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My fateful Noel!

On October 21, 2010 I was driving home from work after a 14 hour day. I had spent all day on a cold, dark soundstage. I wanted to get some soup to help me warm up, and then go home, and go to bed. Little did I know fate had other plans for me that night. I stopped at my favorite family owned restaurant. The owner's wife said, "Shannon there's a sweet little kitty who is living behind the restaurant underneath a car. You need to see her. She's so sweet and pretty!" I said, "No! If I do that I will take her home. I just moved 3 weeks ago. I already have 2 cats. I just want some soup to go." But Antoinette insisted. The little kitty was now underneath a car in the restaurant parking lot. The valet kept moving cars at the speed of light. I was afraid she was going to get hit. I said, "All right. I will take her home and put up lost cat signs in the morning. But I'm not adopting her." I fell in love with her immediately. My other two cats did as well. Two weeks later I was praying that no one would call to say she was their lost cat. That was five years ago this month. I love her so much! FYI: She was 9 months old when I took her home. She hadn't been fixed and went into heat about 3 weeks later. Thank goodness I took her home when I did. I got her fixed as soon as she was out of heat.

Los Angeles, CA

Little Merry meant to be!

I first saw Merry on January 8, 2010. It was around 10 p.m. on a cold, dark and rainy night. She was about 2 months old. She was standing in someone's driveway and was crying. The owner's of the home had never seen her. I tried to catch her but she ran away. A couple of days later I saw her again. She was too fast for me to catch. I put food and water out for her. I even made her a waterproof bed under my carport which she slept in at night. But I still couldn't catch her. Then I didn't see her for a week. I assumed the worst (hit by a car or a coyote got her). That's when my cat, Coco, who was almost 19 years old got sick overnight. I took her to the vet and had to put her tp sleep. I was devastated. I drove home, parked my car, grabbed the cat carrier and then heard a neighbor say, "That little kitten just ran under your car." I burst into tears! I thought the kitten had died. My cat did just die. Now the little kitten is under my car. My neighbor said, It's a sign! She's meant to be your new kitty." After one month and two trapping cages I was finally able to catch her. She wasn't feral. So she must have been dumped by someone. I named her Merry because she was so happy (aka merry) to be living inside and not out on the scary streets.

Los Angeles, CA

My handsome little boy Gabriel

On November 7, 2004 I wasn't intending on adopting another cat. I was still grieving over the loss of my kitty who had died almost a year to the day. But as I was running errands on that early Sunday morning I saw a pet adoption sign outside a store. Something inside of me said, "Stop and go inside." So I did. A wonderful no-kill rescue organization was holding adoptions. That's when I saw him...this tiny, little thing. I fell in love immediately! He had been found when he was about three weeks old. He wouldn't eat. All he did was sleep. The rescue organization had a feeling he was depressed and missed his mom (probably a feral cat from the neighborhood). In order to save his life they let me adopt him when he was five weeks old. Gabriel turned 11 last month. But he will always be my little, baby boy!

Los Angeles, CA

Journey Girl

In July of this year, I had to put my 12 year old black Shepard mix down. I had raised my children with her, and she was my constant companion. It was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. Shortly after that, my friend at Timbucktoo Rescue in GA found a dog lying on the side of the road. She was starving and could barely lift her head when Angie spoke to her. Angie put her in the car and took her home, hoping to save one more life. After hand-feeding her and taking her to the vet, she started to gain weight and be more social. When Angie first posted the photos of this dog on her site, I immediately knew in my heart that I not only wanted, but needed, this dog. After about 3 months of care from my friend, it was time to get her from GA to WI. My friend's Dad was in FL and offered to bring her to WI for me. It took approx. 3 days of travel and when I went to meet the dog, I sat down on the driveway, so not to scare her. She immediately curled up in my lap and kissed me non-stop. My heart has forever been taken by this sweet baby girl. For all she has been through, I felt the name Journey would fit her nicely. She has been a FABULOUS dog, beautiful, loving & tender. I couldn't ask for a better fit, as she loves the other 2 dogs I have also. All she needed was a lot of LOVE, food and tenderness! Thanks to my friend Angie, for saving her off the side of the road, when so many others had passed her along their way. Forever Grateful!

Julie Zippay Larson
Rhinelander, WI

My Sweet Peanut - The Bald Golden Retriever

I lost by beloved Golden Retriever, Bud at only 8 years old to a hideous blood borne cancer when he was only 8 years old. The cancer was so aggressive, he went from feeling fine one day to passing only 3 days later. I wanted to honor him by rescuing another special Golden in need. I was looking on the website of DFW Metro Golden Retriever Rescue when I saw her. She was one year old. She had a fleece coat on. She had sweet gentle eyes. And... she was completely bald except for the hair on her ears. She had a rare, one in a million condition called Folicular Dysplasia. I knew I had to have her. She had been at the rescue for 5 months, when the average time to be adopted was 2 weeks. When she was a puppy and her puppy hair fell out, her hair follicles closed up and adult hair never grew in. Her owners did not want her because of the way she looked. She was dumped at the rescue like a disposable life. I took Peanut home and she laid her head in my lap as if to say "Thank You" and fell asleep. I knew then I had the perfect companion. Peanut had a sweetness about her that rivaled no other. She truly was one in a million in more ways than one. I lost her in 2013 to bone cancer. She was 12 years old. Sweet Peanut enriched my life beyond anything I can put into words. I sure miss you, Girl! I couldn't have asked for a more perfect dog.

Jennifer Cagle

Prince Mimi

It was October 2013 and my boyfriend and I were doing TNR for a feral colony through a cat rescue organisation. It was about 3am on one occasion in particular when I saw a beautiful, sad, black and white cat curled up on a fast food wrapper under a bush. It let me get quite close before it spooked and disappeared in to the undergrowth. For 5 nights, we saw the sad cat under the bush and set the trap in the same place, and on the 5th night, it took the bait.

We took it home and quickly realised it wasn't feral. It was dirty, infested with parasites and terrified but it had been close to people before. We had it checked for a microchip (no luck) and the vet nurse told us that she was a girl! We tried every way of trying to find her family but they never came forward. After a few days, it was clear that she had suffered abuse. She was so scared but just wanted to be loved. She became immediate friends with our 2 resident cats and 2 semi-feral foster girls. We named her "Mimi".

Mimi constantly flirted with our neutered boy, Jam. She was totally smitten with him and, when she was big and strong enough, we took her to be spayed with the other foster kittens. Imagine my surprise when I got a call from the vet to say that Mimi was actually a boy! He was re-dubbed "Prince Mimi" and became a part of our forever family, along with his foster sisters. He and Jam are still deeply in love and living happily ever after with Ebony, Pym, Moonpie and their new little brother, Tiny Tim.

Tomasina Poynder
Torpoint, United Kingdom

Lottie the love bug

In October of 2013, I lost my tabby cat, Mr. Boots, to CHF. My other cat, Bella, was devastated by the loss of her friend and was not coping well to the change. A few weeks later, I decided it was finally time to find Bella a new friend.

As I walked through the shelter, a little tortoiseshell kitten stuck her peanut butter colored paw out at me through one of the cages. The staff told me she had been rescued from a high-kill shelter in Chicago and had just recently been able to go up for adoption. As I took her into a small room to get to know her, she just played with me like we'd been old friends. I knew she would be the perfect friend for Bella.

As I drove home, I called my soon to be husband and asked him what we should name this pretty girl. We went through a bunch of names, but Lottie seemed to fit best.

In the days to come, Lottie and Bella would bond faster than I could have imagined, but I still wasn't sure if I could love her like my Mr. Boots. Then one night, she jumped in bed with me, looked at me with her orange-green eyes, and meowed the tiniest meow you've ever heard. As she snuggled with me, my heart began to fill with love for this beautiful little tortie.

Nowadays Lottie spends her days watching bird tv, waiting to play in the bathtub or zooming around the house! She gets along with Bella and our other cat Ellie and plays peacemaker from time to time. When she's not perched up high to watch the humans, you can find her snuggled up next to you in a little nook. Lottie taught me it was okay to love again in my time of grief. She has filled our home with so much happiness and joy and on that day I didn't just rescue her, she rescued me too.

Sasha G.
Chicago, IL

Stewart, My Sweet Boy

After losing my first cat Amber to cancer in November 2005, Shadow, my other kitty, and I were ready for a new friend. In March 2006 I adopted Stewart. He was male, all black, 3 years old. He let me know he was the one by being quite vocal and reaching through the cage door to tap me gently. The first night he slept under the covers next to me and became best friends with Shadow in a matter of hours.

I took him to my vet sometime in that first week because he was drinking a lot. Turns out he was not 3, but 7 or 8 years old, and he had kidney disease! Never once did I think about returning him. We managed the kidney disease with special food for most of his life.

One day a few years later Stewie couldn't walk straight and his head tilted to the left. Diagnosis was a tumor in his ear canal. There were a few hurdles with a heart murmur and a kidney infection before the surgery could be done. It was successful and the tumor was not cancer. He would always have a slight head tilt when he was tired, but it just added to his character.

In late 2014 his kidneys started to worsen and we began IV fluids a couple of nights a week. But on Memorial Day 2015 he lost bladder control. The ultrasound showed a massive tumor taking up most of his bladder and growing into his good kidney. It was aggressive bladder cancer with little or no treatments. The most humane decision was to help him over Rainbow Bridge. Up to the end he was my sweet boy.

Stew loved to sleep with me holding him, his head on my bicep and his back feet in my hand. During the day he cuddled with Shadow, with me, or the kids. He loved everyone. My vet says Stewie was so affectionate because he knew I saved him. Sometimes at night I still feel him next to me. I miss him so much.

Sterling Heights, MI

From Abandoned to Adored

One Sunday, my neighbors asked me to come over. When I got there, I saw two tiny kittens sitting on the kitchen counter. They were dirty and shaking with fright. I was told that they had been left in the steps of my neighbors' church in a filthy, wet cardboard box with a note that said, "Feed us or drown us." I noticed one of the kittens had just a stump for a tail, and I was afraid that someone had chopped of his tail just for fun. Right then, that little guy jumped from the counter straight into my arms, and that was that. I'd been officially adopted. When I took him to the vet, I found out that Bob (that's what I named him) was about 4 weeks old, weighed less than 2 pounds, and was probably a Japanese Bobtail, which meant that his tail, or lack there of, was natural.

That was 3-1/2 years ago. Now Bob is a 16 lb. grey and white gentle giant. He regularly chases his two canine brothers around the house like a madman, sleeps peacefully beside me on my bed every night, and head-bumps me at 3 am every morning to be let out. I tell him multiple times every day that I don't know what I'd do without him, and I thank my neighbors, and God, for bringing Bob into my life!!

Julie C.
Orlando, FL

My Grace

The love of my life came to me when I least expected her, before I knew I needed her. I was single and happily child free, but on a visit to my sister and her family, my little nephew wanted to stop at a yard sale and pet the free puppies. Grace came home with me at 7 weeks old and spent the next 13 1/2 years teaching me how to live and love.

A gentleman from Texas wrote about his dog Jack, and how he thought he was the one being of service by adopting Jack. My story is similar: Grace found me at my bottom, which continued for another two years before I was finally able to get sober. Grace loved me when there was nothing lovable about me, when I had no redeeming qualities. She brought me back into the light, and gave me courage when I was afraid. She taught me how to nurture, how to love, how to give of myself without expectation. She helped fill the gaping hole in my soul that is my constant companion.

She welcomed her litter mate Ginger into our family, who my sister had adopted from the same yard sale but who came to live with Grace and I eight months later. With their puppy eyes leading the way, a world opened up to me that I had shut myself away from for so long. Then came Peanut, followed by Stanley, and our little family of five was perfect and complete.

I lost Ginger, and then Stanley, and on August 28, 2015, I had to say goodbye to my Grace. She would have hung on for her Momma far past that day, but my selfishness has been tempered through the years, and she loved more in her 13 1/2 years than most people do in a lifetime. She was my touchstone, my talisman, my true north, and I am lost without her.

350 words is not enough to describe a life. My beautiful, precious Grace saved me, and I will count the days until I am with her again.

Jody B
Kansas City, MO
Purple Paw Everest Super Cozy Jacket
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