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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

Unexpected Love

I didn't want another dog, not really. My son had gotten a new puppy and I had jokingly said, awe.... I want a puppy. Three days later my son showed up with this tiny, mange mite infested, emaciated 8 week old puppy and asked me if I could give it a home. He said he had persuaded the people who owned her to surrender her to him. She spent her short life so far locked in a cage outside and was often forgotten about.

The first day I gave her a bath, I noticed she was completely white and as she warmed up to us I could see she was extremely sweet. I immediately knew her name was Sugar. It fit her color and her personality. Little did I know she was all white because the poor baby didn't have any fur, her mange mites were so bad it took 3 months of medicine for her fur to grow back in. The first time I fed her that night, her little tummy wasn't used to food so she couldn't hold it down. It was a full week before she could eat without throwing up.

The first night, I picked her up and put her on our bed. I didn't want her to be alone, she had been alone long enough.

6 Years later and she is still the love of my life, she is also pretty sure she is the queen of the house. I could not imagine my life without her. I might have thought I didn't want another dog. But she knew I did, she knew I wanted her. She taught me keeping an open heart leads to wonderful surprises.

Forks, WA

A New Lease on Life

We lost our beloved Oscar, a 15-year-old dachshund that we had since he was 8 weeks old, and were heartsick with grief. After 3 months, I began looking on Petfinder and found Pepper, a 6-year-old long haired dappled dachshund that was a breeder dog in a large puppy mill in Wisconsin that operates "just above the line" that would shut them down. When they're "done" with these dogs they give them to the local shelter to find them homes. Well, this is where we came in! We adopted her and never once would have thought that it would be the hard job that it turned out to be. There were so many times that I asked myself what in the world I had gotten myself into. She was afraid of absolutely everything and had no social skills whatsoever. She didn't know how to eat out of a bowl or drink water. I couldn't hold or pet her because she was so frightened. BUT....I kept at it and am so happy that I didn't give up. We've had her for 3-1/2 years now and she's such a sweet little friend to us. We love her dearly and can finally say that the love is returned. She's a happy, bouncy, loving little bundle of joy. 6 months ago she finally decided that my husband was OK too, and that completed the circle of trust. She's the Queen Wein around here and bosses our 2 rescue cats around all day long. PLEASE give these sweet creatures a chance. Adopt, don't buy! And when you do, make a commitment to be in it for the long haul. Eventually your hard work and commitment will pay off in a big way! Here's to many more years with our sweet little Pepper! Welcome to the world of love and trust!

Debbie Piel
Land O' Lakes, WI

The Cardboard Box Kitten Who Saved My Mom's Life

My mom was a librarian in a children’s library. One day, not long after my mom’s cat had passed away, two children came into the library with a tiny kitten in a cardboard box. They asked my mom if she could help them find a home for it because their parents wouldn’t let them keep it. Well, of course my mom couldn’t say no and adopted the little black and gold fluffy money cat. We all fell in love with her quirky ways as “Bridgett” became known as “the little diva” as she grew up to be a stunningly beautiful long-haired cat who loved to check out me and my sister's purses and shoes and all things that smelled nice – she was so unlike a normal cat. Little did we know only a short time later she would be the one to save my mom’s life.

One night, after my mom had fallen asleep, she had a serious allergic reaction to some seafood she had eaten and her throat and tongue had begun to swell. She was still asleep when Bridgett, who we think must have heard a difference in the way my mom was breathing, had started to wake my mom up by touching her paw to her face and tugging at her clothes.

My mom did wake up, realized she was having trouble breathing and was able to get herself to the hospital. The reaction she had ended up being quite serious. Thanks to this smart little cardboard box kitten, my mom received the medical help she needed and made a full recovery. Now, our ‘little sister’ Bridgett will always be a treasured part of our family and we will never forget how she saved my mom’s life.

Presque Isle, ME

The Short Life of an Autumn Rainbow

Surrounded by 50 kittens you'd think I wouldn't have time to notice anything else. But what really struck me was the lady in the center of the room. She held two of them in her lap, and she was crying. I've been a cat-mom my entire life, and my sweet little companion of 10 years had died just the week before. Assuming she was going through something similar, I gently asked if I could help.

To my surprise she said "No, I just can't let them go!"

It turned out she was a first-time foster mom. Today was the day her little fosterlings, a brother and sister, were going into the world. But the little girl was sickly, and had taken time to put on enough weight to be safely adopted out. She'd had them so long she'd really bonded with them, and didn't know how she could trust anyone else with them.

I walked into the Dumb Friends League thinking I'd just look around. I left with two of the most beautiful kittens I'd ever seen. The blue/gray boy I named after Barnabas Collins. The little girl was my baby Bean cat. Only half the size of her brother, she came down the stairs with both her front paws together, just as a kitten could. A tortie, it seemed as though she carried an autumn rainbow with her - no two hairs were the same color!

My beautiful little Bean passed away this week at the age of five. She was a great one for kneading and used to give slow eye-blink kisses from across the room. She taught herself to say "Tuna!", or at least as close as any cat could. Always shy, she loved to cuddle when she felt safe, and would often purr herself to sleep in my arms.

Please don't pass a pet by just because it presents a challenge. Those will be the pets that leave the biggest impression on your heart.

Lisa Hall
Denver, CO

Keds' rescue story

Keds is my miracle cat. He’s 12-years old. I rescued him at 10-months old when I found him outside my apartment door almost dead. He couldn’t even hold his head up. I got him into the Vet and was told twice to euthanize him, but I refused. He had two critical diseases – FIV (Feline Aids) and Hemobartonella. FIV compromises the immune system, and Hemobartonella robs the animal of their red blood cells – from fleas and ticks biting them. The vet gave him a blood transfusion, and he remained in ICU for several days – suffering seizures and not even being able to raise his head up. However, on the 4th day, he sat up and began eating. I took him home 2 days later when all he could do was stand up. I administered fluids and lots of meds to him for one week. Then, he went back to the vet to be neutered. He then became a totally in-door kitty. He sways his head side-to-side just a little. There was no way to tell if he suffered brain damage. I watch him closely for any signs of sickness. Over the years, he’s had a couple of severe eye infections. He was diagnosed with Stomatitis 3 years ago, and we wound up doing a full tooth extraction on him a year ago. He did not recover from that so quickly, and it was scary. However, he’s “all good” to this day. He mainly eats soft food, but he still likes to gum his hard food. Keds is my miracle cat.

Cheri Doolittle
Albany, NY

Remmie's rescue

Remmie was delivered to my front door late on a Sunday evening 4 years ago by a young female neighbor. She had her wrapped in a towel, as she was soaking wet. She found her on the street, and her landlord told her she could not keep her. She knew I rescued kitties, so I was her hope in finding this kitten a home. Remmie was just a baby at about 5 weeks old. She was very strong and vocal. I needed to get just a drop of Frontline on her to kill any fleas on her, and I had a heck of a time holding her still enough to get just the drop on her. I accomplished it, and I put her in my large dog crate in my dining room for the night. By the next morning, she came out of the crate, and she became another permanent member of my household. She is the “top cat” in the house. She’s very loving and very bad. She plays with my dog Piper all the time. She is quite a character.

Cheri Doolittle
Albany, NY
Purple Paw Bling Slippers
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