My mom found Scamper during the summer of 2007 when he was only a few weeks old. He and his siblings were hanging around a bush by the side of a road. He was the only gray kitten in the litter, and he was also the only one who begged for my mom’s attention. So she brought him to our house that we were actually in the process of moving out of at that point. He immediately made himself at home, exploring, sleeping, and getting to know all of us. He was such a cute, scrawny little kitten, and he definitely knew how to play. He also knew how to make himself comfortable. One of the first things I noticed about him was that he liked to stretch out and even lay on his back while he slept, which I had never seen a cat do before. He was obviously very comfortable in his new home and we liked him a lot, so we decided to keep him. Despite our already having a very dominating, territorial female cat who had scared off all other cats who entered her domain, Scamper decided to stay. He didn’t get scared off. Not ever. We brought him with us to our new duplex that we moved into, and we’ve had him ever since. Of our two cats, he is definitely the house cat. The other one stays outside for the most part. Scamper prefers to sleep most of the time, either on my bed, my MOM’S bed, or the couch. But he also loves to play still. He also loves attention, as is evident by his frequent meowing at me to get it. He is definitely not scrawny anymore, he has a pretty good belly on him. But he’s definitely not fat. He’s just a healthy house cat. Scamper and I have become very good friends since the day my mom brought him to our old duplex. In my humble opinion, he is the greatest cat who ever lived. And he is definitely the greatest furry friend I have ever had 🙂

Lexi Smith
Chico, CA
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Bo the stolen cat

Bo was the neighbors cat. He was named Bo since he walks bow legged. He wasn’t being taken care of. He was skinny and sometimes he would have injuries. At Thanksgiving in 2008, he came to my house limping. He couldn’t step on his front foot. I took him to the vet. He had a bite which got infected. I had him treated and took him home. I was concerned he wouldn’t be taken care of. I talked to his owners. They thought that I had adopted him. They moved and I got Bo. My husband jokes that I stole him. My story is that he stole my heart so I stole him. He appreciates us so much. He likes to be with us. If we watch TV, he sits on the couch with us. He does like sitting on the laptop. I guess it is warm. He knows he is loved and he is one happy cat now. I can save all the animals but I’m glad I got to save my Bo.

Mary
North Salt Lake, UT
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Mecca the Rescued German Shepherd

Mecca is named for the place she was discovered, the Mecca Hills of Palm Springs, CA in late April, 2013. She’s believed to have been abandoned there to die. The kind people that found her knew they couldn’t take her in, but didn’t want to drop her at a shelter either. I spotted a listing for her online one day and my heart went out to the poor girl. I decided to take her in and try to find a rescue for her. Shortly after changing hands, the one year old Mecca weighed in at 60lbs. She was scared, bony, dehydrated, and showed signs of past injury. She’s had xrays, shots, and bloodwork done all in one scary day. Her first few days were frightening for us all, not knowing what could be wrong with her. But her xrays and bloodwork came back clear and she grows stronger every day! After weighing our options, we decided to keep her. I was planning on adopting a rescued dog after my move to Milwaukee in August 2013. I had no place for her in my home in California. But with a lot of help, she was able to be boarded and I can take her out daily for any length of time. She begins her obedience training in two weeks and in three months, she’ll be road tripping from California to Wisconsin where we’ll get the new beginning we both hoped for. The last few years have been hard on me, but just one week with Mecca has made me the happiest I’ve been in such a long time. I’m so thankful this beautiful dog came into my life. ❤

Annicka
Brea, CA
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The Long and Sordid Tale of Greta the Great

Greta was intended as a breeding bitch in an effort breed extra-large pit bulls by crossing them with Saint Bernards. During her second heat, she escaped from her owner and came to my farm. We all knew what she was and most people were afraid of her because of her size and lineage. She was hungry, wormy, flea-ridden and didn’t know even basic commands, having been kenneled her whole life. I didn’t want to return her, but knew I couldn’t legally keep her.

I thought about surrendering her to the shelter as a “stray”, fully knowing her louse owner wouldn’t pay to reclaim her. I was counseled against that. Given her breeding, any questionable move during evaluation could send her to EU. I didn’t want to support the puppy mill by purchasing her. I didn’t know what to do. I just couldn’t take her back. Long story short, she is huge and eats a lot, and her owner is “frugal”. He knew where she was and knew I was feeding her. He waited six weeks and when he could see she plainly wasn’t pregnant, he deemed her useless and ceded her to me.

Now we have Greta. She is kind of a lunkhead but is so eager to please and has learned most everything I’ve tried teaching her. We have a Basset and a collie cross and all visiting children are directed to play with the big dog as she is gentle and has a ridiculous amount of patience with them. She picked out her own cat from our six gingers and believes that his name is “your cat”. Her greatest accomplishment, however, has been changing the hearts of the people around her. Fear has been replaced by love, making her a true ambassador for her breed.

Shannon
Cashton, WI
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Meet Carson

My wife and I live in Milwaukee. In August of 2012, we were visiting my family on Sand Mountain in Alabama. I was driving, about to go off the mountain, and suddenly I noticed this white pit bull right in the middle of my lane. Thanks goodness there were no cars coming as I swerved to avoid it.

We went back and she hurried away from us toward the trees. We have three dogs ourselves, two pit bulls and one beagle mix, so we always keep dog treats and water in the car, as well as dog bowls, so we tried to coax this starving little girl close enough to catch.

It took three hours but she finally let me walk up to her as she was eating. She was still very young and had no aggressive tendencies at all, so I was able to lift her up and put her in the car. We took her to the vet and got her shots and medicine. The pictures are of her as we were first feeding her, and then as we got her to the vet. You can see how skinny and frightened she was.

Then the hard part. As we always travel with our dogs, we had no room to bring this beautiful little girl back with us, much less know how she’d react to a 12-hour drive with a stop-over at a hotel room. So we began trying to find a home for her in Alabama, and we were successful. And old friend who has an eight-year-old boy and a Blue Healer puppy took her in and she immediately bonded with everyone.

We named her Carson and she’s a happy, healthy girl now.

Neal Wooten
Milwaukee, WI
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Milwaukee, WI

Hootie

I can’t take full credit on this one. A wonderful woman named Maureen rescued my Hootie at 3 weeks old. She was down south visiting her sister and the neighbors were on their way to the pound with my little guy. Their purebred collie had gotten knocked up by a great pyrenees, then dried up after the pups were born, and this was the sole survivor. Afraid he’d get parvo at the southern pound (or worse) Maureen took him back home to New Hampshire where she had another pup and several large Coon cats. Apparently taking in strays and finding homes for them was a hobby. How cool is that!? Maureen let me take Hootie at 7 weeks for the cost of his vet bills. He was barely 9 pounds but has maxed out at 100 pounds of fluffy love. He guards my chickens, sleeps with my cats and lets my collie be in charge even though he’s 12 years old and 30 pounds lighter. Hootie loves people, and especially kids, and has a regular cookie route through town.

Hootie slowly developed unpredictable aggression problems with some new dogs and a few local dogs. It took us a while to figure out, but we think its because he missed out on weeks 3-8 with mom and siblings. He was literally missing key skills in how to meet and greet another dog. He compensated by trying to scare them away. Now, through clicker training and positive reinforcement, he’s learning to relax and even make some fun new friends. And each time he looks to me instead of lunging in anger my heart melts because I know he is happier. He is my best friend and has taught me the value of patience, and trust and confidence when it matters the most. But most of all with Hootie, I have learned that oftentimes friendship is hard work, but its good work, and every dog deserves the chance to be a best friend. He sure is mine.

Donna
MONHEGAN, ME
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My Beautiful, Regal Queenie

My mom has always had a big heart for animals in need. One day, a lady came into the boutique where she works and said her family was struggling financially and they were trying to find some pets a good home.

Blueberry (as she was then called) was a cat with a lot of pain in her background. She had been an outdoor cat, but had been attacked by a coyote and had undergone extensive surgery. She’d survived, but had become a recluse. She would not associate with other animals, even other cats, and stayed in one room of the house where they kept her food and litter.

Mom agreed to take Blueberry and brought her to our house where she, upon seeing our lab/retriever mix (who wouldn’t harm a fly), bolted under the bed in my parents’ room. When I came home from work that night, it took some coaxing (and food bribes), but she finally came out from under the bed and laid in my lap, letting me pet her. Though cats have never really taken to me, Blueberry bonded with me and we’ve been close ever since. It’s apparent to anyone who visits that she’s definitely “my” cat (or I’m “her” human – one of the two, haha).

Fast forward a couple of years and my lovable purr-machine has completely come out of her shell. She and the dog even coexist nicely. She (eventually) comes out when we have company and will even perch in someone’s lap, depending on the person. It’s clear that she thinks she owns the place, so I renamed her Queenie – it just fits perfectly with how she carries herself and the personality that she has. She is regal and not afraid to let you know that she wants attention NOW! Several times when I’ve been at the computer for awhile, she will jump onto the desk and lay in front of the keyboard as if to say, “Excuse me, but did you not notice I was here?”

She’s sassy, she’s loving, and she’s my baby. I’m SO glad we adopted her!

Tina
Lilington, NC
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Princess Phoebe

2

My mother’s dog Cody had passed away from old age and medical problems, and our family was devastated. We wanted to wait until our hearts had healed a bit before adopting another dog, yet I began browsing Petfinder.com just in case (the same site we found our beloved Cody). I came across a beautiful young yellow labrador retriever named Heather (at the time). The site listed her at 3 months of age and showed pictures of a young, sad and sleepy-looking puppy in a crate. I began to read her story. “Heather” was rescued after being hit by a car in the middle of a street in Indianapolis, Indiana. She had a rope tied around her neck (Poor baby!) and had been running loose prior to being hit. The individual that rescued her ended up making calls, and the poor pup was placed in a rescue organization called Luv A Dog, who then began rehabilitating her. I showed my mother her picture, and she too fell in love. We called Luv A Dog the following day to set up a time to come visit. The poor thing was limping over to us as we walked into her foster’s home! She was the sweetest and most playful puppy, despite her predicament. Not to mention she was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! We decided that we had to have her, but we learned that there were several other applicants for her, waiting for a decision to be made. Her foster mother could see that “Heather” was meant to be with us though ; ), so we brought her home that evening. We renamed her Phoebe, because she is absolutely goofy like Phoebe from Friends! She has been such an amazing addition to our family. She is spoiled rotten, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! : )

Meg
Richmond, IN
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Richmond, IN

Chica, abandoned Mexican dog (now sister to Eloise, Mexican street dog)

Chica came from Amigos de las Animales in Mazatlan where I was volunteering one winter (2007). I knew I would be bringing one of the dogs back to the States in the spring, but until she came in, I didn’t know which one. One look and I knew she was it.

She was dumped there by her owner (which, as I think of it, was at least decent of him considering some of the other options). She was terrified of everything and bullied by the other dogs. The director of the shelter figured she had either been in a cage or locked up somewhere the entire six months of her life. It took weeks of going into her cage every day to get her past her fear of me. She went from trying to run away (not easy in a small pen) and peeing all over herself, to wagging her tail while she was peeing herself (and me in the process), before I thought I could take her out on a leash for small, scary experiences in the big world. If she’d ever gotten away from me, I never would have seen her again.

I finally brought her back to my boat where she immediately felt safe and at home. The photo on the left is her in her kennel when she was still afraid of me and my camera. The one on the right is a happy dog who has discovered she is in a good place with love and security. Those pictures were about three weeks apart. She remained spooky and easily frightened for many months, but little by little she has grown into her surroundings and loves people (when she gets to know them anyway). She’s happy and races around like a crazy girl when she’s excited.

She, like Eloise, is now with my friends in Washington. We all spend a lot of time together as I am down there several months every year. I’m still traveling a lot, so it works out very well, and my friends are awesome doggy parents.

Lynne Stevens
Juneau, AK
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Delilah – The Divine Miss D

Delilah was a small emaciated and sickly cat that appeared out of nowhere and started hanging around with the feral cats I care for. She seemed aggressive, but only when I fed her. One day I noticed her sitting in the laps of the neighborhood children. We all wondered where she came from, because she clearly wasn’t feral. Then we trapped her during a TNR program for our neighborhood, but she was immediately returned to me because she was too weak to undergo surgery. At just 3 lbs, she was quite sick, and I feared the worst. However, she tested negative for FIV and leukemia, and I decided to try to nurse her back to health indoors, then find a home for her. Then her true colors emerged…she is sweet beyond sweet, a hugger, loves to be carried around, and purrs like a motorcycle. The vet says she’s mostly toothless and pushing 20 years old! Now at 4 ½ lbs and hopefully still gaining, and despite several chronic conditions we are treating, she’s happy and loved, and has become the fourth unexpected member of my feline family. Delilah, the Divine Miss D, will spend the rest of her days indoors enjoying how ever many lives she has left!

Katie Doyle
Nashville, TN
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My Guardian Jake

1

Jake was at a farm protecting goats for a friend of ours when I first saw him and thought he was just a gorgeous Great Pyrenees puppy. A month later when we were there, he was no longer with the goats, but in a pen with another dog and his beautiful white fur was orange from the red clay dirt in the pen. I was told he did not like the goats anymore and the farmer really had no use for him either, so I offered to take him. At 10 months old he had no name and zero manners. We named him Jake, gave him a bath, and taught him everything he needed to know about being an inside dog. Today, at 4 years old, he is most loving 120 lb dog. He no longer counter surfs, and would rather protect humans than goats.

Fran
Lucama, NC
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Pricillia:

3

While picking up cat food at Petmart they had the Humain Society there with pets that needed a new home.

Pricillia came from a home in Bremerton that was a horder 90 cats were picked up and she was one of them. They

spade her, micro chipped, and doctored her for a cold. She was skinny, full grown, and thin hair. She is a long haired tabby.

So shy for the longest time but hungry all the time. Now she is a little butter ball and breets around the house when she is happy and crys when she feels abandoned. My two toms are finally used to her and she will let us pick her up now and then for a little cuddling. So glad I rescued her:)♥

She finally looks beautiful and healthy. Still shy but such a sweet kitty:)♥

Christina Lucas
Bremerton, WA
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Xavi and Nena

1

Xavi was a puppy when we rescued him from a shelter in 2010, infested with fleas, he was abandoned in the snow with his brothers and sister who were already adopted. He has been with us for over three years. We moved to Tunisia, North Africa in 2011 and my husband and I brought him with us. He enjoyed the Mediterranean Sea and he goes wherever we go. After we came back to the USA, we wanted d to have another rescued dog to give Xavi some company and save another life. Nena (white and brown in the pic) was in the shelter for her third time. The guys at the pound even said “we hope this is her forever home” when I asked why, they gave me her documents … it was so sad. She had been pregnant, neglected, someone tried to tattoo her belly, she even lost some teeth due to a malnutrition. She was scared to even look at us, she ate with fear as if it wasn’t “OK” to eat, she was scared of men mostly. Now, it’s a sweet little 4 year dog who eats for two LOL has gained 8 pounds and is healthy, spoiled, and happy. She loves car rides, run with her brother, but above all, she loves to cuddle with us. I love my rescued dogs!!!

Angela
Charlotte, NC
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Riley

4

About 18 months ago, I adopted Riley, a 5-pound Maltese, from a rescue shelter in South Florida. He was four years old, but had no birthday and no real information about where he came from. All I know is that he was neglected. I was going through a really hard time when I adopted him, and I have to say that Riley was truly a gift. He was very scared when I first brought him home. He wouldn’t look anyone in the eye and would be constantly shaking. Now, he is a completely different dog. He is energetic, lively, playful, and happy. He has become my baby and my best friend. I do not know what I would do without him.

Ashley
Delray Beach, FL
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Edna Jean

95

In September 2012 my boyfriend and I were on our way through a tiny town and just happened to stop at a gas station. As we pull in I notice cars going around a black dog eating trash off the ground. No one even bothered to stop and help her. 😦 my boyfriend and I got out and approached her. She was very scared and had the most pitiful eyes. He said to me “Well, what do you want to do?”, even though he already knew. She was skinny, scared, tail tucked, head down, hairless along her back and back legs, infested with fleas, and smelled so bad. She was afraid of us and our leash (which I keep a spare in my glovebox) so we bought a lunchable at the gas station and threw her pieces to get her close to us. Long story short, we got her in the car. We took her in to the vet and got her all fixed up! We got her vaccinated, heartworm test, fecal test, DNA test (she’s a German Shepherd/ Finnish Spitz mix), allergy test (she’s allergic to dust mites and mugwort), every test we could think of! Poor girl had a rough day but she did very well. She has food allergies and is on a special food, is on immunotherapy injections for her allergies, she has arthritis in her knees so she takes joint supplements and medication. She has a full thick haircoat and is a beautiful girl! It has been 7 months and she loves life! She goes camping with us and loves to play in creeks and go places. She is the best, sweetest dog! So loving and just seems so thankful. When she gets her picture taken she smiles and every time she smiles it makes me so happy! We just got back from camping this past weekend, she went to the beach for the first time and got to play in the water. Love this girl so much!!! So glad we made the decision to stop at that gas station that day.

Kali Baugh
Anderson, IN
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Eloise, Mexican Street Dog

34

I was cruising on my sailboat in Mexico when I first saw her sitting in the street In La Cruz. She was gazing at us in a restaurant, hoping someone would toss her some scraps. I couldn’t resist that sad little girl and went out to her several times. She was afraid at first but got over that quickly. She started waiting for me to come ashore every day in my dinghy. I bought dog food for her. She had mange, fleas, ticks, infected eyes, huge bald spots on her skin that were so sunburned, they were raw. I slathered 50 spf on her every day while she was eating. A friend helped me give her mange & flea baths.

I bought a small kennel, and the same friend helped me get her in it. She got her shots, and I brought her on board “temporarily” so I could try and find her a home. No luck. My friends laughed at me, because she was obviously meant to be mine.

She stopped eating and got sick. Back to the vet to learn she had ehrlichia. Antibiotics and prednisone took care of that. Then soon after, I noticed her fat tummy with very prominent little pink nipples that I hadn’t noticed before. Ultimately we had eight adorable puppies on board my boat for 12 weeks…they all got homes except two runts who didn’t make it. I cried over those babies.

I brought her back to the States. I was still traveling a lot, so my go-to doggy co-parents kept her. We shared, but finally they said they were too miserable whenever I took her away. We worked out a deal. They are brother and sister to me now, and I go hang out with Eloise and them and one more rescue I brought back later on whenever I’m in Washington. (I spend a lot of time there these days.) Eloise is happy and loved and has the best life in the world. Spoiled rotten, and that’s just great!

Maybe I’ll send you Chica’s story later (rescue #2).

Lynne Stevens
Juneau, AK
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RESCUED A CAT AND SHE HAS BEEN A BLESSING TO US ALL

My children rescued a CAT That came to our home for food they begin feeding her and named her Bella. After a few weeks we found out she was expecting a litter. As the weeks went passed she had her l itter of cats she had 5 beautiful kittens. Two days after she had her kittens my dos whom i had for 1 yr had puppies and i did not know she was pregnant to make a long stories short my dog neglect feeding the puppies so my cat Bell took over. She has been a mother to 8, 5 KITTENS AND 3 PUPPIES. It is a beautiful thing to see her being a mother to them all.

sherrell brown
los angeles, CA
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Billy gets a home

2

About a year or so ago I began thinking of finding another dog to add to my furred/feathered family. I looked around online for several days before I came across Billy’s picture. His little face seemed so confused and frightened, and my heart went out to him. Billy had been sold like so much farm equipment with the property when his first owners left. His second owners ignored him completely and eventually they too put the farm on the market, left the state, and abandoned Billy along with a flock of chickens.

When the shelter brought him in he was filthy, starving and desperate for company; so desperate that rather than eat the chickens he was left with, he slept near them for company. The shelter said he was a boarder collie mix, about five, but he had never had a bath, been inside or even been through a door, never ridden in a car or worn a collar or leash. Bill had a scar about two inches wide and ten inches long from his spine around towards his belly, possibly a burn. The vet at the shelter doubted they had even taken him to the vet for the wound. When I first laid eyes on him he just looked silently into my eyes and put his paw on my knee. I knew this was my dog.

I expected to have my work cut out to house break him, but it took less than a day; he is a bright boy. I bathed him and discovered that he was shiny black and not fuzzy brown; but mostly what he needed to be held and talked to. Many hugs later he is a gentle charmer, a beautiful dog, who loves to travel, loves people and all other animals. He looks at the world with a wise little face and smiles. I made a very good decision to let you into my life, Billy.

Lisa Walker
Galesburg, IL
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Never Give Up

2

Lilly was only 6 weeks old when she lost the use of her hind legs suddenly. The vet still to this day doesn’t know why she suddenly lost the ability to use them, however they suspect a brown recluse bite. We took her to the vet immediately, they started her on antibiotics, vitamins, and fluids. She was at the vet for over a week and I visited her every day after work. She was so happy to see me, she would pull up on my shoulder and perch there like a bird and just purr so loud with joy to be held rubbing her little tiny head against mine. Her desire to be loved was so strong it made me strong for her. She had to be cleaned after going to the bathroom because she couldn’t hold herself up to go and she was not so fond of this but she would let me do it anyway. After about 2 weeks of treatments the vet didn’t have any other ideas of how to help her and recommended euthanasia but I just couldn’t give up on this tiny sweet loving baby. So I brought her home and we did kitty rehab every day. Her back right leg did have to eventually partially amputated because it began rotting at the joint from what they believe was poison from a spider bite. The healing process was long and difficult for her but she eventually regained the ability to use her hind legs and learned how to maneuver with her nub. Now she runs jumps and plays with the other cats like nothing ever happened to her. She is a remarkable example of what love and persistence can do for an animal that has the will power to keep going if they have the love of a human behind them. NEVER GIVE UP on an animal that has will power and love to give.

stacy
lexington, NC
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Monster Man Rescue

2

On May 11, 2012, my husband and I drove 12 hours round-trip to pick up a young Havanese who had been dropped off at a veterinarian two months earlier. Reportedly a stray, the vet was sure someone would claim the little guy but no one did. Lido Monster, named Mop at the time, only wanted to be loved, learn to play and trust. He has a genetic knee issue and his spine was broken sometime in the first 4 months of his life. None of this has dampened his spirit. He quickly adapted to his home by the Pacific Ocean, car rides and beach runs. He loves obedience and agility training. Next Thursday, we will earn our certification as a Therapy Team and begin our work in pediatric oncology wards. Monster, yes, that is his name, is our blessing from God.

Carolyn Bivens
Newport Beach, CA
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My rescue “Bear”

On a cold winter day while taking my daughter to school, I found my little 3 month old care “Bear”. After making several calls and contacting animal control office(s), it was apparent that this little guy was abandoned. Bear is now over 6 months of age and thriving. I have to report that our other dog, a 13 pound min pin, was not too happy at first to share his attention, but he has warmed up to the idea of having a brother. I and my family absolutely adore Bear, he is great at agility, he will go down slides, jump over makeshift fences and even play tug of war with “Sucre”, our chocolate/tan min pin. My daughter calls Bear and Sucre her brothers, as she is an only child. I cannot imagine our lives without these two animal souls, they have brought joy, laughter and love to our home/family. I don’t feel that I rescued my little care bear, I feel like he rescued me, because he has taught me patience and what is truly important in life.

vera
Downsview, AB, Canada