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My husband and I were each adopted by an "unconventionally rescued" pet -- rescued not from shelters, but from less-than-ideal living situations.

I fell madly in love with Zipper, a 5-year-old, 16-lb standard Yorkie, when he was the "resident pet" in an Assisted Living Facility where I worked in 2002. A history of improper care led to a life-threatening illness, resulting in Zip's "retiring" and becoming my full-time "child." I've had many pets, but Zippy is my first dog -- and our bond is unlike any other I have ever experienced. We had another recent scare -- diabetes leading to a stroke. He's recovering nicely now, and his strength and bravery throughout have been an inspiration. Each day is a gift.

In 2003, were given a 5-lb, 2-year-old Yorkie by a family who runs a reputable, licensed in-home breeding operation. Their favorite -- "Powder-Puff" (or "Puffer" as we now call her) -- was a terrible breeder and aggressive toward their other females. Tearfully, they gave her up for the good of the others. She went from the arms of her big, bearded, bear-like "Daddy" straight into the heart of her new big, furry "Poppa-bear", and has lived there ever since! (She's still a bit of a terror, but big brother Zipper is so easy-going that it's rarely a problem.)

Our "family" may be unconventional, but we seem to belong together -- and that's what counts!

Rhonda Newport
Coconut Creek, FL

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