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Kylo Bear aka Baxter aka George....

We already had two other dogs (Puggles), we were definitely not looking to get a third. That wasn't the plan. Plans change though, there was a dog out there that needed us as much as we needed him. I heard about this 7 year old Puggle named "Baxter" that was in a kill shelter about 250 miles from where we live in Plantation, Fl, from a FB rescue page. His owners didn't want him, and he'd been in the shelter for almost a month. Something stood out. Not just because our other male dogs name was Baxter, but something in this sweet boys eyes, his big brown eyes. I told my husband, we have to get this dog. He was on board and drove the entire 4 1/2 hour trip there and back in one very long day. From the moment I laid eyes on him, I knew it was meant to be. He got along pretty instantly with my other two dogs, a 7 year old and almost 9 year old Puggle. He didn't respond to the name Baxter, so we decided to call him George, and then my 5 year old son quickly renamed him "Kylo", and it stuck. What we didn't know about Kylo was how severely mistreated, abused and beaten he had been at his prior home. It took him a whole week until we finally heard the most beautiful Beagle howl in the world. He had a limp and had bed sores from being confined all the time. He tired after walking 1/2 a block. All that changed, now he goes on regular walks with my other two, he howls happily all the time, no longer cowers in fear and he actually learned to swim. To think, this poor fellow was just going to be put down for no other reason than his previous owners were done beating on him and decided they no longer wanted him. He is an integral part of our family now!

Plantation, FL

Meant to be

We decided to adopt a dog (okay, a more "intimidating" dog than our yappy, 20 lb pomapoo), after an attempted break-in at our new house. We visited our local animal shelter, and after walking through the kennels we met Nikki. She was a gorgeous pit mix, and my husband was in love. We decided to take the night to sleep on it. The next day we headed to Petco to get something else, and the shelter was there with some of the animals to adopt out. Well there she was. We adopted her right then and renamed her Gracie. I have to admit I was a bit nervous, due to the stigma surrounding pits. I watched Gracie like a hawk around my young children for weeks. My very loving, well intended, uber-energetic 2 yr old gave her a run for her money. Gracie became a jungle gym, a couch, a pillow, and the best friend to her. She has been sat on, tugged on, and hugged nonstop, and she has never shown a lick of aggression towards any of us; but is very protective of us. Gracie is the sweetest, most loving, and gentle dog ever. We are so glad that she has become part of our family, she is a perfect fit!

Bremerton, WA

Little Kitty the foster fail.

Two adult cats at the shelter needed to be fostered. We took them in.

They were nice enough cats - Mister Kitty, an orange and white lump who nervously peed on things, and Little Kitty, a badly matted tortoiseshell with a horrible respiratory infection. We kept them for a bit, worked with them as one does - they'd certainly make nice additions to someone's family, we thought. Especially Little Kitty, who was beginning to show her cattitude as she recovered from the infection...

We had once owned a Persian who was the sassiest girl you would ever meet. She was the mistress of the house, no questions asked, and remained that way until she finally told us, at 28 years of age, that she was ready to cross the Rainbow Bridge. There could never be another cat like her, not in a thousand lifetimes.

Except now there was. Little Kitty, with all her grump and sass, was a dead ringer in everything but color for that lovely lady we once had.

I told myself I wasn't going to keep her, even as I introduced her to the resident cats now that she was well enough to mingle. They all got along as well as one can expect, came to enjoy one another's company, and yet I kept insisting - I didn't need another cat. I didn't.

But one day I saw her in the hall, laying on a neon green mouse-shaped toy, looking at me with those eyes - the "you are my human" eyes.

I gave in.

Now named Branwen, she's fat, loving, and still just as sassy as her predecessor. She likes climbing up on my chest and rumbling her breathy purr in my face. She doesn't meow, she chirps - and does it in the most demanding way. She's lovely and I'm glad I decided to keep her.

Kai Lowell
Dubuque, IA

The surprise cat.

My family had just recently completed a move from Colorado to Iowa. A terrifying train ride, the hassle of settling into a new place, trying to put down even the smallest of roots put it bluntly, I was a mess. I was still mourning the fact that we were unable to take our cats with us when we moved; I can only remember a very few short times in my life there were no pets in the household. I didn't like it in the least.

Then one day, my parents came home, said "Here, have a cat," and placed the most beautiful ball of fur and fear in my lap.

Rika was perhaps two years old, skin and bones, matted so badly she could hardly move, terrified of everything, and obviously somewhat ill. An examination at the vet showed her to have polycystic kidney disease - and a condition called feline cutaneous asthenia, which basically meant her skin was so thin it could rip if she even groomed herself too hard. And it would just keep on ripping, as the two inch-long, stapled gashes on her elbows proved when we had her shaved completely down.

I wasn't going to give up. She didn't like to drink - I got her a fountain. She starved herself when I tried to change her to a good food - I persevered. She disliked grooming - I coaxed and cajoled.

Rika is now six. Her kidney function is normal. Her skin has improved immensely. She loves lap time, brushies and terrorizing the other cats. She takes prednisolone every few days for allergies and has improved 100 percent. She is my fluffy baby, my savior, and I'm so glad to have her.

Kai Lowell
Dubuque, IA

The Recluse

I lost my 16 year old Himalayan. MacTabish or "Mac" was on our Feline Rescue Site. He's a red tabby, with perfect markings, I fell in love at first sight. He was a year old, neutered, with special needs.

They found him in our local Feral Colony; he had been fat, clean, no flees, excellent condition; Mac had not been there the day before. They thought he was lost since a shuttle shot had gone up the day before. He probably got scared, ran and couldn't be found. Special needs, he was terrified. he hid, you couldn't touch his head, he needed a quite home,lots of TLC. I felt so bad he'd gone from a home, to colony, to foster care, to vet, to foster care. No wonder he was terrified.

I brought him home, he hid in a dark corner,I removed him, he ran under the bed. I left water, food and sand box near and waited. For several weeks to give him TLC I had to crawl under the bed or sit on the floor and talk to him. He was terrified when I touched him.

My vet called after Mac arrived ask me to take a year old female Rag Doll he'd done an intake on. I told him about Mac, he said come get this little girl he may just need a friend. I got Delilah a fistey little ALPHA, within a week she and Mac were playing. It took three months before I could touch him without him cowering or running, before he'd come out close to me. One day he jumped up on the couch beside me, I knew we had a large breakthrough.

He is 10 and has three playmates, he is the most loving companionable kitty in the houses. Mac is with me all the time, sleeps beside me, brings me toys, talks to me, follows me, lets me groom, wash & nail clip, withoutt a fuss. He's fantastic if I had to choose only one of my kitties he'd be it.

Titusville, FL

From hoard to forever home.

My family used to be involved with quite a few rescues and the local shelter - we'd foster just about anything, a holdover from many years ago when the neighbors would bring us litters of orphaned kittens to raise and we owned all sorts of various pets. We've not done it in a while now due to various health issues, but we're still in contact with some of the rescue people who occasionally ask if we'd like to see such and such animal.

The most recent one we were asked that for: a Maine Coon.

Perhaps nine years old and terribly stunted in growth, owned along with thirty-odd other cats by a hoarder, not a one spayed or neutered. Repeatedly pregnant in her sad life, just having given birth to a litter of kittens only a few weeks ago. Four pounds, not likely to survive nursing those poor little bubs, and with a respiratory infection to boot.

She, minus kittens who sadly passed, found her way to a local rescue who asked if we'd like to foster her. Of course, said we - how can we say no to this miserable little scrap of fur, the poor wee thing.

She stepped out of the carrier when she arrived, squeaked and sneezed at me, and I knew at first sight I had to keep this tenacious fluffball.

Now Freya is a sassy, demanding, nine and a half pound mass of floof and attitude. She demands table scraps along with the dogs, loves a good belly rub, is fond of holding and licking my hand, takes up all the room on my computer table and loves to sit in the window. It's as if she's lived here for twenty years instead of two - and that's just how we like it.

Kai Lowell
Dubuque, IA

This is Milo's Story

I was visiting my cousin in Oregon, and while I was there I found a stray kitten. I scoured the neighborhood and local shelters trying to find his owners, but no one claimed him.

A week passed and I decided he was going home to California with me. He was about two or three months old and already neutered. After a Vet examination it was concluded he was in very good health. I named him Milo. He was a happy kitten, kind and playful with my two older cats Tasha and Gracie; they were 18 and 20 years old at this time.

The story begins when he turned into a teenager. His testosterone was flooding his body and he became very aggressive, actually quite mean. I took him to the Vet and it was decided to give him Zanax to calm him. Well, it didn’t work and I was at a loss. I had to keep my old girls away from him, he would chase them and lash out biting and scratching. I kept my distance too.

Then the miracle happened. I was passing through the living room, the TV was blaring, and I heard a comment, “If the tissue is not completely removed when neutered, testosterone is still present and continues to affect the personality of the cat.” This information staggered me, maybe this was Milo’s problem.

The Vet surgically examined him and discovered his testicles were intact and did not drop. From the outside he looked neutered, and because I found him, I didn’t know his history.

After he was neutered he changed into a loving, peaceful and content cat. Years have gone by and he has never shown aggression, not even a scratch. He is very devoted to me, constantly follows me and when I sit, he is immediately on my lap. It is determined that he is a Norwegian Forest Cat, he is a beautiful cat inside and out. I love him immensely. I believe it was a blessing I happened to hear that one sentence on TV that changed Milo’s life.

Cherie Bennett Mayse
Roseville, CA

Historia de May

Buenas días/tardes/noches. May es mi gata adorada, llevo sólo 10 meses a mi lado, pero son 10 meses que no cambiaría por nada.

Ella vivía en la casa de un hombre junto con ocho gatos más, cada vez que este llegaba a la casa borracho cogía un palo o lo primero que encontrara y les empezaba a pegar. Allí también vivían algunos perros, los cuales este hombre había enseñado a que cada vez que los soltaba era para que fueran a matar o lastimar a los gatos. Los vecinos se enteraron y denunciaron al hombre, las personas de la fundación animal rescataron a todos los animales que vivían ahí, los cuidaron, curaron y dieron en adopción. Un día mi suegra y mi marido me regalaron una gata por nuestro aniversario y yo decidí ponerle "May". Me dijeron que no sabían cuanto tenia, pero que no menos del año, así que ese 13 de Septiembre quedó como el día de sus cumpleaños. Al principio era algo difícil, era muy miedosa, se escondía siempre y le tenia miedo a todo el mundo, pero poco a poco se fue acostumbrando a mi, hasta que se volvió una gata casi normal. Ella no tiene dientes, debido al maltrato que recibió, lo cual implica que siempre mantenga con la lengua afuera. Hace un par de meses le descubrieron un tumor en su boca, y aunque se lo pudieron extirpar, su boca nunca sanó. Desde entonces sólo puede comer papillas. Aún se esconde y le cuesta confiar en gente nueva, pero ahora es inseparable de mi y yo de ella. Tiene una peculiar forma de maullar, como si fuera el pito de un juguete y ronronea todo el tiempo. Es lo mejor que me pasó y a pesar de todo el sufrimiento que he pasado, no la cambiaría por nada.

Lizeth Mendoza
Ibagué, Colombia

The Story of Chester Cheetah

I'm going to tell you a story:

In 2004, when my son Aidan was 2, the two of us went to the SPCA to pick out a kitty. We walked into the free range cat room and quietly sat down on the floor (Aidan in my lap) to see if anyone caught our eye. From across the room we saw a big lanky black cat get up, stretch ever so slowly, and walk over to us. He sniffed us both for a minute, let us pet him, and then to our surprise and absolute delight, climbed up into Aidan's lap and got comfortable. That cat chose US....and his name was Mack.

That cat would become our Frankie Friend, best cat ever for the next 11 years....until we lost him to diabetic complications.

2 months later, sad and lonely without a cat in my home I decide to start volunteering at the SPCA and maybe see if anyone could compare to my lost love. One afternoon I am sitting in the free range cat room and two 7 month old tiger striped brothers climb into my lap and get comfortable. After a few minutes one gets up and goes to find something else to do. The one left sat there and let me cuddle him for 2 hours before the shelter closed up for the night. As I was standing up, with him still in my arms I asked "What is this one's name?"

"Mack" she said.

I brought him home the next day. :)

Kingston, NY

Maggie the One Eyed Cat

Maggie was found in a backyard by some very unfriendly dogs. She had given birth to 4 kittens and they were in immediate danger. In the process of defending her babies from the dogs, her eye was severely injured. The owner of the backyard called Save the Cats AZ to come help her. Sadly, Maggie lost her eye due to infection and one of her kittens passed away. But the three surviving kittens were adopted. When she came to Save the Cats AZ she has was depressed and anti social. We started her on Jackson Galaxy's Grouch Remedy, which perked her up a lot. A wonderful foster mom named Elisha, took her in with several other special needs kitties. Now Maggie has transformed into a playfull cat who loves to be petted. Thanks to Elisha's love and Jackson Galaxy's Grouch Remedy she is happy and content.

Barbara Arce
Gilbert, AZ
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