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Polly the Brazilian Beauty

In January, 2011, areas of Brazil suffered horrendous flooding and mudslides. Thousands of deaths were reported. At one point, a picture appeared on an online news website showing rows of graves freshly dug, with only one grave filled. A dog was lying next to that filled grave. The story stated that the dog was mourning its owner who had passed in the flooding. There were comments galore, and I wrote in that I would be happy to adopt the dog if someone could get her to me.

Sure enough, an American named Don, who lived in Rio, read the comment and went to see about the dog. He contacted me and said that while apparently the dog in the photo had a home, he found another that looked just like her and would I still be interested in adopting her? I replied yes. We already had two rescues from Puerto Rico living at home with us, so what was one more? Eventually Don managed to get all the paperwork needed, and a flight ticket. Being winter here in New Hampshire, and summer there in Brazil, it was uncertain as to when temperatures would work whereby it was not too hot for her to be waiting on the tarmac in Rio, and not too cold for her to be waiting in Boston. But eventually it all worked out and Polly arrived on a cold February day.

Our other two dogs, both females, weren't happy to have another female join them, but they eventually worked it out. Since then, Polly has become a veritable rock star in my house! She went from being a dog who was never inside a home, to being a complete love bug, extremely guarding of all the family members yet extremely trusting of us at the same time. I've since had her DNA tested, and she is part Doberman, German Shepherd, Boxer, and Chihuahua! We adore Polly and are planning to adopt another dog from a rescue in Brazil shortly. They are in desperate need of canine adoptions and we are happy to do our part.

Derry, NH

He walked into the right apartment.

Our daughter was away at college. One August afternoon she had her apartment door open, sitting on the floor watching tv. In walked this cute little kitten. She asks around the complex if he belonged to anyone & no one claimed him. She kept him, naming him Frankie. Her then boyfriend gave her another stray she named Sammie. A few months later my older cat was hit by a vehicle. When she came home Thanksgiving, she left Frankie and Sammie with us so she could focus on her finals. Frankie and I bonded before she got back home for Christmas holidays, so she gave him to me.

Fast forward over 14 yrs later and he's still my buddy. He gets along with any dog we've brought home and sometimes acts like one of the dogs.

We've been through too many happy and sad adventures over the 14 years and 5 months he's been with me to write about. He is usually sleeping close to where I'm sitting if not next to me. He either sleeps at my feet or I'll wake up in the morning & he'll be sleeping next to me.

He's slowed down some in the last few years and because of arthritis in one of his back legs doesn't jump on things very high. Several years back we made him an indoor cat. He objects occasionally, but as long as he can lay in an open window, he's happy.

Greenville, TX

"The Gray Potato"

My husband and I had just purchased our first home together in the fall of 2008. We had both grown up with numerous furry, four-legged family members in our respective homes and it was only a couple of months before we decided to go visit our local BMHS shelter to adopt a cat. So, that Saturday afternoon we wandered around the cat area of the shelter and found ourselves in a room where a handful of adult cats were allowed to roam freely around the space. We of course spoke to and greeted many cats, but were drawn to one particular short-haired gray cat sitting contently on the highest bed of the room's cat tree. We both remarked what a beautiful cat she was with her bluish-gray coat, white markings and green eyes. After petting this gray cat a while, it didn't take long before she bit my husband on the hand. It wasn't hard enough to draw blood, but we both chuckled and said, "I guess petting time is over!" Long story short, the soft, short-haired gray cat (with the white milk mustache) came home with us on that Valentine's day in 2009 and she's been with us for the last 9+ years. She was renamed "Gracie" not only for her coloring, but for her clumsy (lack-of-grace) demeanor as well! Gracie is a very vocal cat who loves her food and never forgets to remind us when it's treat time. She enjoys making nests in the laundry pile, sleeping on our PJs during the day and stealing our 'warm' seats on the couch at night. This is why she's earned the nickname "couch potato" or the "gray potato". She is well loved, spoiled rotten and we wouldn't have it any other way! She is the best Valentine's day gift one could ever hope for! Adopt, don't shop!

Jon & Kelli
College Place, WA

Surprise Beginning

I was driving on a rural road between SW Missouri and NW Arkansas in July 2015. There are only a few houses and farms along the road. I saw a car a short distance in front of me showing down and a hand out the window. When I got up to the area (near a house) where they slowed down, I saw a small kitten laying close to the side of the road. I couldn't just drive by. When I got right next to it, I could see fresh blood around it's little head. I picked it up as gently as possible and wrapped it in a T-shirt. I drove around the countryside looking for a vet so it could be put down humanely. I couldn't let it suffer. I finally found a vet's phone number. He stayed on the phone with me and guided me to his office, which was on his farm. The vet said it was a boy and he'd check him over. After a few minutes he called me over to the exam table. To my surprise and relief, he said that all the baby needed was a few stitches in his cheek. He charged me very little, gave the kitten deworm meds and sent us on our way. I named him Zach after the sweet vet who helped us. He's been a blessing and constant source of laughter and joy every since.

Vicki Jo Morris
Rogers, AR

Our little Tuxes....Meadow & Brooke

We were not in the market for any more kitties, having 3 in the house already, but you know how that goes! My sister was feeding a female feral cat by her job every day. It was in a small patch of "forest" near a parkway. One day she did not show up anymore. We think she may have passed away. :( But a day or 2 after that 4 little tux kittens appeared! After feeding them for awhile it was time to round them up. The weather was turning cold and they were only about 6 weeks old.1 poor kitty was sick and didn't make it. Another was taken by someone. That left 2. No shelter had room for them... so, where else could they go but home with us? Well, they are a wonderful addition to the family. They livened up the house and keep the older cats on their toes. Toys everywhere. They are now about a year and a half. They are named after the parkway near where they were found. So now we have 5. All rescues. Jones, Phoebe, Snowy, Meadow & Brooke. Love them all.

Virginia M.
N Bellmore, NY

Little compares to the love of a cat

I lived with cats my whole life and when I moved out on my own no place ever felt like a home. Several years after moving in with my boyfriend, we decided that it was time. I was ready to make our home complete and hoping that a loving pet would help him cope with civilian life. Only the spouse of a former soldier knows the stresses, troubles, sadness and struggles that appear after leaving that life. With an animal to love and focus on, perhaps there would be hope. We went to the local PetSmart, where they have shelter animals for adoption up front. There were many cats to choose from. I was focused on a long hair kitten frolicking about but my boyfriend was focused on a little tortie all alone in her cage. I reached my hand in to pet her and almost lost it :) Instantly my boyfriend proclaimed that we had to get her. She was older than the rest at 3 1/2 and we were told she should be an only animal pet which is why it had been difficult to adopt her out. The need for a loving home really struck a chord with my boyfriend and I feel he related to her in that way. We took her home and named her Purrsephone. It took time for her to warm up to us but 7 years later she runs the house. She greets us when we get home and talks all day long. She filled the void for us both, albeit in different ways, and we can’t imagine life without her now. I encourage any veteran who may be struggling with the civilian world to adopt an animal and for everyone to not always go for the easy kitten, there is great reward in providing for an older passed over animal in need.

Roselle, IL

Lucy's Leap

On a cold November day in 2016, my husband and I pulled up to our local country club in our pickup. He left the driver's side door open while he went around to the back of the truck to unload some equipment that needed to be stored at the site. I sat waiting on the passenger's side, when suddenly I felt something plop in my lap. I looked down to see a beautiful gray tabby kitten with big golden eyes. She crawled up on my shoulder and began nuzzling my neck. I couldn't believe she had launched herself up into the cab of that truck--she must have seen her chance and just gone for it! She went home with us that day and became a part of our family. We named her Lucy after the legendary Lucille Ball because she was such a comedienne--silly, goofy, and incredibly ornery. She spiced up life for us as well as for our other cat and two elderly dogs. She loves to crawl up in the chair with me, sleeping on my shoulder or cuddling in my arms like a baby. We are so very thankful that Lucy took her leap of faith that day--except maybe when she empties out my purse or chews on my scrapbook paper. Just kidding--we love her dearly always!

JoAnne Anderson
Chariton, IA

Virtue, our California cat

My boyfriend and I were Philly transplants living in SF when my beloved 14 year old cat passed away. Myself, my boyfriend and our year old tabby were heartbroken.

One afternoon, my boyfriend sent me a picture of Yoda, a 3 month old Bengal/tabby mix at the East Bay SPCA. We got in the car early on Saturday morning to meet her and were one of the first people in the building. When Yoda saw us coming she promptly tumbled off the sleeping ledge in her enclosure in her eagerness to come greet us; I knew she was ours. We took her home that morning and let her explore our apartment. After she inspected the cat toys, kibble location, and her new sister, she hopped on the couch and settled onto my lap. She curled up, looked at me with her big, gold eyes and let out the cat version of a sigh. She was home. She helped to heal my heart, and made me so glad we decided to adopt again. We named her Virtue after a song about a cat, but her nickname is ‘Bengal’. She never ceases to make us laugh with her goofy personality, playfulness, her chatty nature and her love of snuggles. She has grown from a clumsy kitten into a regal cat, but I still think of the day we met her. It was love at first tumble.

Philadelphia, PA

Lost and Found

One night my cat Smiley, ' Stole My Heart' was on the screen porch and was just howling. Upon going to see what was up, my wife and I saw the most beautiful Tortie colored cat in the back yard, she looked half starved and scared to death. We went out with some food to try and get close to her, to my surprise she came up to me and ate from my hand but quickly ran away, we only hoped she might come back. The next night I was looking for her and she showed up, I went out with food and a yard chair, sat down fed her and picked her up, she was light as a feather. My wife tried to put her in a cat carrier but that frightened her and she ran off again. To my surprise, she came back the next night, this time I picked her up, took into the garage and put her down. I locked the garage door so it would not go up, we put food, a bed, a litter box and a heater and she lived in the garage for about {2] weeks, while we got her checked out at the vet and a injury to her front paw fixed. We moved her inside to a spare bedroom, in about a week as she got to know our dog and smiley she came out to join us. We had put a baby gate in the door to keep her separate for a while. She only weighed 4.5 pounds. She is now 10 pounds, has a Tortie personality, has become very playful, and loves the house, she follows us around like a little puppy, always wanting attention. She has added to the family and with Smiley owns our hearts, we love her dearly. Our everyday is her and Smiley, the joy of each day, I thank her daily for coming into our lives.

jim p
wilmington, NC

Stole my heart

My wife and I found Smiley under hiding under a recliner at wife's brothers house who had just passed away in 2013. We had looked all over for her and feared she had gotten outside and ran away, under the recliner was the last place we looked. We took her home then to the Vet for a check up, all was fine but I was a little unsure about keeping her since we had just lost our orange tabby 'Tiger' that we had for over ten years and had just taken in another orange tabby stray that we named Wiggles, he was a great cat also. But right after my wife walked in from the Vet, smiley jumped into my lap, snuggled and purred and stole my heart. At that moment my whole outlook for cats changed from just liking to a full cat lover. Smiley has been with us for five years now, and is a total joy, she loves to play and fight sleep in your lap, butt your head and carry around her mouse toy and scream at it. We love her dearly and she basically now rules the house. She was recently diagnosed with kidney problems and we have spent a lot of time and effort finding various foods and treats that she enjoys that are helpful with her condition. She shows no signs of slowing down, we hope she stays with us for many more years as it would be devastating to us both if she left us too soon.

jim p
wilmington, NC
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