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Finally mine

"I'm going to get a cat."

That's what I told people. But months after accumulating supplies and saving up for my apartment's pet deposit, I still hadn't gotten around to going to the shelter.

My mom finally provided the proper kick in the pants. I was visiting for the holidays and she took me to her local shelter, just to look. Spurred on by the sweet cats there, I returned home and promptly paid that pet deposit.

The following day, I made the hour-long drive to the city (I lived in a tiny rural farming town then) and started looking for the right cat. At the Humane Society, none of the animals seemed right. I looked at the adoption cages at a PetSmart. Nope. I went to another PetSmart, and I was about to leave empty handed again, when another visitor opened one of the cages. The cat inside was hiding in its cube-bed, so I hadn't even gotten a look at it when I walked through. But when the door was opened, a beautiful white-marked tortie popped out. One look was enough for me. When the visitor pushed the cat back inside, I grabbed the first adoption person I could find and said, "That one. I want her!"

She was about 18 months old, and her name was Emily. When we got home, she ate a little food and then proceeded to explore my apartment with the thoroughness of a crime scene investigator. I wanted to let her settle in at her own pace, so I kept my distance. A couple of hours after her arrival, she jumped up on the back of the couch where I was lounging and headbutted my cheek. "So, you'll keep me?" I asked. She made no sound, but as I stroked her, I felt a faint purr vibrating through her rib cage.

Emmy was home.

Rose Ludwig
Colorado Springs, CO


We had always been a family that loved animals. My sister had wanted a dog for a long time, they had decided to allow her to get a dog. I was not too keen on the idea of a dog, i myself had a little bit of a fear of them. They went one day to go to a rescue centre as she decided she would rather adopt a rescue dog than buy a puppy. They brought her home that very day, a beautiful brindle Staffie. She had decided to name her Tinkerbell, at first i was not so keen on Tinkerbell. She had come into the house larger than life barking so loudly and happily that she had finally found her forever home. We all instantly fell under her spell. I became so enamored with her i eventually became a dog person. She became particularly attached to my mother when my sister left for university, when she returned although Bella loves us all we knew then that mother was her true Mistress, we didn't mind now that my twin and myself were moving on and out of the house we felt this would be good for mum. As the years went on and we had many with our beautiful Bella, 7 years later we had noticed that she needed to go outside a lot more to do her business, thinking nothing of it when it first started and assumed it was to do with her age as at the time she was 11. Eventually it got to a point where we thought no this isn't normal. We took her to the vets and did countless testing and eventually a biopsy. We found out she had a tumor on her bladder wall and it was too large to remove. We were all heart broken. After a few more months that originally we never thought we would have she went down hill very suddenly and on that day we all knew it was time to say goodbye.

It still hurts to this day, a part of me will always miss her.

Samantha Clayton
Woodhall Spa, United Kingdom

All creatures great and small

So many dogs and cats need home but they are not alone. I tell people about our house full of pets, dogs, cats and rats and then mention they are all rescues and they say "Rats???" Yup rats rescues too. They were used to train dogs for ground dog or barn hunt and were going to be snake food when that was done. Nothing against snakes but they can be often taught to take pre-killed frozen which is safer for the snake as well and snakes in question did take the frozen. Hubby heard of their destiny and had pet rats as child and would have none of it. So 6 rats joined the family too. Rats are amazing pets, smart, friendly, playful, affectionate and easy to take care of. The one in picture is named one one eight, our joke from sci-fi show with character named one one seven and was an experiment. The cat is Monster. It is so heart warming seeing our family together, different species but accept each other as siblings. Rabbits, birds, skunk, guinea pigs have at times shared our home as well. I know we can not save them all, there just is not time or room. Can not think of ones that were not saved though love of the ones that were is what matters.

Brewster, OH

My Daisy Sweet

This is Daisy. (1st pic is her when I first saw her and then her now.) She's my 3 year old rescue. At the time, our family had 2 dogs but I was really wanting a puppy. The pet expo was coming and I wanted to go, and my mom agreed. We got there and I saw so many cute dogs and I wanted to scoop them all up. But as cute as they were, I didn't get that "feeling" that I was expecting to get. So we went to our animal care and control and looked at all the dogs that were adoptable and I passed by a cage with 5 puppies in it. I was in awe! But I looked up and saw papers for them with the word ADOPTED written on each of them so I walked away thinking they already had homes. My mom called me back over and said that one puppy didn't have a paper and I looked down and there was my sweet Daisy girl. I ran to find someone who worked there and found out that she was not adopted. Heading up to the front to proceed with the adoption, we ran into someone who was putting her paper back up. A family was going to adopt her but then couldn't because of their landlord. FATE!! We got her the next day after getting fixed. And it's been 3 years on st Patrick's day since we got her and I couldn't be happier. She is my very best friend! She has some separation anxiety and is easily confused and isn't good in situations that have too much going on. So she is often a HUGE handful. But I think it was meant to be that she is here in our family. She curls up under the blanket with me and hugs me when I greet her after being gone. She is the sweetest ball of cute and has the best personality. Hard headed, stubborn, goofy, spacey, but soooo loving. I wouldn't give her up for the world!

West Palm Beach, FL

Costa Rica Love

We were living on 50 acres of remote jungle property in Costa Rica, and already had one cat, Luz. My husband at the time had reluctantly agreed to her, because she helped control rodents in the house (which keeps the snakes away). A mile away, our closest neighbors, ex-pats from Massachusetts, had a small grey cat who kept coming around -- strange, because we really were in the middle of nowhere. It was the rainy season, which in this part of the world means torrential downpours and the poor little guy was desperate for a dry place to stay, but while they were huge dog-lovers, one of them absolutely hated cats, so there was no way that one was staying. I wanted to take him in, but my ex kept saying one cat was enough.

One day we were coming back from town and met them on the road as they were heading in. They had the cat in a carrier in the back of their truck. "Last chance to take it," they told us, and I just knew we had to. There he was, huddled in the cat carrier all skin and bones and plaintive meows, and even my ex's heart melted. We took him home and named him Shadow, and he quickly became my best friend. He slept in my arms every night and followed me and my son everywhere. We'd go for walks every afternoon along the dirt road that ran past our house and he would follow us until he got tired so we'd have to carry him if we wanted to go any further.

We ended up moving back to Minnesota after a few years, and Shadow's love and snuggling helped me get through a divorce and parent my son through high school. Unfortunately, he developed cancer on his shoulder, which after two operations continued to spread, so we had to have him put down right before my son went off to college. This is a cat I will miss forever, one of the ones who came to teach us all about pure love.

Ann Betz
Celebration, FL

Cinderella, from rags to riches

I moved into a fully furnished flat that the previous tenant had hurriedly left due to being chased by the police. Not long after I moved in, a fluffy white cat kept coming in every time I opened the door, running up the stairs and lodging itself under the bed that was included with the flat. I was worried about this as I had three rabbits in my flat also. After a couple of weeks of this, I managed to catch the little fiend and took it to the vets to see if it was microchipped. It my address and to the tenant who had left. It turned out that in his hurry to leave, he left his cat and there was no way of finding out where he was! I asked what the cat was called and I was told "Cinderella", which I thought was unusual. I realised that I couldn't turn my back on a cat who had already been abandoned once and had lived in my flat longer than I had, so I decided to take her in. I soon found out why she was called Cinderella, she liked to sleep in the old fireplace! It took weeks of hiding and hissing before she eventually accepted me as her new human. Now she loves to snuggle up on my lap for a cuddle. And the rabbits? THEY chase HER!

Huddersfield, United Kingdom

Rescued twice......

I had lost my mother to Alzheimers and brought her miniature schnauzer home to live with me. He had been starving due to the depression of my stepfather, and I knew we would quickly become partners. We drove 500 miles together and he was so scared and depressed. When we got home he was greeted by two other dogs and quickly felt at home. Three years later, after a divorce, he left with me to a knew house, and I did not want him to be alone so we made a drive to the local SPCA where I found my Ava. She was a one year old, spunky, staffordshire and english sheepdog mix, and Fred was 8. Ava adored him and challenged my grumpy man every day to play. They were inseparable for 8 years until he started having uncontrollable seizures and I had to help him cross the rainbow bridge at age 16. Ava was devastated as was I, so we made a drive to the county shelter. That was the day I found Rex, a skinny, 14 pound, 4 month old staffordshire and greyhound mix, (I have their DNA done). He and his three other siblings had been thrown from a car into an orchard. A passer by had witnessed the action, scooped them up, and taken them to the shelter for safety. As soon as I saw him cowering in the kennel with those golden eyes, I new this was a match made in heaven. He came home and healed Ava's and my hearts. Their relationship is the reverse of hers with Fred with the same 8 year age difference. He is now a three year old, 75 pound lovebug who terrorizes her to play ALL day!!! Every day they make me smile, laugh, and fill my heart with joy. I am at peace and I know Fred was reunited with my mom. Ava and Rex might be rescues but they RESCUED me!!!

Kathleen Bruce
Bakersfield, CA

I Love Cake

I recently had to put down my cat Peppie. I had her since high school, and over time her health started to deteriorate heavily. I knew it was finally her time, and put her to sleep at the beginning of October. For a long time I was heavily stricken with grief and I started to hate myself for putting her down. I was then told by a co-worker that if I took Peppie’s life I should save another life. After a week I got the courage and went to the animal shelter to pick out a cat. After going through all the cats with an employee I came to a cat called “Halle”. The woman admitted that she had been here the longest out of all the young adult cats and everyone seem to dismiss her, despite her being a “sweet soul”. I remember seeing a profile picture of her on the SPCA website, and even I dismissed her as not the cat for me. But I felt bad for her, and decided to give her a chance that no one else gave her. So I adopted her. I was playing a video game, at the time, where you hire cats as your companions, and I named them after foods and decided to continue the theme with Halle –now named Cake. When I got her home Cake instantly warmed up to me and will follow me around the house and cuddle with me the minute I get home. I will never forget Peppie, but I don’t regret adopting Cake. She is the best little buddy and favorite dessert I can ask for.

Please consider adopting adult cats from the SPCA.

Calgary, AB, Canada

Foster Fail

I was working at an Animal Rescue and a few months ago this adorable little chihuahua came in as a stray. When he first came in everything was fine and then he started to break out with demodex mange. His condition got worse and looked horrible, he looked miserable so I asked to foster him. I waited a few weeks awaiting test results to make sure there was not an underlying disease that my other dog could catch and I finally got to take him home. Turned out on top of the mange, he also had second degree dermatitis. The first night I brought him home he made himself cozy and even slept on his back snuggled up with me. I fell in love and ended up adopting him. Today his skin looks so much better, you can't tell he ever had mange. He still has some mites but hopefully this will be the last month of treatment. He is such a happy little dog and he definitely chose me. I'm so glad I decided to foster him, he came into my life right when I needed him.

Surprise, AZ

The Story of Sam the Basset

Sam’s backstory was vague—“a stray from Chicago”. With that, I envisioned him standing along Chicago’s Navy Pier, looking over Lake Michigan—long ears blowing in the breeze like wind socks. Or, stealthily hanging out near a hot dog cart on the corner, hoping for an unsuspecting tourist to drop a pickle.

When we met Sam, he pounced across the length of the room, nails clickety clacking, his hind end moving one direction, his front end moving the other, and ears swinging side to side.

During our first months with Sam, we discovered he wasn’t a fan of men with gray hair. He’d hide behind my legs emitting a low-grade grumble that made his loose lips to gently vibrate. Soon, he learned that men with gray hair weren’t so bad. Sam was also averse to brooms. He’d scuttle away & peer around the corner until it disappeared. And when left alone for longer than 30 seconds, Sam made his displeasure known with deep, desperate wails that could be heard for blocks. Over time, he learned we always come back & there was no need for melodrama. With training, Sam learned that he does NOT get to sleep on the couch. So, whenever we re-enter the house, he jumps off the couch, trots to his bed & pretends to be asleep—as if he were there the entire time.

It’s been 4 years now. Sam usually lays in his plush bed. He watches me—raising his left brow, his right, his left again. I speak to him in a sing-songy voice, “How did you & those pendulant ears end up homeless? Did a gray-haired man with a broom hurt you?” He sighs, climbs off his bed, elongates himself into his best cobra pose, wanders over, & nudges me for a pat.

Paula Libbey
Edina, MN
Elephant Parade Socks
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