Thursday, March 29, 2012

Boo and Sophia's Stories

Pets' names: Boo and Sophia
Adopted by: Lindsey
From: Sumter Humane Society, Americus, Ga.

Lindsey, who blogs at Cardio Pizza, sent the story of her two dogs, Boo and Sophia. They came into her life separately but are now best friends.

For as long as I can remember I've been an animal lover. I've always been an extremely sensitive person, but I'm especially sensitive to animals. I believe it's in my nature to love animals, but I also grew up around them. We always had a family dog and I don't know what it's like to not live with one! When our first dog Perry died, it was only a few months before we got Alex. It's just so lonely without an animal. While no animal can replace another, they love they share is like nothing else in this world, and I believe that they live such short lives because they come into this world with more love and compassion than any human is capable of. They don't need as much time as most of us do to learn the lessons we need to here!

In 2009 I moved from Ohio to Georgia for a job. I moved completely by myself so I knew that I needed a roommate. And I knew my roommate would come in the form of a dog! After just a few short days of living in the small town of Americus, Ga., I headed to the local Sumter Humane Society to pick out a dog. There were so many dogs and cats that it was overwhelming. As much as I wish I could adopt every single animal in that place, I realistically knew that I could only adopt one. The dogs were so excited to see me, just as I was excited to see them. But one dog looked calm and caught my attention with his one blue eye and one brown eye. I knew this was my dog.

Boo, who was named by the staff, was estimated to be about two years old. He was picked up by someone who saw him on a country road. He was at the humane society for about two weeks before I adopted him. When I took him home he was scared, but he soon warmed up. His personality came out as well. Gone was the calm dog and out was the wild and energetic dog that I know today.  

Boo and I were just getting used to one another when Sophia joined the family. I never planned to have two dogs, but sometimes life isn't how we plan. One morning before work I went to the gas station to fill my car up. Roaming around the station was a cute black-and-white dog. I had cereal in my purse in a baggie and offered some to the pup to see if she would come to me. She did and gobbled the food right up! Her tail was wagging and I could sense she was friendly. I asked the gas station attendant if this was anyone’s dog and she said no and that she had seen the dog here the past couple of days. I then asked the attendant that worked there to help me put the dog in my car and I offered to take her to the vet, where they could keep her for a few days. 

After a few days I checked in to see if anyone had claimed her and they hadn’t. The vet asked if I'd take her to the humane society, so I did. I came up with a name for her and called her Sophia after my favorite character on "The Golden Girls." I had a feeling since I had named her that she would ultimately be mine, but I wanted to make sure she wasn't someone's dog who was lost. Well, after three weeks no one claimed her. I went right to the shelter and picked her up and took her home. Sophia officially joined the family! 

Boo and Sophia became fast buddies. Now, they are inseparable and enjoy playing day-in and day-out. They both are obsessed with chasing squirrels and bunnies, going for walks, and eating treats. They are happy dogs and they have no idea how happy they make me! I feel so blessed to have these two pups in my life.

Adopting my dogs was one of the best decisions I have made. There are so many animals in need of homes and I encourage anyone who is looking to become a pet owner to adopt one. The love and joy they bring into a home is like nothing else imaginable. 

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Lilly's Story

Pet's name: Lilly
Adopted by: Kelsie Fennell
From: Oktibehha County Humane Society, Starkville, Miss.

Kelsie, who blogs at The Overflow, shared this story of her cat Lilly.

As a little girl growing up in the country, I have been the mommy to a wide variety of pets. We've had several dogs that were very dear to my heart, cats, rabbits, an abandoned baby deer, ducks, and for a short period of time—a baby raccoon. I don't remember a time that I didn't open the back door to the warm greeting of puppy paws or a cat's affection. And then ... I went to college. *sigh* Obviously I didn't have the space or time to provide for a pet. For five years I browsed the "Our Animals" section of the Oktibehha County Humane Society webpage, admiring their little angels and dreaming of the day I could make one of them mine. This fall, I moved into a one-bedroom apartment and the time was right to finally bring home the perfect pet. I went to visit the shelter one afternoon in October, and immediately fell in love with an 8-week old black-and-white Maine Coon kitten.

She has been home with me since that day, and what a joy it has been to watch her grow. She has been a great companion over the past six months, and it is just a treat to come home to her excitement and fun every afternoon. She's full of energy, and has some funny little quirks. If the sink is running anywhere in the house, she's in it. If the bathtub is draining, she's perched on the side of tub watching it. She plays in her water bowl. She plays in the fish bowl (but doesn't bother the fish). She "talks" about 95% of the hours that she is awake. If you aren't quite sure what I am talking about, check out a few YouTube videos and you'll understand.

Adopting sweet Lilly was one of the best decisions that I have made in years. She has brought so much to my life and my little home, and knowing that I can provide her with love and care each day is so rewarding. She's my companion. She's my friend. She loves me every day, no matter what. She is sitting on my pillow each and every morning to tell me the sun is up. Please, consider adopting your next pet. Knowing you made a difference is so worthwhile. And Lilly will thank you.

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Tallulah's Story

Pet's name: Tallulah
Adopted by: Andrew Vail
From: Toronto Humane Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Andrew's tribute to his cat Tallulah, who recently passed away, originally appeared on his blog, Unvailed

My cat died today. She was my companion for 16 years. She lived with me through some of the best moments of my life and some of the worst. Family came and went. Friends and came and went. Partners came and went; yet through it all, there she was, loyal, loving and at my side; purring, playing and napping—as cats do. She was my little furry touchstone as I went from one stage of my life to the next. When the dust settled it was she and me.

Her name was Tallulah (named for a lyric in a Tori Amos song, in case you were wondering). I adopted her from the Toronto Humane Society in 1996. She was a bit of an anomalous adoption because she was an adult and typically people go for the cute and cuddly kittens when on the prowl for a pet. I could say that I chose her, but anyone who has adopted an animal knows that they choose you.

I remember spending two days at the THS looking for just the right cat. It was mind-boggling as there are typically hundreds of cats and kittens looking for a home. Sadly, many won't find one. Tallulah happened to me on the second day of my search. She sidled up to the front of the cage and just locked eyes with me. She purred so loud I thought she could be heard over every other creature there. I'd never heard a purr so loud. Maybe it was just loud to me because she decided I was her new human.

And so began an odyssey between man and feline that would last over 16 years: There were plenty of funny—and bizarre—times like when she went on one of her morning sojourns around the apartment and at top speed, bouncing off walls and furniture—as cats do. This time she miscalculated the contents of my claw-toed bathtub and nose-dived into four feet of water. She launched back out like a guided missile and tore under the bed. Cowed for a cat, she glared at me with a mix of peevishness and humiliation as I laughed hysterically at her soaked self.

Then there was the time—not long after I brought her home from the THS—that she went into heat. I didn't realize that she'd gone "seasonal" as I hadn't had a cat since I was a wee child and didn't know the signs. I was soon to learn. I awoke from a deep sleep in the middle of one hot summer night to the demonic yowl of a voice calling my name, sort of. "Meeeaaannddrrooooo" was being caterwauled through the apartment. I sat up in bed, half awake, listening to this nocturnal sonata thinking to myself, "Wow, how cool, my cat can talk and she knows my name."

Tallulah used to love to climb on my back and stretch out from shoulder to shank while I lie on the floor watching TV. She had a sonorous purr that would make me fight to stay awake. Her purr was so soothing and familiar. In times of stress or strife, I'd pull her up on my chest and pet her as she purred, her vibrations giving me a sense of calm and peace. That was one of the incredible things about this little "hollow kitty" as she was called: she had a purr that could register on the Richter scale.

In the last year of her life, Tallulah became very tiny and frail. She struggled to eat and keep food down from time to time, but she was not to be taken by death just yet. When it seemed like she was about to give in, she would rally and show vestiges of the girl I knew for 16 years. Finally, she just couldn't win her battle against the inevitable; she was, after all, 19 years old.

As anyone who has lived with an animal companion knows, making the decision to euthanize him or her is incredibly heart wrenching. You don't know if you're doing it too soon or too late. You are racked with thoughts of "too soon," "am I making the right decision" and all of the other ambiguities that go along with the responsibility of ending another creature's life. As much as it broke my heart, I knew that Tallulah was ready. She was not enjoying her life, she was struggling. I did not want my friend to suffer. I had to hold her and send her on her way.

Here's to you, the feisty bundle of fur that brought so much laughter, comfort, and companionship to my life. Tallulah, I hope I gave you as much as you gave me.

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Baozi's Story

Pet's name: Baozi (包子)
Adopted by: Amandeep and Kimberly
From: San Francisco SPCA, San Francisco, Calif.

Amandeep, who blogs at 'Deep Trouble, sent this story of his new puppy Baozi (which means "little stuffed bun" in Mandarin) and shared her tale on his own blog, too.

Ever since I was a young boy, I've wanted a dog.* Growing up, my mom never allowed us to get one because she feared she'd be left to take care of it. In hindsight, I can understand, as my brother and I were plenty of work as it was.**

My entire childhood was thus spent longing for a dog and getting all the B-list pets I could get my mom to sign off on. A menagerie of parakeets, fish, hermit crabs, snakes, lizards, toads, and jumping spiders paraded through our home, but none filled the void. (Many of these hapless creatures were captured from the woods near my house.)

As soon as I moved out on my own, I thought about getting a dog, but with adulthood came a dawning realization of how much work that would entail. I knew I wasn't quite ready. But still the idea persisted. Every friend's dog that I baby-sat tested my resolve. Every girlfriend I had was measured up as a potential puppy-mamma. Every "sidewalk-adopt-a-pet" event I passed on the street was a crisis.

Eventually, I realized that having a dog was doable, but given the unusually active life I lead, it would be hard to get a puppy and give it the time it needed. I began strategizing. Perhaps an older dog would be the best choice for me given my lifestyle and my various time commitments. Maybe I could pay for a dog-walking service? Eventually, I decided that I should wait till I lived with a girlfriend to truly give this a go, just to have somebody to split the responsibility with.

Early on in my relationship with Kimberly, my current girlfriend, we discussed our mutual love for dogs, and agreed that if we were to ever get a dog, it would be from the pound or from one of the many rescues we know of. There are simply so many dogs that need good homes and so many health issues with purebreds, that we knew we wanted to get a mutt. In this vein, I also tried to convince her that we should get an older dog, since they might have a harder time getting adopted. She was sympathetic, but was dead set on the "puppy experience."

As our relationship deepened, we kept coming back to the dog idea, but mostly to tease the other person by playing puppy brinksmanship:  One of us would dare the other to go with them to the SPCA that very day, implying that the other person was the sole impediment to doggy-happiness. The other person would inevitably be stuck, reluctantly having to play the role of "responsible adult," since they were the only defense against making a change we actually weren't ready for.

Finally, earlier this year, we decided to get married (!), and in talking about eventually having kids, the subject of a dog came up as well. Kimberly signed us up for "Puppy Owner Orientation" at the SPCA, and a few weeks back, we went. The class was thoughtful and informative and we left sobered at the sense of how much of a change a puppy would be, and how much responsibility and complication it would add to our lives. We really treasure the way our lives work now and wondered if we should gamble with our happiness. We talked about it and let the idea sit on the back burner.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Peter's Story

Pet's name: Peter
Adopted by: J'Carlin
From: Humane Society Silicon Valley, Milpitas, Calif.

J'Carlin shares the story of Peter, a stray who now has a loving home.

The frightened pup in the first picture was the morning after his first night home. He had pulled the quilt down from the couch and buried himself in it. He had selected "his mama" at the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. The rest of us were looking at less challenging candidates for the first family dog when the announcement came that "We were looking at Peter." He was a fresh stray at HSSV with no real history there and was not recommended. Not that I had any choice, but I had raised other pups and felt I could deal with a stray.

It turned out that he had been well socialized and housebroken, prior to becoming a stray, but despite ads all over the neighborhood no one claimed him. My guess is that his happy home was foreclosed and the new apartment refused animals. Perhaps they hoped a neighbor would take him in, but it was not to be.

He quickly learned all the social commands and adopted as his job to warn us from the top of the stairs when frequent visitors approached the door. He also learned to stay there so as not to frighten them. The second picture is Peter on station with his faithful and much-mended shark that helps him keep watch.

Advertised as a young adult Chihuahua mix, he ended up growing to twice the size and lost all resemblance to a Chihuahua. A great addition to the household even though breed guesses are all over the map.  

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Benji's Story

Pet's name: Benji
Adopted by: Regan Landreth
From: SPCA of Texas, Dallas, Texas

Regan, who blogs at The Canary Diaries, sent this story of Benji, her Chihuahua/Dachshund mix. 

I was lucky enough to adopt Benji almost eight years ago. I was a college student with no idea of how being a dog owner could change your life for the better. I had grown up with several different pets, all of which were either rescued from shelters or wandered into our yard and stayed permanently.

Like many people who end up finding a fabulous pet, my then boyfriend (now husband) and I went into the SPCA to “look.” There were so very many dogs, as there are in so many shelters across the country. Benji’s cage was one of the first I went to. An owner who could no longer care for him surrendered him to the shelter. He had such sweet brown eyes and such a calm demeanor. I took him out of his cage and sat on the floor with him. He promptly curled up in my lap and looked up at me. I came to know this as his signature move later. He is a true lap dog. His name at the shelter was Barney, but he was already so serious looking that we wanted to give him a name that had a bit more spunk. I think even then we knew he had more to his personality than he let on.

At first, Benji was very timid. He would bark at everyone, and as he is a Chihuahua and Dachshund mix, he was very territorial of me. But gradually, as he got more accustomed to life with us, he became a little less serious and a little more joyful. He would carefully approach people and lean in for a pat on the head, endearing himself to pretty much anyone he met. Benji loves going for walks, wearing sweaters, snuggling, and playing fetch. He now has a brother and a sister and is a wonderful role model for both of them.

He is the greatest companion, the sweetest dog, and the truest friend. He has taught me responsibility, selflessness, and unconditional love. I say this a lot and my friends laugh, but it’s true, he is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

If you adopted a pet from a shelter or rescue group and you'd like to share his or her story, please email me. I'd love to hear from you!