Submitted by Marissa – edited by Alpha Caldas:
“Our first rescue was a pet-shop dog (I was very little and didn’t know about shelters then). He was a 6 month old Shih-Tzu that had been discounted in price because he was too big for his tiny plexiglass cage. His hair was messy, matted, dirty, and his nails were curling under. He also had extra teeth. Knowing what I know now, I would have reported them, but at that age saving him was my only goal. The poor thing had never been out of his cage, so it took him a few days to learn how use his legs. He was an amazing dog; we had him until he got lung disease at age 12. His name – Gizmo.
Dog #2 – I found him in the classifieds of the newspaper. I was looking for a chihuahua for my father – we had searched the Humane Societies locally and none of the rescues had one. We got put on a waiting list at 2 Humane Societies, never got a call; we found out they had several dogs and puppies from a puppy mill raid. Disillusioned and rightfully angry, I called about a puppy in a classified add and when they brought the poor thing to us, he had been raised on a farm and they were feeding him Fleet Farm beef in cans! Paquito is now a member of the family and currently undergoing chemo for cancer.
Dog #3 – Petfinder. After Gizmo passed, we decided to get another dog for my grandma and Paquito. She’d always wanted to get more beagles, so we visited many Humane Societies, all hours away, and some of the workers were very discouraged that we had cats. A dog that we filled out an application on, and who we were just about to go see hours away, was adopted and we started over again. Finally, we saw a photo of a beagle (Dwight) in Indiana — he was sad-eyed and skinny. He had squinted eyes, but at the time, I thought he might haven been squinting from the sun. He was 25 lbs, and we arranged to adopt him through a pet transport. When we met him, he was 35 lbs, not a beagle’s size, and overall clearly not a beagle. The squinty eyes weren’t because of the sun – he was a treeing walker coonhound – coonhounds are colored similar to beagles – mixed with a foxhound. They offered to take him back, but he was already in a crate for 8 hours — we adopted him on the spot and took him home, where he immediately became best friends with Paquito. We don’t know what happened to him in his other life as a stray, but he was likely mistreated because he was very scared of everything and everyone and flinched constantly. His teeth were jagged little wedges and his feet were cracked. After a few months, he barked for the first time and played with his first toy – a sock he hid on his bed, and became the spoiled dog we know as Dwy. But then the shelter called us to tell us that his heartworm was a false negative, simply because of the last director that worked there -he quit and neglected to pass any information along. They again offered to take him back; they offered to pick him up, treat him if he survived, and return him, but we didn’t want to put him through that. He survived and we love him.
Cat #1 – MAX. The first cat I got was a kitten -he is now 17.5, so it was a long time ago when we saw him in a pet-store. Again, I was too young to know better, and we didn’t know about shelters. He was this tiny orange kitten in a cage with these huge Maine Coon kittens and they picked on him and stole his toys. He sat in a little corner clutching a rattle toy. I decided he needed saving and we bought him for $24.99 the next day. He is the most loving, gentle boy and means the world to me.
Cat #2 – Wahlie. About 6 years after we got Max, we saw a rescue cat being shown in a pet-store. She was a beautiful “maverick” (which means we have no idea what to call her) tabby/Siamese mix and 1.5 years. Max seemed a little lonely and was always throwing up, so we called the rescue, set up a home visit, and adopted her the next day. She has feline anxiety disorder, caused when her first family moved into an apartment and “had” to get rid of her. For years she chewed her fur, got puffy lips, and needed shots and antibiotics. She’s pretty happy now and we changed her name from Callie to Wahlie.
Cat #3 – Mala. I got Mala when I was 16. We already had a dog and two cats. She was a ragdoll kitten that a friends family owned and planned to breed. They ran a daycare in their home and poor Mala had been chased and picked up by her head enough to make her feral. We were only supposed to keep her a few months until her family settled in another state. We got no money, just a litter box, and as the months passed and this poor feral cat lived in my closet hissing at everyone, she went into heat -I called the Humane Society and explained the situation. They said if we hadn’t heard from them in the agreed time, we could take her to the vet, have her spayed, and if they wanted her back they would have to reimburse us. That solved the problem of her being a kitten farm and we never did hear anything. She’s friendlier now, but will range from purring to attacking randomly – so it looks like she’s ours forever.
Cats #4 & #5 – Two years later, someone related in the family had two kittens from Texas that they spontaneously bought from a farm. The cats were living in a car, and again we agreed to baby-sit them a few months. Long story short, they decided they didn’t want the cats because they were allergic. The Humane Society failed us again by saying that we’d have to pay a surrender fee, but they couldn’t guarantee that the kittens would pass the temperament test and not be put down. I didn’t think the female would pass – she’s feisty – and at the time they were inseparable. We decided to foster them until we could find a great home for them. Fast-forward months later, after the kittens were fixed – the female, Traviesa, decided that she hated all other cats on the planet. Eight years later, the male, Mr. Tigger, was adopted by his human soul mate, my boyfriend. Travi has gotten worse and sprays the house, gets into fights, etc. We’re waiting for our vet to adopt her but she has a feline leukemia right now…
Foster cat #4, rescue cat #1 – I found Alex, a tiny brown tabby kitten in a dangerous neighborhood, wandering around and hungry. I brought her home, quarantined her and looked for someone to adopt her. My mother’s co-worker saw her picture and fell in love with her. A few days later, she was in a new home with a new sister and very spoiled.
Foster cat #5, rescue cat #2 – I found Serafina in the same neighborhood, but had to chase her down. She was gray and white and not as young as Alex. I took her home, quarantined her, and started looking for a home. When I couldn’t find one after a week or two, and the kitten needed more attention and more room, my vet recommended a local shelter and they agreed to take her. I was so grateful I volunteered to help once a week. Serafina was adopted and I spent time socializing feral kittens.
Foster cat #6 – Fiona was a tiny orange ball of anger that came in with her brother and sister. They were adopted and Fiona, who hissed at anyone who came close to her, did not. I worked with her for 45 minutes every week and still she was unfriendly. One day I reached my limit and said that if she hissed at me one more time, I was taking her home to foster her. When she hissed, I had no choice. After a week quarantined off even though she had her shots, she got lonely and whiny. She’d wail for hours, so I let her out of her room. I took her to a friend’s house so she could get used to people, and that friend decided to adopt her for the fact that she got along great with her lonely boy kitty, although she had to wait to move out because her roommate was allergic. When she moved out, she wanted her to get spayed first. She was on the waiting list and finally got put on to get spayed and this friend said that even after signing the adoption application and waiting months, she didn’t have the adoption fee money and had changed her mind.
To be continued…”