Contrary to popular opinion, dogs don’t really think we humans are the greatest thing since sliced bread or kibble pie. It’s not that dogs lie to us, exactly; it’s just that, for some lovely reason, they like to make us happy.
And if that means implying, from time-to-time, that we’re funnier, prettier, wiser, and toss a better tennis ball than anyone else – they’re not above a fib or two.
As for cats, well, cats get a bad rap – you know, their reputation for aloofness and silent superiority. There's a cat from down the street who visits me now and then, and she talks endlessly. I pour out the food in exchange for some sparkling conversation. Sometimes we hang out and dish about the neighbors.
And if that’s not reason enough to adopt a dog or cat, read on:
Mum named her Lucy (as in “I Love...”.) A gorgeous fluffy stray calico who climbed out of the stormwater drain and into our hearts; a prima donna with a beauty spot who could make a vet cower at ten paces then melt them with a purr. Deeply loved. Forever missed.
--Shell Sherree, Australia
Almost every animal that has been a long lasting part of my life has been a rescue of some sort or the other.
Some have been pups or kittens that we've gotten from folks who were looking for a home for them, some have been animals that we picked up at the pound, and one was in a "foster care" arrangement, that became a permanent relationship. Here are my stories:
Llorona: On Palm Sunday James, Kate, and I came home and heard the most pitiful meows, We looked around to try and find where the howls were coming from. James reached under a car and brought out a scrawny, oily, stinky kitten. She didn't much appreciate being "rescued", but we did so anyway. And James being the good soul that he is gave her a bath. It took her a long time to grow into her looks. She was always small and never grew into her mew.
Boots: One summer while walking around the block, Matthew and I noticed we were being followed by a cat. Matthew gave me one of those "please, can it come home with us" looks. I answered with a very clear voiced "Don't even think about that as a possibility". At the time we had a couple of dogs, a cat, a teenager, an elementary aged kid, and two septuagenerian grandparents. Well, he must have thought something about having the cat in our house, because as we walked in, so did she. We gently tossed her out the door, in she came. We tossed her out again - just as gently as the first time. We closed the window. Later we went out to do something or the other, and she came in again. Eventually we gave up.
Leia: We were without a dog. That is a most unnatural state for us. We went to the pound to find a puppy. James and I instantly developed a crush on Leia. We put in our request, waited, were called, and then all of us - as was required- went to the pound on the day she was going to be available in order to be sure we could bring her home.
Larry : Our daughter Kate, her husband and their daughter had decided that they were going to explore the United States in an RV. Problem: They had two cats and a dog. Solution: Dog stayed with his parents; cats lived with us. Challenge: We bonded with Larry. Outcome: Larry has lived with us for 4 years. Larry spends hours with Leia the dog, so now he’s bicultural.
--Roberta H Martínez, Pasadena
Meet Eddy and Sid, both rescues and now best friends. We are as thankful for them, as they are for us!
–Alexandra, Los Angeles
I’d forgotten how much I loved having a dog around until I saw how much Karin loved Phoebe. It only took a few days for me to find Peanut at the Inland Valley Humane Society. She was huddled in the back of a cage, sad and dirty, but when the attendant picked her up and put the leash on her, her tail went up and she trotted to the reception room on her stubby little legs, looking ready for anything. I barely noticed the feet surrounding us as I stroked her, and when she looked into my eyes, I knew I’d found my dog.
There’s a courage that comes with loving a pet, because we know that most likely we’ll be the ones who decide when their time has come. It’s amazing to me that we’re willing to do that, often multiple times. I would like to honor not only the great companions whose time came this year, including Phoebe and Sassy the cat, but also the owners who loved them enough to let them go.
--Janet Aird, Altadena
When you adopt a shelter pet or rescued animal, you get more than just a loyal and loving companion. You get a buzz of feel-good factor every time you look at them. When I cuddle Teddy my cat, I think about how ill he was at the shelter, how he was on his last day there, and how a little tlc and vet care made him the mellow fellow he is today. All my life, I've had the company of rescued animals (my mother started it), and have known nothing but loyalty and devotion. If you've room for a companion, there are many in the shelters just hoping you'll choose them. And if you can't bear to see all those hopeful faces because you can only choose one, try the Pets section of Craig's list LA. This is where owners who can no longer keep their pets try to rehome them rather than giving them up to a shelter. It's where I found my dog, Abby. On the other hand, the Pasadena Humane Society shelter is so nice that I used to visit it regularly when I was between dogs and missing them. And they let you feed them treats.
--Barbara Ellis, Pasadena
It was love at first sight. Then disaster and argument. Next came reconciliation. Finally, love everlasting.
Finding lost and abandoned animals a home -- I think of the little black kitty on a busy street corner that grew into a gorgeous, loving, long haired black cat, or the feral kitten left by its mother when the fireman cameto remove them from the office duct work and now sleeps tucked under my arm at night.
And I think of the kitten with the big ears and big feet that the neighbor found when she was walking her beagle and my husband said “He’s not ours but we’ll take him” after she had gone door to door to find his home and only had one more house to go and who is now the MOST handsome and MOST loving Maine Coon cat ever.
If not these, then maybe the small, little cat in a cage in the reception area of a large VCA facility as we were picking up cat food with a sign that she needed a home after being rescued from a feral colony, treated there and then served as a blood donorfor ill cats. I only had to touch her and she purred up a storm - she now occupies the bed at night as well..
If not these, then surely it’s the black and white dog, something of a Dalmatian and Jack Russell terrier combination, with the perpetually wagging tail who was “visiting” with the residents at the front entrance of my Mother’s senior residence in Pasadena but belonged to no one and when there were no responses to the “Found Dog” ads in the paper, she said “But I’ve found a home - I like it here” and so “here” is where she is today, ten years later.
--Judy Dunn, Brentwood
Flora was rescued by my daughter Sofia at the campus of the University where she studied Ecology, in Rio Claro City, São Paulo State, Brazil. Flora's mother was a stray and abandoned dog.Flora lived a long life – almost 14 years.
My dearest and precious friend Flora! I am grateful for having had you in my life. You always gave to me much love and happiness. Thank you so much! Love you and missing you forever!"
--Sonia A. Mascaro, Brazil