Sometimes pets come into our lives when we least expect them to. Sharon O’Connell shared the following story about rescuing two of her four special kitties, Dymphna and Pepper, when both were in desperate need of a safe and loving home.
On a summer Saturday three years ago, I went to drop off my recycling and garbage when a little furry kitty ran past me. I had never seen this kitty before, and the attendant said someone must have dropped her off the previous night. I tried to go up to her, but she kept running back and forth from recycling bin to bin. Frantic that I could not take her home with a busy day ahead, I vowed to come back.
That Monday after work, I put some tasty tuna fish in a cat carrier, waited for her to go in and eat, and then rushed her to the vet. After they took blood tests, they came back to tell me she was disease-free and in much need of fattening up. When I arrived home, I knew what I wanted to name her—Dymphna, after the princess Saint Dymphna of Ireland, because of her calmness and kindness. To this day, Dymphna is the sweetest kitty, constantly seeking love and attention from us and the other kitties. She is my littlest angel. She is kindest cat I have ever met in my life.
A year ago, I received a phone call from a local vet attendant pleading with me to find a home for a 14-year-old kitty—someone had dropped her off because she did not get along with their new kitten. I immediately called a friend, and she agreed to take the senior kitty. Soon, my friend moved, and Miss Pepper became mine! It took a few months to adjust, but she is doing fine with my three other kitties—especially Dymphna who was the first to accept her.
Pepper is now 15-years-old, and is experiencing so many new things in her later years. She is so soft, and even hugs me and holds me tight with her paws when I hold her. Every day we walk together in the yard, and to have been able to see her smell the grass and flowers—probably for the first time in her life—melted my heart. She is my comfort girl, and I vow to make her final years great ones.
In early February, Virginia Stevenson brought home a ten-month-old cat named Coffee from the ASPCA Adoption Center in Manhattan, and the two experienced an immediate connection. Coffee, since renamed Mr. Coffee, also became fast friends with Virginia’s resident rescue cat and has wasted no time making himself right at home.
“I cannot imagine my home without him,” Virginia says. “He is the perfect companion and playmate for my other cat, Martha, who is a one-eyed rescue I got from Bideawee in New York City. Mr. Coffee is sweet, playful and affectionate, and acts as if he has been with us forever.”
In fact, Virginia tells us it took “about one minute” for Mr. Coffee and Martha to become friends, and that “they have been thick as thieves since the first day.”
When he isn’t playing with Martha, Mr. Coffee has already picked out his favorite places in Virginia’s home for taking catnaps and exploring.
“One of his favorite sleeping places is the bathroom sink,” Virginia says. “He also loves the climbing tree, the window sill, the back of my chair, my computer and the bathtub.”
We’re thrilled to hear that Mr. Coffee found a home where he feels so comfortable.
“He is a treasure,” Virginia says. “I thank you all for bringing us together.”
Wendy Kling shared her story of taking a chance on a special needs dog named Nemo at the ASPCA Adoption Center, just in time for Christmas.
It has been more than one year since we welcomed Nemo into our home on Christmas Eve. He had an interesting journey here, beginning with my husband spotting him one morning on Fox News wearing a little red jacket asking to be adopted. He called me in to take a look and, after realizing Nemo was missing a back leg, I thought, "Would we really be able to take care of a pet with special needs?" I said no to adopting him and went to work.
I thought about Nemo for the next few days and joked that all I wanted for Christmas was a three-legged-dog under my tree. That set the ball in motion. My husband found him at the ASPCA, and without my knowledge, set up an appointment to see him on Christmas Eve. My husband, Will; daughter Marisa; our Husky, Mishka, and I drove to the city from Quakertown, Pennsylvania. After spending several hours with the wonderful staff there, we signed the paperwork and brought our new family member home to spend Christmas morning watching us unwrap presents.
Nemo is a wonderful dog who is full of personality and a bit of a lounger. He also tends to make us forget that he is missing a leg—except when we’re picking him up to carry him to bed every night and downstairs in the morning.
Just recently, I saw him featured in an ASPCA commercial. What a surprise! To us, he is a bit of a celebrity. Thank you, ASPCA, for making that night such a memorable one and for allowing us to bring Nemo home and become one of us. I tell everyone I know who is looking for a pet to adopt, adopt, adopt!
Becca Adams shared the following story with us about meeting her beloved feline companion Lily at a time when she least expected to adopt a cat.
The story of Lily actually begins 18 years ago, when I met the first love of my life at the SPCA in Virginia Beach, Virginia: a domestic shorthaired cat named Rassa. For 17 happy years, Rassa was my companion, partner in crime and best friend. He was diagnosed with cancer in December 2011. We discussed our options with the vet, and decided to make him comfortable for as long as he maintained his quality of life. Never one to enjoy a change of scenery, he seemed to agree. Rassa left us in March of last year, which is when Lily’s story begins.
My husband was out of town on business when I said goodbye to Rassa, so a friend came to stay with me. We stayed active, and during a day trip, she suggested that we stop by the SPCA. I told her I was not ready. The next day she suggested the same thing, and remembering a spring day 17 years earlier, I decided to go, but under no circumstances would I adopt an animal.
The Richmond SPCA is absolutely wonderful. There are two huge cat playrooms with large tunnels and hiding spaces and, for the more reserved kitties, large, private condos. I walked past Lily twice, thinking what a beautiful cat she was. A predominantly white calico with one blue and one green eye, Lily seemed rather interested in me. My mom had calico cats and they definitely had a fair share of “cattitude,” so I kept going.
My friend said she’d found the perfect cat for me. Thinking, “yeah, yeah, sure,” and feeling a bit guilty, I agreed to meet this perfect cat. Of course, Lily came prancing into the room. She walked right over to me, jumped in my lap and gave me a healthy head butt in the face. She looked me square in the face and sat down in my lap.
Two hours later, Lily and I were headed home.
She’s been with us for exactly a year, and has “adopted” two other rescue cats as her babies. I couldn’t imagine life with another cat a year ago, and now I can’t imagine my life without Lily.
When Midnight, a six-year-old Labrador Retriever mix, came to us, he suffered from severe skin disease and ear infections and looked emaciated. He underwent treatment at the ASPCA Animal Hospital and slowly began to recover. When he was ready, Midnight stayed for months in our Adoption Center, waiting patiently for someone to take him home.
In February, Victoria D'Asto and Michael Pisula did just that, giving Midnight a new life as part of their family.
“My husband and I waited a year and a half after the passing of our last dog before visiting the ASPCA in Manhattan,” Victoria says. “After looking at all the dogs and meeting several of them, we settled on Midnight, now known as Harley.”
Harley has come a long way, but he still suffers from chronic ear infections. With medication and TLC, Harley’s ear infections are manageable.
“Even with his health issues and difficult past, we felt that he would be a great addition to our family,” Victoria says.
And they were right. Harley is thriving in his new home.
“It turns out that we really lucked out—Harley is so well trained and sweet with everyone he meets,” Victoria says. “He seems to enjoy his new diet and exercise program as he gains those last five pounds to bring him back up to a healthy weight.”
Victoria tells us that Harley loves to go for walks in Manhattan’s Riverside Park, on shopping trips, and enjoys romping around at Victoria and Michael’s country home on the weekends.
“He loves destroying his toys, fighting for the peanut butter in his new Kong toy and lounging by the fireplace,” she says. “It's been almost two weeks, and he's already become our best friend! Thanks, ASPCA!”