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Sam or Sammy?

He started life in the crawlspace of our office building. That building just seemed to attract strays, but there was an extra "something" about this little guy. He became special to us. A coworker named him Sam, took him home and began the process of finding Sam's forever home. After a month, the right place hadn't been found.

I was grieving after having to put my sweet Oliver to rest and had sworn no more cats. I still had my first rescue, Cotton, and was determined she would now be an "only child". I am convinced my coworker was just holding onto Sam and waiting me out until I was ready. And it worked; I took Sam home just two weeks after my loss. He was about a year old at the time.

Within just a couple of weeks he had taken over me and my home. He was constantly at my feet, followed me everything and refused to let Cotton anywhere near me. He wasn't content to sleep on my bed, he had to be wrapped around my shoulder with his head on my pillow. I learned the hard way that moving while Sam was asleep would bring out the fighter in him. His first year spent in the crawlspace battleground had provided excellent survival training. Everyone told me " get rid of that cat" when they saw my war wounds, but his otherwise sweet, loving disposition just wouldn't let me give up on him.

The fighter settled down eventually and the clinging vine emerged. There was no greater feeling than stretching back in my recliner for a nap and having Sammy immediately jump on for the ride, stretching out a paw to gently touch my face, then falling asleep on my chest.

After I'd had this beautiful boy for just over two years, the vet diagnosed him with both FIV and feline leukemia. I cried all the way on the 30 mile trip home. I'd had him and loved him for three years when the demons finally won.

And I'd do it all again for his love.

Debbie K
Malden, MO

My Puppy Cat

We rescued Allie Cat when she was about 6 months old and had been left behind when her owners moved. The new residents of the trailer did not want her and there was a very cold storm moving in. We already had six cats and the last thing we needed was another cat but there was something about her and I could not help but bring her home. My husband agreed and we brought her home to a 6 cat household and she took over without having to fire a shot. I guess since she had pretty much had to fend for herself, she had no fear of my pampered house cats.

I have had many fur babies in my 60 plus years, but Allie was the most unusual, endearing and charming feline I have ever been honored to have in my life. She retrieved better than any dog I ever owned, played volleyball, gave "cat scans" and never met a stranger, hence her nickname Puppy Cat. Sadly after 14 wonderful years we had to ease her over the rainbow bridge 3 weeks ago. She took a huge chunk of our hearts when she left and I am not sure if I will ever stop missing her. No more will I see her asking to be lifted up into the linen cabinet or watch her clamber in the laundry basket and snuggle into the warm clean clothes. No more will I see her perched upon the floor vents when the heat comes on. No more will I have her sit next to me when I eat lightly scratching my arm to get me to share, especially spaghetti. No more will she join me in bed and lean against my ankles or my back to take a bath and then sleep.

I hope our precious Allie knew how much we loved and cherished her. Luckily we have one last cat, Artie to help fill the void. A new kitten would help heal us but I don't think that is in the cards for us at this point.

Tucson, AZ


In 2009, we saw a photo on a rescue site of a white border collie who looked amazingly like the first dog we ever had. We learned that she was deaf, had been in several homes, and was due to be put down soon. We agreed to foster her. We soon found that she had multiple challenges in addition to being deaf. She had a history of aggression toward other animals, near-constant "fly-snapping" behavior, and severe anxiety, which manifested itself in pacing, repetitive pouncing, and yelping. Seven + years later, Chula is a beloved member of our family. Through the help of a gifted behavioral trainer and our vet, Chula has come a long way. She still requires much more care than the average dog, but she is happy and secure. Exercise has been the best therapy for her. She loves to go on hiking trips with us and to run alongside my husband as he rides his bike; he can hardly keep up with her! If you have the time and heart, consider adopting a special-needs dog. There are many languishing in shelters, waiting for a loving home.

Louisville, KY

Rescue dog Sheba

An amazing dog who has captured many hearts is enjoying a happy new life. German shepherd Sheba is settling into her new home after undergoing surgery to straighten her wonky front legs.Surrounded by love and cuddles from her new family, Toni and Paul Viner, she is well on the road to recovery. "We've only had her a short time, but it's like we've had her forever," said Paul. "She's very loving, very kind and very gentle. She's very appreciative of the life she has got and very forgiving for the life she has had."She just likes your company, a stroke and a little chat."

It is through the care, kindness and generosity of a whole group of people that the life of a dog, with no hope for a future, has been turned around.

The bow-legged German shepherd was brought to this country from Bulgaria earlier this year for life-changing treatment to straighten her legs after being spotted on the internet. Once in the UK, Sheba was cared for at Mutts in Distress. Sheba has had two operations, one on her right front leg in February and another on her left front leg in May. She is now nearing the end of six weeks of rest that is enabling her to heal.Toni and Paul's previous dog – Shane, a Belgian shepherd – died in March. Shane was only about ten months old when he was dumped in a ditch near Hatfield Broad Oak. The Uttlesford dog warden picked him up and he was placed in the care of Mutts for two years.In February, the day after Shane qualified as a Pets as Therapy dog, he was taken ill with a problem with the vertebrae in his neck. Tragically surgery could not save him."He was a beautiful dog, part of the family. Wherever we went, he went," said Paul.The couple were devastated. They had followed Sheba's story generally about her. "She's helped us with the healing process of Shane. She will never replace Shane and we will never compare her to Shane. We are helping each other in a big way."

OLD HARLOW, United Kingdom

I Almost Didn't Take Him

I bought a new boarding facility and decided to get a yellow tabby and a Siamese as barn cats. We also ended up with a grey and white tabby that I reluctantly let join my group. The Siamese quickly disappeared (probably “liberated” by a boarder), but Carmello (yellow tabby) and Pasqual did a great job keeping the barn rodent-free.

Later, I sold that facility and purchased a private ranch. Carmello and Pasqual moved into the house because there was no barn. They stayed there safely until the day someone left the door open. We lost Carmello to a dog pack, but Pasqual had miraculously stayed inside.

Over the 14 years I’ve had him, Pasqual has become my number one companion. He sleeps with me, sits at my feet when I’m on the computer, follows me as I do laundry, and even watches me from under the table when I’m cooking. If I’m watching TV, he likes to sprawl on the couch behind my head.

Last month, he suddenly went from his former 20+ pounds to just 7 pounds due to diabetes. The veterinarian was afraid he would not recover, but we wanted to give him every chance. Now he gets two insulin shots a day, and is finally starting to gain back some of his weight.

I know it’s not possible, but I really do wish he could live forever. He’s my “heart-cat.” It’s scary to realize I almost didn’t adopt him as a kitten.

Whendie Johnston
Stanfield, AZ

I'm the Rescue

I was diagnosed with Manic Depression/Bipolar Disorder when I was 15 and after a string of doctors, random hospitalizations, bad medication mixes and heartbreaking suicide attempts I made the choice at 19 to learn how to handle it without medication. I know that it frightened my family badly and still occasionally does, but I wasn't prepared to back down.

When I got my first apartment, I did my best with alarms and reminders, but there were a lot of times that it was just too hard to keep moving forward. Then a neighbor brought me Chicken Little (the yellow tabby) and Dangermouse (the gray tuxedo.) They were tiny and helpless and still in the process of being weaned and their mother was dead, so I took them in and they changed my whole life.

They aren't registered or trained companion animals, but they take care of me as much as I take care of them. When I'm losing it to depression, they cuddle up to me and make sure I know that I have all their love and when I'm manic and can't sleep, they slow me down through sheer cat laziness. They make sure that I sleep with complaints and purring, remind me that we need to eat (or I should at least feed them) when I can't even remember that food exists. Most importantly, they keep me moving forward, not only because I have to work enough to give them food and shelter, but because everything is less overwhelming, less painful and less dragging when I know that they are at home waiting for me and that all they really want from me is my love (and a full food bowl.)

I've been laughed at for saying it this way, but they saved my life ten years ago and they save it every day now. I couldn't ask for better caregivers.

Fort Worth, TX

Pesto my Girleee Girl

Pesto and her brother Ruby were rescued in 1998. They were so young and small - literally they both sat on top of a paint can...holding on to each other, scared of their new environment. These two were inseparable. We moved several times in their younger years and they handled it like champs. Once settled into a new home, they chased each other around the house, talked to the birds and played for hours on end. Ruby passed in 2008 from cancer and Pesto was lost. She became very lonely. We adopted two boys (Caesar and Fenwick) to help her with being lonely, but she never took to them. You could say she tolerated them and ensured they kept their distance. She became my lap kitty as I drank my morning coffee and my snuggle girl at night. Yesterday we helped her over the rainbow bridge, as she Was turning 19. She is truly missed as my heart didn't want her to go. She is now with her brother Ruby running and playing again. So, this is my first coffee morning without my Little Pesto girleee girl. I loved you with all my heart. I miss you.

Nokesville, VA

Our Rescue From PetSmart - Joey

I stopped at the pet store to buy some items and went by the animals for adoption. There were kittens and one older boy named BooBoo who was 3 years old. I believe his name came from his tail that looked like it had been broken as it was all crooked. I stopped by a couple of weeks later and he was still there but all the kittens were gone. I asked if I could hold him and asked how long he had been there. They told me he had been there about 3 months and was depressed; it broke my heart. I held him and told him he would find his forever home soon. I went home and told my husband about him and he said "that's too long for him to be there". We already had a rescue cat named Boo (because he played peek-a-boo) and a dog so we discussed it for the next couple of weeks. We decided to take Boo up there to meet him and all he did was hiss at him which wasn't a good sign; but I knew Boo was already agitated because of the car ride. A couple of weeks after that while running errands, I asked my husband what was next on the list. He said the pet store and if he's still there, we were getting him. Well, he was and we named him Joey. It took awhile to integrate him into our clan but him and Boo are now best friends and love to play together. Our dog, Sophia, just tolerates both of them. At first, we didn't think he could jump up on things but with time his muscles gained strength and now he jumps on everything. He's a daddy's boy and Boo is a mommy's boy.

Frederick, CO

Lil' Bit

My Lil' Bit was dumped close to where I work with three of her siblings that we caught quickly, but it took me almost 5 months of daily visits, food and toys to capture this little one that was living on a golf course close by. There is an animal sanctuary between where I work and the golf course and I attribute the fact that she survived because of her small size. She's been living with us since August 2011, living the life and rules the roost. She has two older rescue siblings now that are lab mixes and she thinks she's as big as they are. The two she bonded with when I brought her home have since crossed the Rainbow Bridge, but she has adapted and brought so much love and spirit to our home. I don't know what we would do without her in our lives.


Forney, TX

Forney, TX

Dice - Our Sweetheart

In July 2015, our 14 year old black lab, Cisco, crossed the bridge due to cancer...he was my heart dog and I still miss him. We had 3 other dogs at the time and my husband said "no more". I was good with that, but a couple of weeks later he decided we should get another dog since our 15 year old lab mix, Lady, was living on borrowed time. Hence, we ended up with Dice. A young couple needed to rehome her and my husband decided we NEEDED her. She's been part of our family for almost 2 years now. Our precious Lady passed 6 months after Dice came to live with us. Though she wasn't a replacement for Cisco or Lady, she has helped mend the hole in our hearts. Not a day goes by that she doesn't make us laugh and she is the biggest snuggler and talker I've ever seen. She sleeps between us in bed under the covers with her head on a pillow and is usually the last one in the house to get up. She is such a blessing and so well behaved. She fit right in with the other two dogs and I think we would all be lost without her in our lives.


Forney, TX

Forney, TX
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