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Buddy - a man's best friend

I was driving down a country road one night and saw eyes up ahead. I slowed down and saw a huge black lab. I stopped the car and as I walked around the front of my car, he walked around the back and jumped into my front seat! I stood there thinking that an enormous strange dog just jumped in my car, could he be dangerous? So I got in the car and called animal control. They said I could drop him off, but on my way there I couldn’t help but fall for those sad, helpless eyes. I tried to track down his owners, but people in the area thought he had been dumped.

He was about 40 pounds overweight with a deformed leg and fatty lumps – a real looker. He was a big block head lab who had never been taught to fetch, snuggle, swim, play or just be a dog. Who knows what his former life had been like, but it was going to be different with me. I named him Buddy, yes a generic name, but he lived up to it. He was the best buddy a man could ask for. He had a terrific personality and loved life. He was so happy, eager to please, and was always at my side. Who could dump such a treasure? I was blessed with 7 years with Buddy and he will always hold a special place in my heart. That big, goofy, stubborn, funny, clumsy dog was a gift and I never regretted stopping that car on that cold dark night.

Since I can’t credit a shelter for rescuing Buddy, I would like to choose one in my community that rescues “Buddy” dogs every day and that is Billings Animal Rescue Kare in Billings, Montana.

Greg Roper
Billings, MT

We named him 'Tashi', meaning 'prosperity and spiritual wealth'

It was late autumn and I was on a lunch break. I wanted something sweet and decided to go to a bakery I haven't visited in years. Behind it, in a depression with a tree and a bit of grass, a small kitten was heartbreakingly crying. There was so much misery in that sound. Apparently someone threw a litter there - few died, one got rescued few days ago, this one remained.

My heart a mess, I returned to work. With all the cats and a dog we already had, no way we could add another one. Not to mention destroying the hard won peace.

After work I went back for it. He was orange, covered with fleas, with a bloated belly and he fit into my palm. Vet said he was a month old and close to dying because he could not defecate. Diagnosis: megacolon.

It was a long, smelly winter and I thought my family was gonna murder me at some points. For a year we struggled to find a diet for him. There were painful enemas, force-feeding him the oil... Terrible. Two different vets suggested euthanasia.

We said no. Because, in spite of it all, on his 'good days' he was an incarnation of joy - an intelligent, playful and hyperactive kitten.

Now, year and a half later, we found a regime that seems to be working. However, the food, oil, syrup... it all needs to be adjusted on a daily basis. If he ever gets lost and fed by good people, he'll be dead within a week.

Life is amazing, and even if we haven't won the battle for his, I wouldn't have regretted neither time nor money spend to give him just one beautiful day more.

Tajana Ljubičić
Zagreb, Croatia

Cocoa bear.

This is my little Cocoa girl. My dad and I adopted her in 2004 from FAIR (Foundation for Animals In Risk). When we saw her, it was love at first sight. She's an Australian Cattle Dog mix, and the most beautiful canine I've ever met. After her best friend Buddy passed away, she got used to being an only dog. However, she managed to accept our two other rescued pets, Charlie the scruffy white dog saved from the roadside, and Bobbi, a cat dumped in my backyard when she was a kitten. Yet no matter who comes into my life, Cocoa will always be the one in charge. She is the head of my household, which she rules with an iron, albeit spoiled, paw.

Jessie Birdman
Tucson, AZ

My Protector

My husband found Kelvin at the age of 8 weeks all covered with grease in a filthy garage. The people said they got him, decided they really didn't want a dog and were going to take him back to the pound when they got around to it. My husband lied and told them we were looking for a dog. I quickly figured out that as long as Kelvin was alive no harm would happen to me if he was around. When we traveled, he slept across the door so no one could enter the hotel room without getting past him. One Mother's Day he refused to let me go down a particular trail. When I investigated I found a rattlesnake hiding on the other side of downed log I would need to step over. When we hiked and someone approached, he got between us, put a paw on my foot and barked - once. No one "invaded my personal space". Kelvin died too young at the age of 5 1/2 of cancer.

Meg Hulme
Atlanta, GA

Little Boo

I found Boo because he screamed. He was a street dog in South India. He had been hit by a car around 7PM one night when playing in the street with his brothers. He was about 3 months old. I was driving by on my moped when I heard him scream. It took over an hour and several people to catch him as he could hobble quite fast on 3 legs and was really LOUD. I looked over and saw his mother, sitting at some distance and howling her despair. I later learned this was her third puppy of this litter to be hit by a car. I knew there was nothing she could do for him now. The hot season was upon us, and he would die a slow and painful death without the ability to reach water. Finally I got him into a large shoulder bag, jumped back on my scooter and drove him to my home in India. The vet told me his hip was broken, but he seems to have mended just fine now. Two months later I brought him back to New York City. At first he was terrified of the leash and refused to go for walks. When I tried to catch him to put on his leash, he would scream again, run away, and pee on the floor in terror, which kind of defeated the purpose of the whole walk-thing. After several months of patience, and much floor cleaning on my part, he now LOVES to go for walks. Today, he lives happily in Manhattan with me, my 2 cats and my 2 other rescued Indian street dogs. Sometimes he still shows his street roots, like when he jumped on my bed and started ripping the sheets apart to build a nest, LOL.

New York, NY

My Baby Girl "Lady"

I rescued Lady a little over a year ago at 14yrs arthritic covered in moles/cysts just hrs from euthanization. With obvious signs of neglect/abuse. She was untrusting, food-aggressive, growled if you put your face near hers. Snapped at me when Id try to help her up. It was a month b4 she wagged her tail for the 1st time without the promise of food. 1 more to get her over the food aggression. 6-months after I adopted her, I was returning from a hike when I heard her howling for me her 1st demonstration of love for me. Lady died 3 days ago and her last hours were spent in my arms hearing my voice and knowing she was loved. Lady is the only dog I've ever had who genuinely loved music. Her eyes would get wide and she would start panting heavily when certain songs were played I will never forget the way her eyes lit up the 1st time I played this song. this ones for you baby girl you will always shine inside!

Kevin A. Baskovich
Green Valley lake, CA


Either born to a feral cat or abandoned by someone, a young cat wandered into my backyard from the wooded area one day. He wouldn't let me approach him, so I began leaving food on the patio for him. Each evening, like clockwork, he would show up and eat, then linger around the patio. After much patience and several months, he finally let me pick him up and bring him inside.

The vet discovered there was a small bullet in his back leg.

Some very cruel person tried to shoot him and missed, getting only his leg. Since the vet said it wasn't harming him or causing pain, surgery was not done to remove it.

That was four years ago. Today Maxie is the most gentle and lovable cat I've ever seen considering what he must have been through before I found him. I can't imagine not having him to love!

Carol Price
Furlong, PA

Unique and handsome

This is Miley. My son brought him home from his dads. Miley's parents are both barn cats and Miley is the only surviving cat from the litter. He has an awesome personality and is as loving as can be.

He is a part of our family couldn't imagine him not being with us. :)

Martha Phillips
Effingham, IL

Meet Bojangles "BO"

Bojangles was a rescue kitten from Friday Harbor, Washington. He was born at the shelter and shared his space with six brothers and sisters. It was no problem finding Bo as he sat on my husband's shoe until we picked him up and his purring sealed the deal for us! He adjusted with our other rescue cat of three years and together they love to play, sleep and eat together. I have always had rescue animals and highly recommend them as pets....their love is uncinditional and the hours of joy they provide are such a source of constant happiness!

Kirkland, WA

Dayna Dalmatian

It's hard now to remember when we recused Dayna from abusive owners who starved her and kept her in a basement. She is no longer bones and polka-dots and is the happiest dog I know. She is treated like our princess and acts accordingly. I couldn't imagine life without her!

Marti Howell
Erieville, NY
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