We’re celebrating pet adoptions and rescue pets today, a post Riley encouraged me to do. He believes in pet adoption 100% and wanted you to hear some stories about some of the cool cats and darling dogs adopted by our Facebook friends.
I do know a little about pet adoption. In my 20s, I spent quite a few years on the board of a Humane Society, one that ran Animal Control for our city. And, one that built and operated a low-cost spay and neuter clinic. It was a passion of mine, this humane society work.
In fact, I was president the year a disgruntled employee reported us to the city for not euthanizing dogs on schedule–that is, keeping them past the date we were supposed to kill them. For that infraction, I had to appear before a grand jury, a truly terrifying experience for a young woman.
I’ve had many rescue animals in my life and so has my husband.
As the holidays draw close, some of us may be tempted to adopt a pet as a gift for someone else. As a surprise. Don’t do it. It is never a good idea to surprise someone with a pet. Adoption is serious business and the adoptive owner should be very involved in the process. Many pets are returned to shelters after Christmas because the gift recipient didn’t want that kind of dog or just wasn’t ready.
But when adoption goes well, it is a thing of beauty. I’ve got a few happy ending stories to share today–pets that got their forever homes and are living, well, the life of Riley, with their owners today. Won’t you come along and read these uplifting tales from their owners?
Perri & Max
Perri writes: I rescued Max when he was 10 months. The dog catcher picked up Max wandering around up at Syracuse University, and he brought him to a vet clinic that usually euthanizes animals after five days. However, Max was so friendly that they called the local no-kill shelter to take him. I was a volunteer at the shelter, and I like to tell everyone that Max smiled at me when our eyes first met. I rescued him the following week.
Did I mention that Max is a pit bull? I live alone, and this amazing pit has become the center of my world. I used to think that golden retrievers were the most wonderful dogs until I rescued Max. He outshines them in affection, companionship, obedience and snuggling. We share my king-size bed, but you would think that we slept in a twin because that’s all the room we need. Max nestles between my knees or stretches out full length next to me–under the covers, of course! In the morning, after taking him out and giving him his breakfast, he goes back to bed while I start my day!
We walk seven days a week through our neighborhood, and invariably, someone either comes out of their home or even stops their car in the middle of the street to tell me what a well-behaved, good-looking boy he is. Max walks directly beside me, wears the fleece coat that I sewed for him without a fuss in the winter, and thinks that every visitor to our home has come to see him. The word Joyful sums up our lives together. He is my incredible everything.
Molly, Lily & Snip
Molly writes: Her name is Lily, and she was a feral cat up in the woods in New Hampshire. I got her in 2007 from a small-animal-vet friend who was trying to find her a home when I was looking for a cat. She was about a year old at the time and the Internet said she was too old to learn to like humans.
Apparently nobody told her that.
It took her three months to decide I wasn’t dangerous. Eight years later, she’s a lap cat. She’ll even let me clip her claws as long as I use the nail clippers for humans (she wants nothing to do with the ones for cats). She’ll forgive me for anything, including vet visits, if I give her a little bit of Provolone cheese afterward. She answers to Silly Beast, Lily Beast and a number of other ridiculous names.
When I’d had Lily for a year, I decided she needed a friend of her own species to wrestle with, because wrestling with me wasn’t working for either of us. I went to the MSPCA (M in this case stands for Massachusetts) on a Saturday and fell for the cat in the cage plastered all over with “Special diet” signs (turned out to be an allergy to corn, but they hadn’t figured that out yet).
She would frantically wash any part of anybody she could reach. I took that as “Get me out of here!”, so that’s what I did on Monday, after she had been spayed.
I tried to do the slow introduction method with baby gates, but Snip wasn’t interested. After she climbed over the gate three times in ten minutes, I said “OK, just don’t kill each other.” There was some hissing for the next couple of days, but once they both decided that Lily is in charge, everything was fine.
What do they bring to my life? I’m single and I don’t want children, so my cats are the family I built. My mom calls them her grandcats. They might only care when I come home at night because I feed them, but they do care. And a lot of a bad day can be made better by a cat in my lap purring so hard I have to turn the TV up to hear it.
Shirley & Cuddles
A loving heart is the truest wisdom ~Charles Dickens
This is our rescue dog “Cuddles”.
She was brought to us by a vet tech to see if we would take her as she was to be put to sleep as she was homeless and spent 3 weeks in a cage, was very thin.
She was a sweet dog and wanted lots of love.
She now has a forever home and fits in with our 3 other dogs.
Kelly & Maisy
From Kelly: We decided we wanted to get a family dog about five and a half years ago and we wanted to adopt a rescued adult dog.
In our search, we found a rescue organization in north central Iowa (we’re in central Iowa) that specialized in wire fox terriers, and especially those who have been in a puppy mill. We reviewed their website and identified one of their adult dogs we thought would be a fit for us. After a thorough and lengthy adoption process (which included a recommendation from our neighbor, who is also a rescued-dog owner), we drove the two hours to the rescue to meet Meadow (the name they gave her when they rescued her from the puppy mill).
We had prepared ourselves for the high energy of a terrier–the only type of high energy she exhibited was near convulsion-like shaking from fear on the drive home. Once we got her home, she glommed onto me immediately and followed me everywhere. She wouldn’t allow my husband or daughter to touch her, and actually nipped at my daughter when she tried to pet her. My daughter was devastated.
After months of working with her and regular weekly visits to a doggy daycare for structured, supervised socialization time, she finally started to come out of her shell. Now, almost five years later, Maisy (the new name we gave her) is a comfortable, confident, and happy member of our family.
Maisy has taught us so many lessons. For instance, that your past doesn’t define you: As a puppy mill dog, we didn’t have high hopes for her being anything but a broken animal that may eventually relax a little around us. But with time, care, love, and proper attention, you would never know that she’d been in a puppy mill for the first seven years of her life. She taught us about resilience and just doing the best you can with what you have and what you know at any given point in your life.
She’s provided us with a unique form of meditation: petting her, which is my husband’s favorite past time now.
Once Maisy realized that my husband wasn’t going to hurt her, but in fact was the primo petter in the family, she quickly learned to love him. She’s brought us immeasurable joy watching her metamorphosis and a sense of accomplishment from helping her in that journey.
Barbara & Sydney
Says Barbara: We’ve always had dogs in pairs. Sometimes it’s difficult when the older one passes on and the one left behind is grieving. That scenario brought Sydney into our lives.
She was a two-year-old cockapoo who was suddenly having seizures. Her owner was a single woman who traveled a lot and did the right thing by finding her a new home. Ours.
My husband flew from Philly to Vegas to pick her up at the airport and bring her home in one day. She is such a joy! Our grieving Cosmo fell instantly in love with her and began to heal. She helped us all heal and we love her for it. She knows she owns us and we’re fine with that.
There’s no other kind of unconditional love, I know of. We enjoy seeing them snuggle together, play together, hog our bed together. Can’t imagine life without them. They make us laugh every day. They are intuitive to our emotions and know when we need them for comfort and joy.
By the way, Barbara has written a book about her rescue dogs. The Duffy Chronicles by Barbara Hammond is an uplifting, perfect book for children of all ages, and would make a great holiday gift. Find it on Amazon. And look for her next book in the series, coming soon.
Vilma & Harry
Vilma writes: It had been three years since we lost our beloved golden retriever. We had just renovated our house so I had my apprehensions but my family was ready for a new dog to love. So we drove over to North Shore Animal League and walked around the facility. We saw puppies, kittens and adult dogs. We left the shelter without a dog. My son, who was a fifth grader at the time, was crestfallen and insisted we go back in and look around again. We reluctantly went back in and saw a shelter employee with a new dog that was just brought out to the main room. He was four months old, a lab mix and he took one look at my family and we took one look at him and the rest is history.
Harry is a warm and loving member of our family now. He’s gregarious and happy. We needed him as much as he needed us. My kids who were in fifth and seventh grades, at the time of his adoption, embraced his arrival and all of their friends love him as well. We are always changing and evolving but Harry is always Harry. He is always happy and though he is larger he still sports the same happy face we fell in love with the day we adopted him.
And aren’t these pets and owners lucky to have found one another? Both bring so much to the other’s life. In the end, I was left with only one question:
There are so many unwanted pets lingering at shelters or being euthanized because there aren’t enough homes. Won’t you be sure to spay or neuter your pet and encourage others to do so?