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Our very own Shelter Challenge!

I decided to adopt from our local shelter 2 1/2 years ago. I was looking in cages when suddenly, a dog 3 cages away leapt to her feet from a sound sleep, stood with her paws on the cage door, smiling at me, obviously recognizing me (though we hadn't met previously). My first words to her were "Do I know you? and then "You're pretty cute!" Angel was an urban stray, so when I brought her "up the hill" to her new mountain home (with 2 sisters), she was astonished at the scents, wild animals, and the freedoms of life in the forest. My husband coined her breed name as "German Sharpitrador" to encompass all that we saw in her. An interesting event occurred when she changed color the first month we had her and developed a dark saddle. Angel came to us with a lot of behavioral issues, including being very dog and people aggressive. She has truly been our personal Shelter Challenge! Using an array of excellent training/rehab books, articles, and the inspiration of expert persons and groups (Cesar! Kutyasuli.hu! Amazing Dog Training Man!) as well as lots of patience and commitment, we all have come a long way. We are still a work-in-progress as we evolve toward complete resolution of "our" problems. The attached picture is of Angel enjoying a post-adventure nap on her vacation in Yosemite. The moral of my story is that ALL dogs deserve that first, second, or whatever number chance to try to get past their abusive pasts. Even if we never achieve our ultimate goal, Angel will have a lifetime of love, fun, and the joy of belonging to a family. I will have had the same. I encourage people to reach out, adopt, and save a life!

Michele Cretarola

Michele Cretarola
Crestline, CA

Jackson

We had just lost our boxer in June and even though we have 2 small dogs I was longing for another big dog. I started looking on Petfinder and there were so many animals in need of a loving home but non of them touched me like the one I found on the Sikeston, Mo. Animal Shelter website. "There he is," I thought as soon as I saw him. They described him as a boxer mix. I think he is more american bulldog but it really doesn't matter to me what he is. Jackson a year old and he loves to play. He has more energy then my husband, 8 year old son and I have all together. We have a lot of training ahead of us but in the long run I know that he is going to be a wonderful addition to our family and we are very lucky to have him. Thanks Petfinder for all that you do to help these animals find their forever homes. Keep up the good work!!!

Pam Souder
Paducah, KY

Handsome Samson

Our boy, Samson, a feline marble bengal mix passed away June 7, 2010. He was seventeen years old and the most wonderful rescue I ever did. He was brought to me, along with two brothers and a sister, by my neighbors two boys, ages 9 and 13. I though they were carrying baby rats at first, but then realized they were four newborn kittens. They had found them in plastic trashbags at the end of the street. They opened the bags and brought them to the neighborhood 'cat lady' (Me). Sadly, Sammies' two brothers and sister did not make it, but his strength and determination to live were incredible. He grew strong and healthy,throughout the years helped initiate all the other rescues, including our dog, Angel, into our home and was just a gentle, fun loving soul. He wasn't even afraid of plastic bags, and would run around with his head through the carry handle, like "Super Kitty" throughout the house. He fetched, had hidey holes all over the house where he would stash pennies, buttons, shoe laces and anything else that would take his fancy. He was three quarters blind due to the fact that he was born with feline leukemia (a carrier, not contagious.), but that didn't even slow him down. The Specialist we took him to said his mother probably died with it after giving birth and the people just threw the babies away, like trash.

He moved with us to Tennessee and was a Joy and heart stealer. His meow never got above that of a young kitten, but he made his wishes known with paws and body language. I miss my baby, and wished to pay tribute to a wonderful spirit. See you at the Rainbow Bridge, my handsome man.

Sharon L. Higa
Kingston, TN

Furry Angel

We found our furry baby at our local Animal Shelter. He was sitting at the front of his cage shivering and nervous. When I walked by his cage our eyes met and he put his paw up on his cage and whined at me. I stopped to pet him and he licked my hand and kept grabbing my hand with his paw. I told my husband that he was the one. We named him Beamer.

When we brought him home we gave him a bath only to discover that he had ticks all over, in his hears, between his toes, hundreds of ticks!! We had him tick dipped and took him to the vet. He was estimated to be 5 months old. He was skinny had scars on his belly but was healthy. The ticks left a bunch of little "dot" scars in his ears. People always ask about the scars in his ears and I get to tell them about the day we found our sweet boy.

Beamer is now 14 years old and is such an important part of our lives. He is the most sweetest boy. We have had two kids since then and he has been the most gentle dog with our children. He is so excited to see the kids when they come home from school. He is still very playful and vocal when he plays with us. He "talks" to us when we come home after being gone a while, as if to say, "Where have you been?" He is always wagging his tail and smiling.

Our Beamer has given our family so much joy and we are so glad that he is part of our family. We absolutley love him and he loves us!

Cathy
Gilbert, AZ

Destiny Brought Murray to Me

There was a pack of stray cats that hung around my apartment complex. I would talk nice to them, and I guess that made one of them, a beautiful Siamese I had noticed right away, decide I was someone worth getting to know. One night when I came home and opened my apartment door, the Siamese dashed inside past me, and ran right to the refrigerator. I fed him some lunch meat, and he ate the entire pack. I left the door open, thinking he'd just leave, but he settled in with me and watched TV the rest of the night. When bedtime came, he still wouldn't leave, so I closed the door and let him stay. The rest is history! He is now my Murray boy, and I love him very much. I am so lucky he picked me, out of all people, to move in with.

Jennifer Bach
Scottsdale, AZ

Leo and Tigerlily

My son Billy and I got Tigerlily (grey tabby) at the Milwaukee humane society in 2003. She was 3 years old at the time and was surrendered. A few months later my son wanted another cat as his own (Tigerlily was a little skittish and only comes to me) and so we decided to go to the Humane Society to just look. We looked around and Billy saw Leo. Leo a 6 yr old orange tabby came in as a stray about 10 days before with an upper respitory and eye infection. One of his eyes was half opened and had goop all around it and he was just ragged looking. I of course was only looking for perfect cats and not a cat that needed attention but Billy was the one that wanted to see him. As soon as the employee at HS opened the cage, Leo started following Billy around like a dog. Billy just loved it!!!! He wanted Leo!!! Well after about 5 min of seeing this cat following my son I couldn’t resist we took him home that day.

He is such a lover and loves people. He give you kisses when you ask him for one and he purrs constantly. He loves the outdoors and since he was a stray I have him on a leash and we go for walks around my condo complex. When I get home from work he will yell at me until we go out.

Tigerlily still is afraid of people and noices but she loves to cuddle up to me when I am relaxing. She is my little Tiger girl.

I will always go to a shelter to get my pets and I intend to get the one that has been there the longest or one that needs attention.

Debbie Cavataio
Germantown, WI

Captain

Friday - I'm put in a cardboard box and left in the dark at a place with many other dogs.

Saturday - some people stop by and take me to a new place. Lots of yard. Breakfast and dinner. Other friends. A place of my own to sleep.

Tuesday - I'm not feeling very well. The people take me to a place where they are told I have something called Parvo

I know I spent the next few days separated from my new friends. The people are putting a needle in my back with liquid and medicine. I am so sick I don't care.

Friday - Where is my breakfast???

Captain had a tough first week, as did we. How could we prepare to lose a puppy we had only just brought home? We treated Captain at home, happy that his new siblings had all been vaccinated for this terrible virus. Captain has made a terrific addition to our household. Doesn't hurt that he is so handsome!

Meredith
Bath, OH

Sparky and Kitty

I saw Sparky on Petfinder over 5 years ago. It was love at first sight. He hasn't left my side since that time and truly is one of my best friends. He's 100 pounds of nothing but love and sweetness.

I found Kitty all alone on my job site. Eyes barely open, about 4 weeks old, and weighing not even one pound.

Sparky and Kitty have become the best of friends and spend most of their time like you see them in this picture. Sparky shares his breakfast and dinner with Kitty and Kitty shares his naps with Sparky.

Until there are none, please rescue one.

They'll rescue you right back a hundred times over.

Lori
Jackson, NJ

Rosie, our former puppy mill breeder

Rosie is a purebred Havanese who spent the first 3 1/2 years of her life in a cage as a puppy mill breeder from somewhere in the mid-west. She was discarded when she developed pyometria, a potentially fatal uterine infection, shortly after giving birth to her last litter. She was very badly matted, extremely underweight, had ear and eye infections, fleas, a cropped tail (easier for breeding) and was totally shut down. I have never seen a more terrified, unresponsive dog. A local Humane Society rescued her from there, caravanned her to Florida, spayed her, and put her on antibiotics. We adopted her as soon as she was healthy enough to take home. She didn't know how to walk on grass or any flat surface, how to eat or drink from a dish, how to play with toys or other dogs, was terrified of everything and everyone. It took almost 3 years of love and security, but now she is a happy healthy dog. She'll always have her little issues, but she has come a very long way, and we love her to pieces!! Rescuing a dog and bringing it back to the world of the living has been such a rewarding experience.

Please consider what dogs like Rosie have had to go through as puppy mill breeders, when you are deciding to buy a dog.

Marilyn and Dan Deren

Marilyn
Sarasota, FL

Sent to the Shelter

This is Gizmo's story. He was sent to the Scott Co. Animal Shelter because the lady who had him said "He is too agressive". So i was looking at the animals that we on Petfinder, at the Scott Co animals. I have been looking for over a couple of months and they had nice animals just not a small dog or puppy. I had almost given up when I came across Gizmo better known to them as 112. So hubby and I went to the shelter and asked if he was still there and then asked them if I could see him and the staff put the 3 of us in a room to see if we bond and did this while they look at my application and when she returned she asked us a few questions and then said we could have Gizmo. So we played a little longer and I started calling him Gizmo right away. We did have to wait till the next afternoon after his surgery to pick him up. When we bought him home we noticed that he was skinny and not eatting well and scratching all the time. He also didnt play like a puppy so I took him to the Frankfort Vet Clinic and found out that he had heartworms and manage. So we fixed him up and now I have a wonderful little pup and one that loves me and trust me I love him a lot. So I silently tell the lady who gave him up thank you. He has made our family complete again and we have a new baby to take care of.

Robin McGee
Frankfort, KY
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