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Charlie, A Dog That Grew Too Big!

In March 2004, I found myself looking for another dog since my one had passed away. While looking on line, I found one that said 6 month old Collie-Beagle mix but since he was too new, there was no photo of the dog. I called up the rescue group and they had the foster, a guy named Joe call me. Since my office was near where he lived, Joe offered to bring the dog over. Well, I always said it was love at first lick and the next day I met with the great volunteers of Paws and Prayers rescue group at Petsmart and came home with Charlie. Charlie was found wandering in a state park and a volunteer from Paws and Prayers took 2 weeks to get him. Two weeks later he was in his forever home - my home. I was told he probably had a bit of growing to do but would top off at around 45-50 lbs. which was the size dog I was looking for. My vet agreed with that assessment but they were only half right. Charlie grew into a tall, leggy dog who topped off at 90 lbs.

I always had a feeling that he was dumped in the park when he was getting bigger than expected. While Charlie loved car rides, he was always a bit nervous in the car until he heard the magic words - lets go home. Then he would calm down and enjoy the ride home. Whoever dumped him lost a wonderful dog that I had the pleasure of having in my life for 12 years. This March, 2016 brought sad news. My beautiful Charlie was diagnosed with nasal cancer. That monstrous disease spread like wildfire in him and on April 25, 2016, I let him go. I along with my other dog, Tobey miss him dearly but know Charlie is now happy, playing over the Rainbow Bridge.

Mary Kay Gerrets
Copley, OH

My Loving Pitbull

We had adopted your brother just five months prior, but we felt it was time to add another dog to our family. We went back to the same rescue we found your brother and started looking at bios, and there you were. You had this sad look in your eyes, one that showed that you just wanted a home to call your own. We fell in love with your big block head, and knew we had to meet you. We setup a time for us to meet you and for you to meet us and your new potential brother. The meeting couldn't have gone better. We talked all about you on the 4 hour drive home, and once we were finally home we decided to make it official, and we decided to adopt you.

The two weeks that followed were spent preparing for your arrival, and finally the day was here. We traveled to you, and we fell in love all over again. We made our way home, and you made yourself right at home. The first few weeks were trying, two dogs were a lot more difficult than one, and it was important that you and your brother both felt love equally. It took time, but eventually, everything fell into place, and now you and your brother are inseparable. Ares, my blocky headed wiggle butt, you have changed our lives forever. You teach everyone that you know that the stigma against Pitbulls is just not true. You are the happiest, kindest, gentlest dog I have ever met.

We love you, our over-sized lap dog, our protector, our daily smile, and our provider of unending kisses. We love you, Ares.

Milton, VT

My New Best Friend

We had looked at many different dog's bios before we found you. The rescue we adopted you from was mainly a Pitbull rescue, and there you were, definitely not a Pitbull. After we submitted the application and got approved we finally got to choose who we would give a forever home to. I had seen your picture a few weeks before and couldn't stop thinking about your adorable face, those cute little eyebrows and how beautiful you were. The day after we got approved we chose to adopt you, Rascal.

A week after that we brought you home, everything was new for you, and for us. You were our first dog, and it's possible we were your first family. Someone brought you to a high kill shelter before the rescue organization we got you from pulled you. It breaks my heart to think that you were going to be euthanized and we would have never had your tail wags, your kisses, and your protective howls in our lives. We had a lot of learning to do in those first few weeks, but we did it together, and bonded over new experiences.

Rascal, my destroyer, my baby, my goober, it is because of you that we are so passionate about adoption. It is because of you that we have so much joy in our lives. You are one of the most amazing things that has happened to us, and we love you more and more everyday.

Milton, VT

Pepper, My Miracle Medicine

In 2011 I had to make one of the hardest decisions of my life. I had to send my best friend Charlie, an 11 year old Collie to travel along the rainbow bridge. I was devastated. My husband worried I would never come out of my severe depression. He always said he was not a cat person. One day my husband took me to PetsMart. I didn't know why we were going to PetsMart because we didn't need any animal supplies now. He surprised and told me to pick one, while standing in front of the cages of adoptable cats. I was confused, he's not a cat person. "Pick a new friend." We looked at several and came to a cage that had 2 kittens in it. I was interested in the little girl who was mostly white who was still sleepy when I picked her up. My husband picked up the little boy. Instantly he crawled up to my husband's shoulders. I handed the sleepy girl to my husband and grabbed the little boy. Instantly he did the same thing. Then he did something I didn't expect, he laid across my shoulders and purred in my ear. I had been having really bad anxiety attacks. As soon as this little boy purred in my ear, the anxiety was melting away. We couldn't afford both so we took the boy home. As I filled out the paperwork, I saw that his name was Pepper. I kept the name Pepper, it suited him since he had a "peppering" of white on his hip. We always tell people we didn't adopt Pepper, he adopted us. My husband still says he's not a cat person but he is a Pepper person. Pepper is now 5 years old. He still eases my anxiety attacks by resting on my shoulders and purring in my ear. As he does that, I can keep walking around the house or cook dinner and he just administers his "medicine" for my anxieties. As I write this he is laying against my leg and feeling his fur helps me relax.

Julie Tonnsen
Billings, MT

The Cat That Saved My Life

I've always felt a strong connection with animals, and have owned cats all of my life, along with a few dogs. However, for years I've struggled with depression, anxiety, and ptsd. That was made incredibly worse when in 2013 I'd moved and could not take my cat - Latte, with me. I was stricken with guilt and grief, and I felt I'd abandoned her. (She is still alive and well- she lives with my mother). Still, I couldn't overcome the feeling that part of me was gone, left a giant gaping hole and each day I thought of her and what joy she brought to my life. Sadly, this was only the beginning of a downward spiral in my mental health. I was constantly depressed and down, and regularly felt suicidal. Finally, in January 2016, I was able to adopt a cat. I knew what I was looking for- or rather, looking for the cat that would pick me. And I found her. The local animal shelter had a 5 month old tabby mix (later found out to be bengal tabby mix.). Named "Columbia". I adopted her, as I felt a connection with her instantly. I renamed her "Luna". I truly believe that Luna saved my life. She now is an amazing source of emotional comfort, she is a purr machine, loves to cuddle and play. She always knows when I'm down, and rubs my legs and jumps into my lap for a cuddle. I cannot imagine my life without her. I play with her often, and she pants and has a huge "smile" that I captured in this photo. I will be forever grateful, and hope to spend many many years with Luna. She is now 9 months old, loves life and I love living it with her. My friends all love her also. Thank you, Luna..:) If you haven't considered a rescue cat, I strongly encourage you to check out a shelter. They often have some of the most loving animals on the planet. I know I certainly found one! :)

Saskatoon, SK, Canada

Best decision we made in a long time.

We lost our Lucy in January of 2015. When we put Lucy down, the veterinarian had three 4 month old kittens in the office. The office secretary said they were born under her house. She couldn't catch the mom, but was able to rescue the kittens. My husband said NO MORE CATS! Said he couldn't go through that again. About three weeks later and having such a quiet household, he said, "Well maybe we could look for another cat." Hurrah!! We went down to the vets office and the 3 kittens were still there. She is a wonderful vet, and every year she rescues animals with her June Project (named after an almost dead dog she rescued in June of 2010.). Since then she has rescued many animals and makes sure they are neutered and healthy for adoption. We visited with all three kittens. I wanted the gray striped one, but my husband favored the red one. I didn't really like red cats, but I agreed because this was my chance to have another baby. I certainly have looked a red cats in a whole new way since Milo moved in!!

What a good decision. Milo is the best cat we have ever had. He is affectionate, funny, and keeps us entertained daily. Sleeps on my husbands feet every night and is a good little guy. A little naughty, but just enough to make us laugh. My husband thinks he hung the moon. Wish we could've gotten Milo a playmate, but I am so glad to have at least one kitty in the house again. He is a love.

Pat Tennies
Rockport, TX

Meet Mr. Leo...

Leo came to us as a little stray kitten. One of the neighbor kids had caught him and was trying to find him a home. (There are quiet a few strays around the apartment complex since we have dumpsters.) My husband and I fell in love with him the minute we saw him. He was so tiny, thin and malnourished. He was so small, we actually though he was a female at first. LOL His original name was Cleo, because of the markings around the eyes.

He was skittish of us at first, but we managed to earn his trust. When we took him to the vets to get checked out and get his shots, we learned she was a he. And since he answered to Cleo, we just changed it to Leo so he wouldn't be too confused since they sound the same. :)

There have been some affects to him from being a stray kitten and being so malnourished. He does have to take a probiotic for his gut. With out it his "stuff" is liquid instead of solid and not to mention the smell. But I think all in all, that isn't too bad and it is an easy fix. :)

He is now almost 2 years old and healthy and happy. We even adopted another kitten (from a friend this time). So now he has a sister and playmate. Yes, both are nurtured. ;)

Jessica watters
Elkland, PA

My sweet hero

Some days ago when I read about Pisco by Stela Stoyanov from Sofia, Bulgaria I decided to tell the story of my cat Simão.

His spinal nerve is also damaged for good (don't know how it happened) which prevents him from walking on four legs and to pee by himself.

In the playground around the highschool where I used to teach (I'm retired now) there used to be some strays and consequently kittens very often abandoned by their mothers after beeing hold by some school kids. I usually took them home - and during the day bring to school - to bottle feed them until they were ready to be given for adoption after assuring they were wanted and would be dully cared.

Seven years ago, at the start of the school year, I noticed a cat mom with her four kittens of about 6 weeks old. One was handicaped unable to walk on his back legs.

The general opinion was to euthanise him. I couldn't accept it and took the kitten to the vet where he stayed for two months under treatment but of no avail. So I decided to take him home.

I had to learn to put him to pee and now, seven years later, he moves and runs fast, climbs the sofás and lives happily with my other 7 rescued cats and 4 rescued dogs (the house is big and has a garden) even rulling over them all. He is my sweet hero!

Maria João Pampulim
Lisbon, Portugal

Amazing Moet

I first met Moet when I went to the vet one day for the usual supplies and was asking about getting another cat or kitten. As they knew me well and also knew my love of cats and care for them, they said they had a 1 year old blind cat up for adoption, but that it wouldn’t be advertised because they wanted just the ‘right’ owner for her. My instant reaction was that I didn’t want a blind cat. I’m out all day at work and a ‘special needs’ cat just instantly seemed too ‘difficult’.

However, they persuaded me to “just come and see her”. So I did, as I love cats and can never resist the opportunity to give any cat some attention! There she was, a sweet little champagne coloured Persian, with stiches in her eyes where they had recently been removed and an cone collar on. I crouched down next to her to stroke her and instantly she rolled over for tummy rubs and purred really loudly. I was sold. How could I not take her? She was utterly adorable.

I asked how she had come to be blind and was told that she was one of a few that had recently been rescued from a pet shop. She was already blind (and had been for several months they thought) and her eyes were a source of infection, so they had to be removed completely. It was such a sad face but such a happy cat. She’d spent her life in a pet shop cage with no love and care, little food/water and no toys and a dirty cage. Yet still she was so happy. The blindness was caused by untreated cat flu and her eyes had to be removed to prevent them causing infection from decay.

1.5 years on she is a vibrant, adventurous and incredibly happy girl. She gets around my flat like any sighted cat would; chasing balls around at top speed, catching feather toys and even climbing my 6 foot cat tree! She also loves her rescue siblings, Luna, Lily & Cosmo.

Muscat, Oman

Jack and Me

I remember a friend of mine coming over to my apartment and telling me "You need to have a pet to warm this place up." So on October 16 2002 we went to one of the most high kill shelters in the country, with a mission of getting an older cat.

We looked around the shelter in tears as I saw the rows and rows of cats crying to get out. I stumbled upon a cage way at the bottom and looked in. I saw a very small grey kitten looking back at me. Jack looked like a gremlin but when I put the kitty near my face he licked my cheek. I remember putting him back in the cage and Jack looked up at me like "Let's get out of here." and boy did we.

I quickly named him Jack. He had a larger than life personality. Jack let me know when he wasn't happy or if he was hungry by crying loudly throughout the apartment. Jack loved the change of seasons since we lived in Florida and he was a long hair-the cool air was something he loved and would spend hours on the porch. I cannot remember a time where Jack didn't great me with an enthusiastic meow when I woke up and didn't let up until I opened his can of food...

Until one Saturday in September of 2015 I spotted a lump on his side. I looked down at Jack, and I couldn't comprehend life without Jack. I couldn't wrap my mind around it as thirteen years of greeting in the morning, loss of jobs, new friends, new apartments and new beginnings-it's a long time --Jack my co-pilot in life was now going off without me. Jack died two weeks later surrounded by family and an amazing Vet telling him what a wonderful boy he was. I still look around in awe that this cat named Jack bought so much love to my life and with it so much sadness as I walk without him here-but in my heart. 10.30.15. I miss you Jack.

Jennifer Ashley
Daytona Beach, FL
Forever In My Heart Paw Print Remembrance Bracelet
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