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Willow, Opus #4

I got Willow when she was 6 weeks old from the Bangor Humane Society in 2000 after moving from Wichita, KS to Winterport, Maine.My husband stayed behind in Wichita to tie up loose ends and sell our home there.I had purchased a Sea Captain's home, built in 1795 and intended to restore it.It was a huge, rambling house and I missed my husband and our two dogs, Maggie and Echo.So, I went to the Bangor Humane Society to see what kind of cats they had.All that was available were three kittens.The first one they brought out was called a tri-colored tabby.She was beautiful with muted colors and a winsome personality.She attached herself to me immediately -- went from the caretaker's arms to mine and there she stayed.I didn't ask to see the other two.Because of her beautiful coloring, I decided to name her Willow, Opus 4.Willow because she reminded me of pussy willow blossums, Opus because I am a musician (Opus is Latin for work), and 4 because she was my 4th cat.

Willow loved the 3 story home with all the rooms and crooks and crevices. Finally, my husband moved in with our two dogs.Willow and the dogs were all best buds before long and she loved my husband. Through the years and a couple of moves she was right there, through the good times and the bad. In April 2004 we lost our Bichon to congestive heart failure.Those were dark days for us but we had her for 16 years. Two years later, I had a huge tumor that was life-threatening and had to have it removed.Willow saw me through that.

Today, we have 5 more cats and Willow is the queen of the house.At 17 years old, she moves with grace, but a bit slower due to aches and pains of arthritis but she still loves to play with her catnip fish, and chasing the red dot.She's never late for dinner or treats and she sleeps on me at night.I am so fortunate to have found her those many years ago when she was just a kitten.

Mary C Meredith
East Millinocket, ME

A Christmas Surprise!

In my neighborhood, there were several stray cats roaming around. I got tired of seeing skinny cats in my yard, so I started feeding them. I made Styrofoam homes for them – the homes consist of two containers – one that is an entrance and one that is an area with straw to stay warm and dry when it gets cold and snowy/rainy.

December of 2015 was particularly warm for Maryland – Christmas was 70 degrees that year. On 12/21/15, I heard little me-uws under my shed. A mommy had four babies. I was only able to get three out of the four kittens.

The woman who lent me the trap to get mommy fixed (I drove an hour to get it), took the three kittens from me a month later. The fourth kitten alluded me constantly.

As spring 2016 approached, and the kitten, who I named Sparkles (a tortie), let me pet her when she ate. One day I grabbed her and got her fixed.

That summer of 2016, I brought Sparkles and her mommy, Ginger, inside even though my old girl, Petals, was not (and still is not) happy about it. Ginger and Sparkles were bringing me “gifts” all the time, and they were not always dead – only ½ dead. Then I would have to assist them to their ending – ummm, that is not my favorite thing to do, AT ALL, so inside the girls had to come.

My girls are adjusting inside pretty well. They are getting used to lovies and attention. They love having “treats,” especially Ginger.

I wasn’t looking to have extra fur-babies at this time, but as the saying goes, “they chose me.” I know Sparkles did because she (initially) would not let me catch her when I was able to catch her two sisters and one brother.

I love knowing five cats got rescued, two with me and three with others. I appreciate the two different groups and the two individuals in those groups who helped me rescue, fix, and save the babes.

Ginger and Sparkles are my little chicklets!

Colleen Humphries
Edgewood, MD

My Little Bit

I found Little Bit sitting in the street with a look of "I give up" on her face. She wasn't moving out of the street so I got out and asked around if she was anyone's pet and nobody claimed her. I had a feeling she was taken to this place and abandoned as this happens a lot around this neighborhood so I took her home and introduced her to the other 3 dogs and 2 cats at the house. Yes, I can never pass by and do nothing to help a person or an animal in need... When there was no response to the ads or the flyers we went to the vet. She was about 9 months old weighed only 12 lbs. I had her spayed, got her shots, and she spent the next week either asleep in my arms or hiding behind the outside garbage can because the other 3 dogs were a lot bigger and she wanted nothing to do with them. Eventually she stood her ground and she became life long friends with our yellow lab puppy. I hate stories that end like this but I loved her, spoiled her, she hit the doggie lottery, and lived until she was 12. She had a heart condition and I spent every hour and every dollar to save her but I couldn't save her. She passed away laying next to her best bud in March of this year. I still cry sometimes but I know we'll meet again. #lovedmybits

Jaynee
Vancouver, WA

My Forever Sunshine

My Sunshine was found living under our Hospice building, very hungry and very pregnant. I took her home and made a nice bed in our bath tub and supplied her with food and water. The next morning she delivered 5 beautiful kittens. They stayed with momma until they were completely weaned and had their first shots. Homes were found for them, but Sunshine stayed with us. She has been with us now 25 years. She has covered over 10,000 miles in our motorhomes, and moved with us 4 times. She is an old gal now, but still very active around the house. I am so glad we have had her as a member of our family all these years.

Audrey Albert
Grants Pass, OR

My rescue dogs, Xanthus and Rayya

On my way to work one day in July 2005, I noticed a forlorn yellow lab/chow mix standing beside the road near some railroad tracks. I pulled over and retrieved my handy leash and collar from the trunk. However, when I approached him, he ran away from me on the railroad tracks. I followed him for about 30 minutes. He kept just far enough away that I could not reach him, but would stop and look back at me. Finally, he let me catch up and slip the collar and leash on. Xanthus was the most joyful, loving and happy dog ever. He never met a person he did not like.

August 2009, our neighbors persuaded us to foster, Rayya, a hound mix, just for a couple weeks until her adoption went through. Eight months later, on the day Rayya passed her Canine Good Citizen test, we failed as foster parents and adopted her. She was Xanthus’ pesky little sister and always curled up with him.

Unfortunately, Xanthus died of cancer almost two years ago. We still miss him terribly.

Chris Chato
Durham, NC

Yukon, from Neglected to Well Loved

We first saw Yukon when he and his first owner moved in next door.He was

badly mistreated and not cared for, he was never allowed into the house,

did not have shelter nor access to water or food, when the owner threw pizza boxes

with pizza crust onto his back porch, he would kick and beat the poor Dog

for getting into that food, it did not take me long to start feeding Yukon and

giving him water when his owner was gone. We even offered to Buy Yukon

but were told No, several Months later we found out that Yukon was taken

to the Humane Society,I went there and fibbed and said he was given to me

and the Owners Brother didnt know, well when Yukon saw me,he was so

excited and tried hard to jump a 7 ft tall gate to get to me, I was able to

pay the fee for return to owner, Yukon was 3 1/2 years old. He crossed the Rainbow

Bridge Nov. 7th 2016 at the age of 13 1/2 ,He was such a loving Dog and we miss

him like Crazy.

Caren Bons
Tacoma, WA

Bonnie, my Former Puppy Mill Mom

I adopted my first dog, Bonnie, shortly after moving to Texas. She was part of a raid made on a large puppy mill and was in a sorry state when I met her a few days afterward. She was approximately five years old, who knows how many puppies she had given birth to. Bonnie still had three pink staples in her abdomen from her recent spay, sores around her eyes, and little fur as she had been completely shaved because she had been full of fleas. She was also terribly dejected looking, underweight, and thoroughly exhausted. When I was talking to the rescue lady who brought her to my house for the home visit, she jumped into my lap and fell fast asleep! She didn’t even bark for about the first six weeks I had her. I even wondered if she could, but now I have no doubt.

Over the years I have fostered a few dogs and she has always been loving toward them, the “mom” nurturer in her I guess. We also visited assisted living facilities where she was a hit. She enjoyed all the attention and was very gentle with the residents. My friends all mention how pretty and friendly she is. Eight years later, and my little girl is still going strong. Bonnie now has brothers and sisters, and is the oldest of her pack. Now that she is in the twilight of her years, the things she enjoys most are sleeping late and her walks.

Joan
Allen, TX

Beautiful Little Abby

Little Abby came to live with us in July of 2014, along with her sister Casey and brother Jack. She and her sister Pippa and their mommy Chloe were found under our aunt's porch in May of 2014, just after they were born. Our aunt rescued them and brought them inside. When I saw them, I knew I wanted them all. But Pippa and Chloe stayed with our aunt. Right from the start, we thought we should get little Abbie an agent and let her do some modeling work. She's just so beautiful with her long, soft fur and beautiful big eyes. We're so glad Abby and her brother and sister came into our lives!

Rick Daly
Stamford, CT

Scaredy-Cat Guards the Laundry

That's Bonnie guarding the clean laundry. I met Bonnie at a pet store. The Feral Cat Foundation brought in cats to be adopted. It was a smorgasbord of roaming cats. Among the “free range” cats was a 6 month old tiger tabby with the longest tail and biggest ears I'd ever seen. She stood on a counter, meowed and rubbed her head on my hand. Then she growled like a dog, nipped at my hand and ran away. As I moved around she came back to me often with her meow, rub, growl, nip, run away routine. She'd adopted me and, glutton for punishment that I am, I adopted her.

My husband and I took her home and put her into the spare bedroom with water, food, liter box and a screen door so she could see out. The plan: she'd feel safe while getting used to us and our other cat. Wrong! She immediately crawled under the dresser. For 4 days she ventured out only after we'd gone to bed. I was in tears. My husband, who couldn't take my wails of despair any longer, tilted the dresser while I got her. She struggled. I held on. I petted her. She finally fell asleep. All was right with the world.

The next day Bonnie ventured out of her room. Two days later she timidly went downstairs. That's when disaster struck. She jumped on a table and knocked off a silver desk set. As the clatter and bang echoed through the house, a bolt of tiger tabby lightening streaked upstairs not to emerge for another 3 days. As she ran past I couldn't help laughing.

She's now 14, still afraid of strangers and my constant companion. I brush her and she "grooms" me. I am thankful she chose me.

Sandra Risser
Concord, CA

Pix: A Brave and Cherished Life

I found Pix crying in my mother’s garden in Winnipeg in the summer of 2009 and, after asking around the neighbourhood and realizing that this skinny little kitty was barely surviving on occasional handouts, I took her home. Every local rescue I called was full so I decided that, yes, I could handle 3 cats. Pix never did really like any other cat but she loved her people and the feeling was mutual.

Unfortunately, her hard life on the streets brought with it aggressive mammary cancer and her first major surgery was in 2010. She continued to battle over the next 7 years but cancer did not define her. Pix was a spunky, growly, sweet, loving, forgiving little girl who loved her people as much as they loved her. As the tumors kept returning and surgeries were no longer an option, she begrudgingly but bravely put up with the many conventional and holistic modalities that we hoped would help her beat this terrible disease. We also tried to fill her life with fun and love and in her last year she especially enjoyed her daily carriage rides around the neighbourhood.

We lost our loving, brave angel on Oct. 6, 2017. No words could ever describe the intense grief and emptiness her death has left in our lives. We miss everything about her, from her uniquely outward-facing eyes to her unconditional love snuggled under the covers with us at night. But we will always cherish her memory and will continue to support rescues that help the injured, homeless and abused animals in our area.

RP
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
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