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About a year and a half ago, my sister Iris was very ill. She knew she wasn't going to make and wanted me to take care of her dog Gizmo. He is a shitz-poodle mix. He has adjusted very well to what was a house of cats. I can't go anywhere without him. He makes sure of that.

Omer Knoll
Palco, KS

Stella - little mum

I adopted a rescued cat - Stella is a lovely black and white cat who was removed by an RSPCA inspector -- she was nursing her most recent litter of kittens at 11 years old! As a result of so many pregnancies her immune system is poor and we suspect she carries the cat 'flu virus so can't be with other cats anymore. She moved in with me to retire from motherhood. It has been lovely to have her because within the last few months my dad, Horst, my mum, Meta, and Puddy, my cat companion of 10 years all died. I work in our local college and get 6 weeks holiday so this year I am going to volunteer my time to work at the our local RSPCA caring for the cats in return for my beautiful and loving companion.

Evelyn Schneider
Bridgwater, United Kingdom

My baby girl Zoe

Let me introduce Zoe to you she is a 1 yr boxer. I lost my 13 1/2 yellow lab Magnum to old age and was going through a bad time. I went to Apple Valley Animal Shelter to look and was about to leave when an employee said there is one more over here. I saw this beautiful scared little boxer and when she looked at me with those big brown eyes I was sold. I was filled with emotion and said she is the one. The employees said I could pick her up tomorrow so I left went to pet store and bought everything under the roof to spoil her. The next day I picked her up and she was very scared. She has scars on her neck so I think she was abused by other dogs and people so it took about 3 weeks for her to fully trust me and now she is so protective and appriciative of me. She and I came into each others lifes when we needed each other the most. We play ball and go for walks daily and she is so spoiled but well trained and very smart. I brought her home on April 1 2010 so she will always be the best April fools present for me. No joke here....:=) I think everyone if given the chance should rescue a pet they will always let you know how thankful they are to be in just a good loving home. Zoe does she will sit on my lab and but her head on my shoulder and just want to be loved. I love her so much and want to thank everyone at Apple Valley animal shelter for there compassion and hard work with these animals.

Natalie Lopez
Apple Valley, CA


This is Molly. I found her in 1998 on my property in my open shed. You could clearly see that she was pregnant. She growled when I found her, probably because she was afraid for her pups and did not know me. I am a dog lover and was determined to help her. One day, I walked over to the open shed with water and dog food. I sat outside of the shed and talked her into coming out. She eventually did. I put some dog food in my open hands. She sniffed me first, including my face. I must say, I had a thought in my mind that she could bite me in my face at any moment. But I allowed her to sniff me. Then she started eating the dog food out of my hands. After work every day, I would go the shed and check on her, I eventually was allowed by her to come into the shed. One day when I came home, the pups had been born; 4 in total. They were so adorable and healthy said the vet. I could not stand having her and her pups live in a dirty open shed, so i moved them to my back covered porch in my fenced yard. Molly, when I originally found her, was very thin and had wounds on her, from what I believe was prior abuse and had never been in a house, by the way she acted. I kept the pups until they were of appropriate age and gave them to the no-kill shelter; they were immediately adoped. The vet determined at that time by her teeth, that she was approx. 4 yrs. old. She is now 16 years old. She is the best dog ever. I love her very much.

Danielle Blake
Dover, PA

Grace - A gift from God

We got Grace from an animal shelter in Kentucky off Petfinder. We had lost a rabbit that looked similar to her. Grace shows us all kinds of love. She loves to give bunny kisses, binkys when we come into her room, and loves to stretch out and cuddle next to us on the floor in the living room. She is a unique little bunny who bring us much joy and love. The ladies at the animal shelter named her and it truly fits, she is a gift from God.

Jonathan & Mary
Memphis, TN

Little Toughy

I fostered a mother and her 5 day old kittens until they were 3 months old. One stood out among the rest because he was a Tough little guy who insisted on having his dinner from Mama cat, first. Even as a newborn he would get up to her belly and if another kitten was on the nipple he wanted he would boot them with his back legs until they got off. I knew right away he could hold his own with my 3 senior cats. I was right. He's a character and a little Toughy. He's only ever known our house and thinks it's his castle. He's loving and happy and after 3 years still very much a kitten. His siblings were subsequently adopted as was his mother. We are so incredibly lucky to have all 4 of our adopted cats.

C. Hamilton
Toronto, ON, Canada

One Eyed Bandit

We were not looking for another pet. I had taken my parents to Open Door Animal Sanctuary to search for a dog because a couple of months earlier they had lost their beloved Pepe. There in the corner of one of the runs was Toby, frightened and quivering in the corner, his one eye wide with fear. I went into his run and although it took a little bit of time, he finally crawled up in my lap and made himself at home. I knew right then and there I had to bring him home. Three weeks later he became a member of our family and brings us joy every single day. All of my pets are rescues and the appreciation and love we receive from them every single day of their lives is a most precious gift.

Donna Hartmann
High Ridge, MO

Our three rescues

We started rescuing dogs about 15 years ago and now, we don’t find them, they seem to find us. We’re allowed 3 where we live and that’s how many we have at all times. Coney (right) did come from a rescue agency – we’re partial to chow mixes since my first dog was a full chow and was awesome - and Coney has been great as well, she previously had a hard life as a stray, then was in the pound, had kennel cough, etc. but once she adjusted, she became just super snuggly and sweet.

We found Libby (center) as an abandoned stray puppy on the street, she was completely feral and honestly, the chewing puppy from hell (she ate a couch. Seriously.) But she developed into the kindest, most devoted doggie ever, as well as an excellent watchdog. We’ll never be burglarized!

And our baby Belladonna (left) was temporarily in the care of one of our neighbors – she was originally left at the pound as a newborn, adopted at 6 weeks, then at 6 months her owners moved someplace where they couldn’t have a dog. To their credit, they put effort into finding another home for her – and when we saw her, we knew she was the perfect addition to our furry family (especially since one of our other rescued dogs had recently passed away at age 13). Bella is really bouncy and joyous and friendly to everybody.

Rescuing dogs is one of the best and most rewarding things we do in life! D. and Mike Manning, Redondo Beach, CA

D. and Mike Manning
Redondo Beach, CA

Molly's Adventure

Molly's adventure began in Kosovo. She showed up on our flight line one day scared to death. Being the animal lover that me and my best friend are we decided to try to lure her in with yogurt, it worked. We built up Molly's trust enough to get close to her. She was scared to death and very hungry. We weren't allowed to keep her in our room (deployed soldiers are not allowed to have pets). So, we convinced the veterinarian here on post to help us. He spayed and microchipped Molly, and said he would help find her a home. They found a home for Molly in a town about 20 minutes from where our base is, keep in mind this was in December. We accepted that Molly had found a good home and was safe. In April, one of the guys in our unit knocked on our door and said there was a dog outside. We were amazed that it was Molly. She had traveled over 20 miles to get back to us! It was then I knew that I was going to try to take her home. We found a temporary home for her at a United States Contractors house and then booked her a commercial ticket to the United States. When she arrived in New York, an amazing organization called Pilots N Paws picked her up and ensured that she was taken care of. Through a series of stops the pilots flew Molly all the way to Kentucky. She is now with my parents waiting for me to get home from Kosovo, which will be this month.

Frankfort, KY

Baby Maeby... Teaches us all a lesson

We had debated a bit about adopting a new little loved one. We knew our old man cat Zero was missing having a little playmate about after I had to move about a year ago. Then I found a shelter near my work, and decided to send her an email to see if she had any kittens. She did! But they had just come in, 12 of them! I knew we wanted a female and went to visit when they were 4 weeks old. Most hid in the corner until one little silver tabby came bounding out, pawed at a toy then ran up to me. She was the one.

Little Maeby came home at 8 weeks and adorable. She immediately took to our old man cat and within the week he was grooming and playing with her, she was even caught snuggling with our chihuahua mix pup.

The strangest and most satisfying outcome came when we took out Polly-Jean Speedracer our African Pygmy hedgehog. Maeby met her nose to nose and just watched. Soon every time I took out hedge Maeby was there to sit close by and smell and watch...Never raising a paw. She now sits on her cage when she wants me to take her out to visit.. and PJ responds with nose twitches toward her. I believe they were meant to be together.

Nina S.
Redmond, WA
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