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This is Gretchen, our Belgian Shepard Mix, relaxing on the kitchen floor of our house. She was a tiny ball of fuzz with huge bat-like ears when we took her in. That was 7 years ago.

She came to us under dire circumstances. Her owner had been killed in a car accident, and when his family went to his home to clean it up, they found a tiny pup. She was starving, flea and parasite infested and had sarcoptic mange! She was so happy to see people, despite her condition, and couldn't stop licking faces.

They couldn't keep her and knew that I had rescued dogs before and would find her a good home. So they called me. Of course I took her in. We took her to the vet to treat her problems and started her on the road to recovery. And, needless to say, she never left us!

Gretchen has been a gem from the start! Well behaved, sensitive, loves to play! And run! But at 9 months we noticed limping. She had horrible hip dysplasia and would be on meds her whole life.

At 6 years we ended up having to do surgery on her hip; she had become a 3 legged dog. It was quite an expense, but we couldn't end her life so young. And that was the only alternative.

She has fully recovered and is back to playing and running! Her life wouldn't have been the same without us and our lives wouldn't be the same without this little sweetheart!

Robin K.
Fenton, MO

Whiskers Story

It was a wonderful day when Whiskers was found. He was found wondering up and down the street in front of the house just crying. I should say the dog is the one that let us know he was there. A couple of people just acted as though he wasent there. When my mom picked him up it looked as though he was thrown out on his little face. He wasent more then 6 to 8 wks old. Had alot of fleas and a bad cough. When she picked him up there was alot of kisses and hugs. Now he is very healthy and growing. The dog and cat are best of buddies.

Nappanee, IN


I was working as an editor at the local newspaper and I got a news tip about a cat named Molly who had been stuck at one of the city shelters (fortunately a no-kill shelter) for more than a year. She had been taken to homes a couple of times but ended up coming back because she wasn't very friendly.

I went to check it out and meet the "problem" cat. I found her in a corner sulking. I held out my finger for her to sniff. She sniffed it, licked it, then started to purr. I was immediately sold. I had recently had to put one of my cats to sleep because of cancer and I and my other cat, Ashi, were still in mourning. I had told myself I would wait a while before getting another cat, but this "problem" cat looked in my eyes and I just couldn't leave without her.

I took her home the next day, renamed her Diedra and she has been my cuddle bunny every day since. Never have I been happier to have a news story not happen.

Kathryn van Roosendaal
Ivins, UT

Meet Meeka

This little kitty was about 3 weeks old when I got her. A neighbor whom is a maintenence man trapped her and her brother. The next morning when he found them the brother had died due to malnutrition. She was very weak , he brought her to me to see if I could save her. After a week of feeding her with an eyedropper she was stronger and willing to eat from a bowl. I fed her dry food softened with canned milk. She stayed in a kennel for the first 8 days and when she had gained weight she was feeling fiesty and wanted out of the kennel so I had to confine her in the bathroom cause my older cats didn't agree to kittens ! I put her up for adoption on a website in my town and immediatly a family wanted her. She is now in a new home and very happy with them and they love her too no end. She has become the leader of their pack ! They named her Meeka.

Nancy Contildes
Elko, NV

Shylah Jewel...

I saw a picture of some adorable fox-like puppies on petfinder and quickly contacted the shelter. I was told they would arrive in a day or two and followed by a two week quarantine before we could adopt. After about a week and a half, I called and was told that a shelter 'down south' had adopted them. Disheartened, I repeated my search on petfinder for family dog. We had four pets when my then 4 year-old daughter was born, and unfortunately, all four were very old needed to be put to sleep within a six month period. This new dog needed to be young, healthy, gentle, and certainly had big paw-prints to fill.

Suddenly, I came across a familiar picture! I called the shelter that and set up an appointment. I found out there were three of these adorable pups, and that one was on hold. When we arrived, it was immediately clear which of the pups would be coming home with us. As we completed the paperwork and paid the adoption fee, I began to hear the story of these poor pups. During transport from the south, a parvo infection reared its ugly head. One of the pups didn't make it, the other three needed several thousand dollars worth of supportive care. I now understood why the other shelter had rejected them, leaving them to an uncertain fate.

Luckily NJAC didn't turn their back on them. It took about four months to fully house train Shy, due to some intestinal damage from the infection, and she occassional chews a stuffed animal, but otherwise she is a complete angel. She loves everyone and adores my daughter. Thank you to the shelters who take animals who need medical care, otherwise I would have missed out on an amazing dog!

Erica Waltner
West Milford, NJ

Dean... the little survivor

This little ball of fluff was found off of Dean Rd. one night back in October of 2008. My husband had spotted the kitten (we figured he was about 6 weeks old at the time) dart across traffic while he was driving home. He pulled over and managed to grab him before the kitten ran into a storm drain. After finally capturing the frightened guy, he brought him home... and it was there that we noticed that his lower lip had been ripped away from his jaw and was just dangling there. (You can see in the picture that the red part by his mouth was the exposed lower jaw) Along with that, he was also severely emaciated. The next day we brought him into our vet and scheduled him to have surgery to repair the lip. His surgery went well, and it became a full time job taking care of "Dean" with his round-the-clock feedings and antibiotic treatments... but it was worth all those sleepless nights. He's now two years old and is one of the happiest (and luckiest) cats I know.

Janie Q.
Orlando, FL

Giving and Taking Chances

We grieved nearly 5 years after putting our orange cat Oscar down at age 17 due to kidney failure. It was hard to open up again even though we loved animals and, up until then, always had pets.

It was a few days after Christmas when I saw an ad for a cat found injured outside a church. The shelter named him Church. I was so drawn to him so we made arrangements to meet Church.

Church was young and very rambunctious. One look at my husband's face told me he wasn't going for it. So I said perhaps we should consider an older cat.

The lady said she'd be right back and returned with a big orange bobtailed cat and said, "Look what I found out back."

This cat was dropped off in their night slot a few days before. They had not yet named him. He was so friendly and mellow. We spent some time with him then off we drove home. I felt sad we didn't rescue Church. The lady said perhaps Church was supposed to lead us to this kitty instead.

On the way home I thought about names. He's orange and has a bobbed, question mark shaped tail. The "chance" card from Monopoly came to mind. It was also "by chance" we found him having initially gone to see another cat. We gave him a second chance and took a chance on him.

His name is "Chance" and he's so special. He showed us how to open up and love again.

Nine months ago Chance was diagnosed diabetic. Being we hadn't had him long and now faced a serious health issue, our vet said "He's very lucky", my response was ... "So are we."

I'm glad we gave and took a chance on "Chance".

Mountain View, CA

Never pick up hitch hikers

Coming home from breakfast with my niece and nephew in the car, we saw a large German Shepherd sitting on the side of a busy road in a less then good neighborhood. It looked as if she was waiting for a ride. As I passed her, my 3 year old nephew said "we should go get it". I turn the car around, opened the tail gate tossed her a piece of coffee cake and she was in. Her face was bruised and cut; she had a problem with her foot, a bad knee and ear infection. My plan was to find her owner and return her to her home. But that would never be, no one claimed her and our existing German Shepherd seemed to enjoy having her around, so we made the decision that she was home, with us. The next month would bring being spayed, a toe amputation, bone infection and a month in the hospital. But today she is a happy, healthy, fun loving 4.5 year old. She loves everyone she meets and has a special place in her heart for my nephew.

Orlando, FL

Lucky Cassie

We recently adopted Cassie from a local rescue organization. What a lovely dog she is!!! Apparently she was rescued from Ohio shortly before being euthanized. She had terrible flea infestation, worms, malnutrition and looked so forlorn when we met her. Her foster provider did a fabulous job bringing her back to life and we were fortunate to bring home a loving and happy dog. She is quickly growing her fur back, gaining weight and thriving in our household of two rescue cats and a dog named CJ. We love this little dog and she fits in just perfectly here, as if she was meant to be here in the first place. Someone must have loved her once because she is so obedient and calm. We are glad that she found us and came to spend her life here!

Apple Valley, MN

JJ..the brother to Jazz and Drummer.....

JJ is an awesome Cocker Spaniel!! We got him from the shelter about a year and a half ago....JJ is suppose to be 5 so they say....I think they're mistaken about his age. He acts like a pup which I know he isn't that young, but I think five is stretching it. JJ loves to play ball, he will chase it and bring it back, and walk around with it in his mouth...his favorite toy is a fox without stuffing. He sleeps with it, he cleans it, he shakes it, he takes it outside but ALWAYS brings it back in. JJ is really lots of fun. We have always had several dogs, my husband was a Veterinarian so it seemed only natural. The white on JJ's chin is natural white, it isn't grey from being old, lol.

Oklahoma city, OK
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