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How can you say "no" to these eyes...

I found Mia through Petfinder in December 2009. She had been found wandering around and the city was going to put her down in less than 24 hours. A nice lady at the cty called Happy Tails Sanctuary, a no-kill shelter, and begged them to take her. She was there for four months before finding her forever home with me. She is so spoiled as I can never so "no" when she looks at me with those blue eyes.

Beth Madorsky
Mentor, OH

The Best Dog We Ever Had

We saw Rudy on TV as one of the dogs our local Humane Society was trying to find homes for and fell in love....

She was as odd-looking as a dog could be,

Long, white, short-legged with funny ears.

Not enough Bassett, not enough Lab

To make claim to any elegance or beauty;

She had her quirks:

Fear of men and hiding under tables.

She was smart, that day at the Pound

When she raised her paw to shake hello

And melted our hearts -- as if she didn't know.

She raised our puppy even when she was new

--Ever devoted; always true.

When times were dark she guarded us;

Always watching with her sad dark eyes . . .

And even when we couldn't find a kind word for the world

On one topic there was no dispute:

She was the best dog we ever had.

Age took her unexpectedly --

One moment running free

The next paralyzed and confused

But always faithful, ever true.

I thanked God she didn't seem to know

That everything would change that summer's day

When she lay by the screen door

No longer wanting to go out to play,

We held back tears so she wouldn't fret

Knowing she only cared about our thoughts, even then.

Eleven years and she was always a surprise to us --

So much more than a dog should be

The best dog we every had; Rudy . . .

Fridley, MN

I didn;t even like dogs.......Duke Feb 1994-Jan 2009

My son wanted a dog for a long time....One day my husband picked me up from work (after years of saying no because I was a cat person) and said, you got to see this dog. I put up my usual arguments but we went to see the dog. My husband said "ask the lady where she got her dog, she might know for another one like it"....i asked her where she got her dog, and to my disbelief she said, I've been praying for a home for this dog....long story short Duke was nine years old and I figured if i got an old dog, it would get sick and die soon and I would be rid of "dirty ole dog", I just didn't plan on loving him so much that my heart would ache at the thought of losing him....Five wonderful years we shared as a family - He ate with us, slept with us and went everywhere with us....He loved custard cones..there were times i wasn't sure if he was kissing the cat or tasting and when liver cancer finally decided it was time for my baby to go to heaven, my husband and I were right there, holding him and crying and telling him that he was such a good dog....I made 3 appointments before we could actually take him to the vet to end his suffering....I missed him terribly and the house was empty without him, I kept expecting to see him every time i turned a corner...I knew Duke would want another dog to be happy in our house so I am now Mom to two more dirty ole dogs - both rescues - I can't imagine my house without a "dirty ole dog"....not bad, for a girl who didn't even like dogs....

Yvette Butt
Victoria, NL, Canada

Tracking Down Tazza...

About a year ago I decided to get a cat. Immediately I thought of a "Rescue Cat" having recently browsed the local animal shelter website and seeing how many animals needed a home.

Reviewing the potential-pet images, I was caught and held breathless by the golden-orange gaze of one animal in particular. I was struck immediately by the "this is the one" type of feeling one gets when you have found something you cannot be without.

I called immediately and was told that the cat was still available for adoption. The next morning I was up early and out the door...upon arrival at the shelter I was informed that the animal had been transferred, to an off-site satellite adoption site that morning, and would I like to see another animal. Smiling I requested the address of where she'd been sent, and then agreed to "visit" with a couple other animals that had caught my eye. They were beautiful, lovable, but neither feline created the connection I felt with the image of the one animal I'd yet to have met.

Leaving I journeyed the twenty plus miles to the satellite site - only to be told that Tazza had never arrived. She was in fact, back at the original animal shelter. Frustrated I went to work feeling a slight loss, and hoping that tomorrow would finally see me to my goal.

Bright and early I was out the door and on the road, headed back to my original destination. After a profound apology from the staff, she was brought to me...the feeling that had spurred my journey ran true. Immediately the connection I'd felt was there and at the first tentative touch I knew she was the pet for me.

She is still with me today. Healthy, Happy, and Loved.

Rochester, NY

Lacey Lou

Lacey Lou is a happy, energetic, Australian Shepherd mix who is 100% puppy! But it hasn't always been that way...

After being married for just one month my husband and I decided we simply could not live with out a dog! We planned to wait until we saved up some money to get a dog but somehow we knew that we needed to go that particular weekend. I had to work so my husband went to the pound by himself. There he found what was destined to be our little Lacey!

Lacey had only been in the pound for 2 weeks but she had ticks all over her ears and in between her toes. She had a runny nose and watery eyes (the pound told my husband it was just a cold and a few pills from the vet would clear it right up)! She came home and we noticed within the first few days that something was not right with her. She was extremely lethargic and when we took her outside she would just stand there and look at you. So we took her to the vet and did a number of tests on her only to find out she had Kennel Cough, Giardiah, and Round Worm. The Kennel Cough was easy to cure but the other two took some time. After about $800 in vet bills Lacey was finally better!! We were surprised we were able to afford it but we know we were meant to be with Lacey! About a year later she is a happy healthy puppy with a sweet spirit! We could not imagine our lives without her!

Mesa, AZ


I found Tad, a small black 3 week old kitten under an old truck infront of the shop i used to work for in August 2004. Actually i think it was the other way around, Tad found me. He was so little and not very friendly at first but 2 weeks of treating him to toys and food he became my best buddy. He became very attached to me and went everywheres i went including car rides. Even though i only go for short distances Tad looks forward to being my little passanger on shopping trips. I don't have very much info about him, except his mother whom was abandoned gave birth to him and from what i know 1 other kitten inside the engine of the abandoned truck in which i found Tad. I know his mother eventually passed shortly after due to getting hit by a car. The area was kindof like a dumping ground for unwanted animals. I don't know what ever happened to the other kitten, and if i hadn't persuaded Tad to become part of my family his life would've been a bunch of unknowns.

syracuse, NY

Hooch, breaking chains-connecting lives

Hooch showed me life through his eyes. He helped me grow, learn, and discover life through his eyes and what a wonderful life I saw. I saw birds fly over head, snowflakes falling from the heavens, I saw stars fold in the crease of the horizon, grease wading in the lake, and livestock taking life slow; I saw life through different eyes all because of Hooch.

However, prior to Hooch coming into my life he was left in a somber and lonely world. Hooch was chained outdoors in NYS blistering winters and blazing summers with no human contact and given minimal food and water for nearly 10 years.

Hooch's tragic beginning exasperated folks from all over as they learned authorities were notified on several occasions about these unjust acts and that NYS laws could not protect him or intervene because he had "shelter." It was not until Hooch broke the chains that were bound so tightly around his neck that he freed himself from his abusers. Afterwards he was picked up by animal control officers.

Once I was notified of Hooch's freedom without pause I welcomed him into my life wherein he blossomed into a warm, loving creature. His grand teddy bear like presence memorized and captured his audience as we set out together to educate others on the importance of human empathy and kindness toward animals. However, Hooch paid the ultimate sacrifice for his new found fame. The inward scars from his weathered past were hidden beneath this stoic soul which eventually cost him his life.

Today I celebrate Hooch by continuing to educate others through his journey on the importance of the human/animal bond and by encouraging NYS lawmakers to strengthen Buster's Law so other innocent creatures like Hooch do not have to suffer in silence.

Michele Newman-Gehrum
Altamont, NY

Me and My Old Lady...

My boyfriend had joined the Army when I was 19. Against my parent's better judgment, we got married. Stationed across the country from home, just over a year together, our marriage suffered a violent break up.

I knew independence and freedom by being a country away from my childhood. It was Spring, I was barely 21, depressed, and back within the 4 strict walls I thought I had evaded.

I cried myself to sleep every night. My mom felt for me, "What could help you stop crying?" she begged.

I wanted to give my heart a secure home with someone who I could dote over, "A kitten" I answered.

My mom hated the idea of a cat box, or the idea of an inside pet at all. "Why not a fish?" she reasoned.

"Arguing or not, It's been a year since I've had to sleep alone. Right now that's when everything magnifies - when I go to bed. I don't want to sleep alone."

Summer passed, fall came, I attended college, made friends, and still - some nights, cried my lonely self to sleep.

Mom must have revisited our discussion by Christmas. When I came home from work, I saw a furry blur. My mom wanted to surprise me with a kitten for Christmas, but all the shelters and pet stores were OUT of kittens. My mom went to PetCo and adopted from PAL animal foundation. 'Jiggs' was an abused and abandoned 2 year old. "I thought you two could understand each other."

She was skidish at first, but within a year, we became inseparable. We've since moved, and thanks to Jiggs, it's been 16 years since I've had to sleep alone. My heart is filled with happiness as I grow old with the best Christmas gift I've ever received!

Menifee, CA

Knox and Farrah

I work with WTPC, a feral cat trap/neuter/return program. On our first day at a new site last summer, several kittens were running around. I picked one up, and the leader of our organization said he wouldn't make it through the night if we left him there. I volunteered to foster, thinking it would be a short-term thing, and I brought four babies home with me. Within ten days, two had died, possibly from panleuk. These two survived, and they now share my home and heart with my husky, Nike.

Constance Israel
Sedona, AZ

Whiskers, adopted twice by same person.

Whiskers, a mixed breed long haired lady was adopted from a shelter in Colorado Springs, CO. She lived with me and my family until my divorce. Then it was just me and her. In 2005 I was called to Active Duty by my Army Reserve unit. At the time I had no options, no friends that could take her and another cat. I placed ads, posted on the internet. No responses. I had to give her up after 12 years. I found a no=kill shelter, MaxFund in Denver, CO. I gave her and the other kitty to them. Fast forward 14 months. I was still in Iraq, and happened to see a link to the shelter. I clicked on it, and looked at the available kitties. WHAT? Whiskers was still there? No way!! I immediately called them and asked if they would hold her for me. I got back and found a place to live that allowed cats. Then I went to MaxFund (after many phone calls) to pick her up. She'd had some medical problems, but none serious, and most probably attributed by separation from me. We went to her cage with a cat carrier. First I asked her if she was ready to go home. She meowed, and walked right into the carrier, surprising the staff and me. needless to say, tears were rolling freely.

William Sanders
Highlands Ranch, CO
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