Last week, I invited you to submit your photos and stories about your adopted pets and what they mean to you. You sent an amazing variety of images and anecdotes — from dogs rescued from puppy mills, to cats found in an abandoned building, to an elderly pet rat adopted from a local shelter. But the common thread running through all these stories is how important and rewarding it is to adopt a companion animal.
Many of you wrote about animals who are sometimes overlooked at shelters, such as older pets, rabbits, and other small animals. It’s a great reminder that these animals also need homes, and that they usually end up at shelters through no fault of their own. Here are a few of your photos and comments about your pets.
This is Cody. We adopted him in August of 2007 at PetSmart from a shelter in Washington, Pa. They had found him dirty and hungry, wandering along the highway. He was a joy from day one. We already had two cats and Cody immediately warmed up to them. By the end of the first day he and our cat, Ellie, were sleeping together. He is a really smart dog and listens well. He is sweet and loving and I can't imagine not having him. The best pets come from shelters. They seem to know they are being given a second chance and are now in their forever home. —June
This is my beautiful, sweet girl Elle! I adopted Elle from a rescue when she was 3 months old. She will be 3 years old on Friday. Elle has truly changed my life, and my heart overflows with love for her. She has such a friendly, intuitive personality and is my best friend. Elle loves to play, take walks, and spend time with her family. Seeing the spirit and life in her eyes has opened my heart and eyes to the need of protecting the animals in this world. I hope that we truly become a "Humane Nation" so that all animals are allowed to live happily in their innocence! —Carly
This is Ozzie, adopted from a very crowded Worcester County (Maryland) Humane Society in 2007. There were tons of young kittens and lots of beautiful older cats that turned my head at the shelter. But as soon as these eyes looked back into mine, that was it. This formerly feral 5-year-old kitty with scars and asthma took over my heart and my home starting that day. —Janet
This is Rockie. She is our puppy-mill rescue and although my daughter and I rescued her, she is the one that rescued us. She was very sickly when we got her at 3 months old and after fighting two battles of pneumonia and learning that her trachea is collapsed, she is quite the spunky little Yorkie. She will be celebrating her 5th birthday with us this September. We love her to pieces. —Kimberly
Attached is a picture of my little Lexi, also known as Grandma. We adopted her from the Animal Humane Society in Minneapolis, Minn. She was 4 years old when we adopted her and we didn't know how much time we'd have with her, since the normal lifespan for rats is 2 to 3 years! We were blessed to be a part of 11 more months of this amazing animal's life. I can't imagine why anyone would give her up, but we were so glad we got the time with her that we did. —Megan
I adopted Scout & Ranger from a local cat rescue group. They were found in an abandoned apartment complex along with the rest of their litter mates. Although they've never been separated, they have completely different personalities which I find endlessly entertaining! They bring so much love and joy to my life, I don't know what I'd do without them! —Kimberly
This is my buddy Patrick [a rabbit]. He is one of my best friends. He was being sold for meat. It is unbelievable how lovable and bondable he is. He sits with me while I do my things, he follows me everywhere. He does tricks and listens to what he is asked to do (go in your house, go to the litter pan, sit up, etc.) He comes over when you call him and if you ask him if he wants a scratch he puts his head down or nudges you. He is shy of strangers. I wish that people would appreciate these animals more because they are as good as any dog or cat. —Kerri
Aloha, this is my sweet Hana Girl. I adopted her from a woman that works with our local MHS [Maui Humane Society] to trap and release the feral cats in the pineapple fields of West Maui. She was a kitten of a feral. I got her 8 years ago on Valentine's Day so she will forever have my heart.
Meet Maddie. Maddie girl. Madge. I adopted this precious soul from my vet clinic in 2005. She was dumped in the middle of the country, and she somehow managed to find the doorstep of my vet. She's one of the most gentle and sweet pups I've ever known. With about 1,000 of the cutest little quirks (tennis ball mania), she adds so much sunshine and sweetness to my life — I'd be lost without her. —Sylvia
P.S. If you have a photo of you with your pet, don’t forget to submit it to The Bond photo contest by April 4, for a chance to win a signed copy of my book and a $1,000 grant in your name to an HSUS Shelter Partner.