Inspiring, uplifting pet adoption stories

November 11, 2015

pet-adoptionWe’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?

Sweet Max

Magnificent Max

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.

Pretty Lily.

Pretty Lily.

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.

Beautiful Snip

Beautiful Snip

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.

Cuddly Cuddles

Cuddly Cuddles

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.

Magnificent Maisy

Captivating Maisy

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.


Sweet Sydney

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.


Happy Harry

Happy Harry

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:
rescue-petsThere 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?





23 comments on “Inspiring, uplifting pet adoption stories
  1. My kids want me to adopt a dog during my life after 50. Your stories make me warm to the idea. Maybe during my life after 60.

  2. Vilma Sceusa says:

    Loved reading all the stories. So glad you have a mix of cats and dogs! We also rescued a whole litter of cats in our neighborhood and ended up with one as well! Our cat’s name is Dobby and Harry is named after Harry Potter. Harry sends you a big hug and thanks you for spreading the word about adoption!

  3. Elena Peters says:

    What lovely stories! Quite a few years back, I used to be a foster mummy for baby doggies abandoned at our local shelter. It was a lot of work since many of them had to be hand bottle fed and needed 24 hour attention. They were so cute and adorable as puppies are and I loved taking them in once a week for their checkups. I loved to see them thriving and gaining weight. I would get so attached to each new litter but it was such a joy when I could finally hand them back and I knew the shelter would find them good homes. I have pictures of them all and of course I named them all too. Life has got so busy that I can no longer dedicate the kind of time it takes to do that anymore. I do however have a rescued dog from a farm now and she is a beautiful Australian Shepard. Her name is Princess and she is certainly treated like a queen in this house!

  4. Such a worthy, wonderful cause, Carol!!!

  5. Carol Graham says:

    Loved the quote you had “Who rescued who?” We’ve rescued over 30 dogs so far and they just get better and better. They improve OUR lives. My daughter’s hubby just found ANOTHER (one he found there years ago) Husky puppy in a dumpster. They rescue dogs as well and right now have 7.

  6. Kate Mahar says:

    I’d like to let Judy know that I adopted both my dogs after turning 60 with some trepidation. I love to travel, live alone – did I really need to take on that responsibility now that my son was grown and gone? Judy, I am grateful every day that I did! Corny as it sounds, there was a loneliness, a hole in my heart, that I didn’t even know was there – until my Mick filled it. Mick Jagger is my longhaired (rock star) dachshund. A year later, believing Mick needed a buddy, we rescued Little Richard, a terrier mix who is as high strung as his namesake. “The boys” make me laugh every day! I’ve found a wonderful retired nurse to stay in my house with them when I travel, and life is good all around. Good luck to you!

  7. I love animals, and have two rescue goldens at the moment. I’ve rescued cats, dogs, rabbits…whatever. I miss having cats, but my husband, after a double lung transplant, is not supposed to be near litter boxes.

  8. Sheryl says:

    This is killing me! I am a huge dog lover – always had one – but have not gotten another after the death of my last dog Chloe. Every day I’m so so tempted, and every day I remind myself of all the responsibility, etc. that comes with starting over again. I’m so torn…but smiled a lot reading these lovely tails, er, tales 🙂

  9. I love reading happy pet adoption stories. Every animal deserves a loving home.

  10. Jennifer says:

    My sister only owned Pit Bulls, all rescue dogs. The first dog her husband, a fire fighter, found chained and abandoned at an empty house when they were doing fire safety checks. He took the dog to the local dog pound so they could do the official checking for owners and then brought the dog home a week later. He was the most loving dog I’ve ever met and there have been quite a few in my life.

  11. I love all of these heartwarming stories. Barbara’s The Duffy Chronicles is making its way through another group of our grandkids, they love it!

  12. Ruth Curran says:

    I love the stories!!! Bubs, my grand-dog, is a rescue and we couldn’t love him more.

    You know you had my attention when you said Riley encouraged you to write this piece — I am all about anything Riley wants :)!

  13. Kimberly says:

    Every tale (tail!) was so heart warming! Pets add so much warmth and love to a home. Thanks for the smiles.
    Kimberly XO

  14. I loved reading these wonderful stories…thank you. Every dog we’ve ever had, through 40 years of raising children, was a rescue. For a while in my 60’s I was without a dog. It didn’t feel right so I began rescuing senior Goldens. Few people want a senior dog but they are wonderful. The hardest part is losing them as they are old when they come home with me, but knowing they had a good life and home in their later years helps me deal with the loss…and then I rescue another one. My “Gracie” is only eight, so I hope she’ll be around a while.

  15. I love all these stories.

    One of the unexpected blessings of homeschooling the girls was the time we had to have our own “mini-shelter”, which at one point included: 2 rabbits, 2 Guinea pigs, an Egyptian Uromastyx, blue-tongue skink, a snake, an aquatic tank with newts and frogs, 4 cats, and our Sammy Beagle. All but the skink and the newts and frogs were rescues. Today, only our Sammy Beagle, 3 of our 4 cats, and 1 newt remain, but each of our fur family has written their name on our hearts.

  16. Jen says:

    Rescues are the best! I love the stories you shared. We only get shelter dogs and they are just awesome.


  17. Kathleen says:

    What cute and beautiful stories of rescued animals you have bought to the party.
    Thank you for all the good work you do and have done in this important area.
    Fridays Blog Booster Party #32

  18. Early diagnosis and treatment of a disease can prevent unnecessary pain and suffering and help your pet recover quicker.

  19. Delbert R Nordbrock says:

    Cats! Worked at Quaker Research
    Jennel in Barrington for ten years. Daughter kept asking for pet. Puffy the kitten came home one day. Eventually gotout and of course had Button. Anyway, lots of years and cat later a fsral gray cat showed up. Wife of course fed him. He eventually let her sit on steps while he ate. Getting cold out, can I bring him into garage? Then after awhile can he be downstairs? Now he sleeps on the bed.

  20. Aca Baranton says:

    So many heartwarming stories, compassionate and passionate people and such lovely pets This post made my day and strengthen my resolve to always adopt a pet and not purchase them. How many beautiful lives we end up saving by doing so!

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