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13 years ago, my father rescued our wire-haired Jack Russell, Vicy (pronounced V.C.) from a shelter. We were told that she'd been abused the first two years of her life by the men in her former household, so she really wasn't too keen on other males. However, for some reason she took my dad instantly, and they were inseparable until his passing 5 years ago, at which time my sister, our husbands, and I took her into our care. We've watched her already-huge personality grow even more: from her love for pickles (yes, pickles), to her affinity for barking at random strangers, or the fact that she sports a pink mohawk (red food coloring + white fur), she's become a key member of the family. She splits time at both of our houses, which is how she's become known as our "timeshare dog." Now, at the ripe old age of 15, while she may have lost a step or two(she's a Jack, so that basically brought her down to a normal speed), she is bringing the same joy into our lives that she'd brought to my father for so long. While we miss my dad immensely, he could not have left us with a better memento to remember him by.

New York, NY

We needed each other

When my darling cat, Kiree, died tragically 17 months ago I was totally grief stricken. A friend suggested I "foster" a homeless cat that she knew someone was feeding. Without hesitation I collected the cat and brought her home. Kelly (named after the lady who was feeding her)and I have been inseparable ever since. I could never part with my furry bundle of joy. I often find her on the windowsill watching over Kiree's resting place in the garden. I wonder what she thinks?

Brisbane, Australia

From Breeder to Rescue

When our beloved golden retriever died, we began to look for an older golden, since we are older, too. I searched the Internet for breeders who retire their breeder dogs after a few years. We found Emma, just the right age, nearly 4, just recovering from her last litter of puppies. The day we brought her home, she came in heat, she had two varieties of worms, a uterine infection and a very difficult hysterectomy due to the size of her uterus. She barely had a coat and lacked social skills, was shy and bewildered around people. Then one day, I looked at her; suddenly she had blossomed. Her coat was full and silky, she loved people, and has proved to be the perfect dog for us. We love her dearly, and although she didn't come from a shelter, she is truly a rescue dog, and a real success story.

Santa Maria, CA

Everybody's Buddy

A couple of years ago someone put out lab-mix puppy in our neighborhood. He wandered from house to house looking for food and attention. He especially loved the neighborhood children. Then we noticed him walking in the evening with different people. Literally, whomever was walking, he would walk with them. He enjoyed hanging out at our house to play with our aged Golden Retriever, Bonnie. We noticed he still had no rabies tag and began to inquire at the homes of the children with whom he played to see if anyone claimed him. Each home had given him a different name -- one Lucky, one Dexter, but no one took responsibility for him. So, we took him home with us. He still plays with the neighborhood children, still walks with all the neighbors, but now our 95 lb. Buddy knows where "home" is.

Diane Rouse
Florence, MS

"One-eyed" Jack

Making a routine vet visit with our new 8 wk. old Shih Tzu, Bogey, the veterinarian, knowing my heart for neglected animals, asked me to follow him to the boarding kennels. I was appalled at what I witnessed. Some sort of animal -- he was so disheveled with dried feces in his floor length hair, infected sores all over his little body and his left eye literally dislodged from the socket -- yet, at the sound of a friendly voice, he wagged his tail wildly. He needed a home. He had been removed from his "home" when brought in with his current injuries. One month later after multiple surgeries and medical procedures he was mine. He has been Bogey's constant companion and housemate ever since.

Diane Rouse
Florence, MS

The Baby

Having rescued 4 large dogs, I wanted to rescue a smaller, "lap" dog. So I contacted a local yorkie rescue group and they delivered to me a small dog with the BIGGEST heart and personality possible. Little did I know he would take over the household and keep the rest of the bigger pack in line! He makes me laugh everyday and packs a big heart in that little body!

fort lee, NJ

Romeo, oh Romeo

Romeo was my first rescue. He was tied to a tree and left for dead after his "owners" moved. Due to his size and color, he remained at the shelter for 1 year. Until the day I laid eyes on him. 12 years of loyalty and trust, Romeo gave me more than I could ever have given him. And because of him, I rescued 4 more dogs who show me what it means to truly be happy.

Fort Lee, NJ

Noki's Tale

I found Noki on the IMPS(Internet Miniature Pinscher Service) website. He was a rescue that had been found wandering so I don't know much about his past other than what I could guess from the scars on his body. I fell in love with him right away and he has been a great source of entertainment, happiness and love in my life. This little guy is so smart he surprises me everyday.

Surrey, BC, Canada

Orphan Ollie

I found a puppy sitting outside a crack house (literally) where I was looking for a client of mine. He was covered in flies and sand and looked awful. Someone threw the puppy at me when I asked if he belonged to anyone so I took him on the premise of finding him a good home. We went straight to the vet where I found one of his eyes was burned from being chained in the sun and he was extremely malnourished. After months of getting rid of worms, fleas, and the mange, Oliver got a good bill of health. And as for finding him a good home, he's a permanent fixture at my house and I can't imagine home without him.

Macon, GA

She Knew Where Home Was

My friend and I were on our daily six mile walk when this black dog started following us. Since we know everyone in our neighborhood, we didn't know where she came from. We kept telling her to go home. But she kept following us, as if she was home and she was our pal. At the end of the walk, we put the dog into my friend's back yard so the dog wouldn't get hurt. The dog was so skinny, she got through the rails of the fence to come back to us.

Three different families thought they wanted her, but each time they gave her back to me. And each time the dog would leap into my arms. And each time I loved her more and more. Finally, when the third family gave her back to me, I think my lip started quivering. My husband looked at me and the dog and in my arms and said, "Let's name her Maisy and go get her a collar." That was four years and 15 pounds ago and we still take our daily walk together.

Heather and Maisy Moo
San Diego, CA
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