank him for. I let my dog go as the uncondtional love I had for him flowed from my eyes. His mission accomplished, he left me to carry on his torch of love, the unconditional kind. As much as I will him I know that should I forget his teachings, he'll be with me to gently nudge me back on track.

Carlie Holgate
S. Abington, PA

Frankie Four-Paws

I first saw Joey on a friend's cell phone during a vacation. A family she knew was trying to get rid of a small male chihuahua. My friend's parents were thinking about adopting the dog, however decided against it. I was moving soon and my rat terrier needed a companion (she must have another dogs in the house or she destroys everything). The situation reached a critical point when this family decided that instead of dropping the dog off at the SPCA, they were just going to drop him off in the northern woods. I thought that even if Joey didn't get along with my rat terrier, I could get him out of a terrible situation. So, one evening I went with my friend to this family's house so Sophie could meet Joey. Their first meeting did not go well. Frankie was quite defensive. He snarled and snapped at Sophie several times - thankfully Sophie is quite patient with other dogs. Even though this seemed like it wasn't going well, I felt obligated to get him out of there They could give no reason for wanting to get rid of the little guy except that they were tired of him and he chewed his food too loudly (huh?!). So, on the spot, I took little Joey home thinking, "Well at least he's safe". What I didn't count on, especially after that first meeting, was the very close bond that Frankie (as we renamed him, his tuxedo-like fur reminding us of Sinatra) and Sophie would form in an incredibly short amount of time. Two days later I found them curled up together and knew that I had found the newest addition to our little family. He's my little ball of sunshine...full of smiles and cuddles...My Frankie Four-Paws

Beth
Las Vegas, NV

Black and White Angel

When I moved to Nevada, away from all of my family and friends, my husband and I decided we should get a dog. We looked online at the Las Vegas SPCA and saw many dogs that could have been our new pet, however one little black and white dog stood out to me. The next day we arrived to meet this little dog. No one knew whether she was a rat terrier or a jack russel, but when we approached her kennel, she was sitting calmly at the gate - no barking, whining, or anything. We took her out of her kennel and spent a little time with her. She was such a calm and intense little dog. She looked calmly around at all the other dogs and sniffed us with much interest. When she finally backed up and sat down on my lap, I knew this was the dog for me. The only thing we knew about her was that she had spent most of her life outside - 24 hours a day. Her original name was Crystal, however we decided a new start deserved a new name - so we ended up with our little Princess Sophie. She has been my best friend and a comfort through some hard times. I don't know what I would do without her. She is my little black and white angel...

Beth
Las Vegas, NV

Our little rescue, Harry.

My name is Nikki, and I'm 19. I have always been a cat lover, and therefore, have always wanted one of my own, but my Dad had always been against that idea. On August 20, 2008, I drew pictures of different cats and posted them around the house mostly as a joke to make my Dad see that I really wanted a cat. The next day, when my Dad got out of his truck at work, he felt something around his legs. He looked down and saw a little black cat. Afraid he would get killed on the nearby road, he tried to shew him. But he wouldn't go, no matter how many times he tried. Dad finally gave in and called my Mom who told me there was a black cat at Dad's work I could come get if I wanted. It was 7:30 in the morning, but I jumped out of bed, more excited than I could ever remember. I said to myself that if the cat had green eyes, I would name him after Harry Potter, (because he has black hair and green eyes.) When I got to Dad's work, we couldn't find the cat. My heart dropped but we kept looking. We found him, and sure enough, he had green eyes. No one ever claimed to have lost a cat after that. Ever since that day, my dad says that Harry was meant to find him, and to find his family with us. I think God knew Harry needed a home, and we were ready to give him the best one we could, so he sent Harry to us for us to love and care for. He's the best cat I could ask for, and I love him with all my heart.

Nikki Smith
Chapmanville, WV

my little treasures

Twitch & Scratch <3

They mean a lot to me.

I first homed Twitch in October 2009. She was one of two remaining in a pet shop near to wear my partner & I used to live. We orginally went in to get dog food for my partners westies, Harry & Charlie.

As soon as I saw her she stole my heart. She was the perfect edition to our new home and our family life. She is very affectionate and refused to sleep in her bed favouring our bed instead!

We homed Scratch in December 2009. I took Twitch to a pet shop, on her little lead, and met a lady there who had an idential kitten she could no longer keep. As soon as I saw him and I knew that he would also fit into our family.

They fought for a couple of weeks, now I don't think that they could live apart. They sleep together, eat together, go in their little box together and play together! He also favours our bed, It's always fun waking up not knowing which kitten will be asleep on my head!

Since my partner and I have split up they have been a great comfort to me.

They give me a reason to get up in the morning (if I don't get up and feed them they meow in my face!)

Twitch, as the oldest, looks after her little brother. Everytime he is misbehaving she meows to warn him that I'm coming to tell him to stop!

And as a little brother, Scratch is excellent at getting Twitch into trouble!

They like a lot of fuss and they sit on my laptop whilst I'm typing important e-mails, but I love them and I wouldn't have it any other way :)

Natasha
Walsall, United Kingdom

He Strayed into our hearts

This is Luke and Batman (the black and white one), we first saw him on the side of a highway, I said was that a kitty? ( he was only big enough to walk) and when we looked back he was in the middle of the yellow lines!! yikes!!! We turned around, my girlfriend jumped out of the car and chased him into the woods, as soon as she picked him up - he bit her.. she was laughing as she got in the car and stated " He bit me.. I guess we have to keep him!".

So we did and that was a little over two yrs ago, he has had many health issues, winning the hearts of all the Vets at his hospital. He is as strong and bad as ever!! But we so love him!!

M. Matthews
Shreveport, LA

Higgins

Found my buddy Higgins in a pet store in an outlet mall at one of the local humane society's adoption functions. I was going there to buy one of my current dogs a new collar and had no intentions of getting any more. I already had 2 rescues, but this little guy just stole my heart! He suffered from separation anxiety as his first owner abandoned him after having him over a year and there wasn't a good fit for him in several later adoptions. He lost teeth by trying to chew his way out of a cage because his new families didn't like that he scratched at the door continuously, thus messing up woodwork and paint/finish on the doors. His poor little pads on his front paws were torn up - he was just scared to be left alone. He simply needed to be given some time and lots of love and patience to adjust.

I am happy to say that Higgins has been with me for over two years now and has settled quite well. He is such a great companion and he is totally in love with himself (he looks at himself in the mirror daily). Probably one of the most rewarding rescues! By the way, he is quite handsome, but of course I am very partial!

Cindy Long

Leander, TX

Cindy Long
Leander, TX

Birthday Gift

On my birthday a bunch of friends and I were going out for dinner. I'm at the restraunt and my friend calls me and says come outside i have a surprise for you. I come outside and find her carrying a bundled up towel. Walking over i see a tiny grey head poke out. It was a tiny kitten barely the size of the palm of my hand.

My friend told me that a little boy was walking around her work with three kittens saying he found them on the side of the road by themselves. She immediatly grabbed the smallest and loudest, i might add, kitten in the bunch.

When i took the kitten home that night i really had no intention of keeping it. But i diligently got up every hour and bottle fed the tiny thing. The next morning i called the animal shelter and all local animal rescues. They all said the same thing there is a surplus of kittens they cant take anymore. After about three days of calling people and shelters seeing if anyone could adopt this little kitten, something amazing happened. Before this the kitten wouldnt let me pick it up without crying and stiffening up. Well i picked her up that day and it instantly started purring and clinging to me. I knew then i couldnt give up it up.

I later found out the kitten is a little girl who i named "Billy." She is now currently three months old and the happiest and most energetic kitten you will ever meet. If i had the chance to redo things again i would do it exactly the same.

(p.s. She is only three weeks old in that picture. It was the first night i had her.)

Che
Honolulu, HI

Marley Boy

We adopted Marley from Shelter To Home, Inc. My husband thought that our other adopted kitty, Chloe (also from Shelter To Home), needed a friend. It wasn't love at first sight for Chloe, but Marley fits in just perfectly now and they are best buds! He is the clown of our family but yet is also the most loveable and cuddly thing you will ever meet! He can also be very mischievous (his name fits him well even though he's not a dog!) but he makes us laugh and keeps us on our toes! I can't imagine not having Marley a part of our family!

Tina
Flint, MI
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