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Animal Rescue: Adopt A Pet!

Updated on February 12, 2013
Animal Rescues are important to me.
Animal Rescues are important to me. | Source

Animal Rescues

I’ve been into animal rescue since I was a little kid. I was always bringing home hungry and abandoned pets and rescuing wild animals that were injured or otherwise in harm’s way. Some had been abandoned by their mothers, and in some cases, the nursing mother had been killed. I just about always had a critter or two around that I was caring for. Fortunately, I had a very understanding mom who was also concerned with animal welfare, so I had a powerful ally in my corner. Before I continue with my animal rescue stories, I want you to understand that I'm a sane, reasonable person. I'm not some blathering, hot-headed idiot. In fact, I could even be called polite. Patient, even. I taught high school seniors for years, and believe me, patience is defintely a requirement for the job! I tell you this so that you can at least partially understand my personal shock when I was ordered to leave a 7-11 recently, as a result of an animal rescue I performed.

The rescue dog was pitiful!
The rescue dog was pitiful! | Source

Dog Rescue

This is about a recent dog rescue. A few weeks ago, my daughter, my two grandsons, and I made the drive to a neighboring city. She had to purchase her books for college, so we did a little shopping while we were in town. Of course, we also went out to eat - the best part of traveling out of town.

On the way home, we stopped at a 7-11 to get gas. I noticed a skinny dog hanging around the pumps, and animal lover that I am, I got out to pet it. A man pulled up in an old pickup, and I struck up a conversation with him. He was a regular at the store and informed me that the dog had been there for over a week.

She was pitiful. She went hopefully from car to car, looking for someone to help her. She was a medium-sized dog, with a short brown coat and big brown eyes. She was timid, and if I made any sudden movement, she cowered in fear. She had obviously been abused. She had also been starved. I could see every rib, along with her hip bones and even her skull.

As Mel was going in to pay for the gas, I told her to buy the pooch a couple of hot dogs. Meanwhile, I gave it some water. Melissa came back with a big can of dog food. They didn't sell hot dogs. I opened the can and fed the pup, and it quickly devoured the meal. I couldn't just leave without doing something, so I went in to ask the staff to please call the humane shelter to pick the dog up.

I made my request to the young girl behind the counter. She said they had called the shelter three times the previous week, to no avail. Then she informed me that the store owner was going to kill the dog that night.

I was shocked! I asked where the owner was, and she gestured to a big, burley man at the end of the counter. Before I realized what I was doing, I lit into him with a stentorian verbal tirade. I don't even remember everything I said. I do remember, however, the other customers standing around agape. I also distinctly remember his ordering me to leave the store. I told him I would leave as soon as I finished telling him exactly what I thought of him.

I exited the store, lifted the hatch on the back of Mel's SUV, and put the dog in. She went home with us. Another successful dog rescue!

our cat shelter
our cat shelter | Source

Cat Shelter

Dogs and horses are my favorite critters, but I love all animals – including cats. We’ve turned our back yard into sort of a cat shelter. Our neighborhood is rampant with feral cats. I think this all started years ago, when one of our “crazy” neighbors decided to get several felines. After a few months, she got tired of caring for the cats and kittens, so she stopped feeding them. When they would come up to eat, she’d scare them away with a broom. My mom took pity on the felines and began feeding them. Mom was old, and the cats had become wild, so she wasn’t able to catch them. Of course, they multiplied. Our local animal shelters trapped a few, but when hubby and I came to live in Mom’s house, there were still feral cats roaming the neighborhood. After Mom had to be moved to an assisted living facility, I took over the responsibility of the cat shelter.

We leave dry food and water out at all times for any hungry cat that might pass by. Opossums and raccoons often take advantage of the free meal, too. Unfortunately, the problem only got worse as the females had kittens. I knew I had to tame the animals. I’d have some of the females spayed, and I’d get the kittens gentle enough to handle so that they could be taken to an animal shelter. At least that way they’d have a chance of being adopted.

It took me months to gentle the cats and kittens. I had to use the lure of canned food, as the dry food didn’t work. I guess they were just too used to it, so they required more of a treat. Once I could pet and handle the cats, I took the adult females to our veterinarian to be spayed. We kept a couple of kittens and took the rest to a local shelter. Hopefully, this will stop the feral cat problem in our neighborhood. I’m sure we’ll still get the occasional “dropoff,” but if and when we do, I’ll handle the situation humanely and responsibly.

Adopt a Pet that you're capable of caring for.
Adopt a Pet that you're capable of caring for. | Source

Adopt A Pet

If you’re in the market for a new animal pal, adopt a pet. Why pay hundreds of dollars or more for a companion animal when you can adopt a pet for a nominal fee? Even better, the fee charged by most animal shelters and animal rescues often includes spaying or neutering and vaccinations, so it’s a really good deal.

If you decide to adopt a pet, you’ll most likely have an overwhelming choice of animals. Of course, dogs and cats are the most popular and perhaps the most numerous, but lots of other animals are available, too, especially in larger animal shelters. You might find pet birds, hamsters, gerbils, rabbits, snakes, goats, sheep, pigs, horses, ponies, and donkeys.

Before you adopt a pet, think long and hard about your situation, knowledge, and lifestyle. Don’t choose an animal that requires special care unless you have the knowledge to care for it. Match your home and family with the right animal. Think about the amount of space you have, the amount of time you have to devote to a pet, and the amount of money you’re willing and able to spend on caring for an animal properly. Be honest with yourself. For example, the idea of owning your own horse might sound tempting, but if you know nothing about caring for an equine, such a decision could have tragic consequences.

Adopt a Puppy
Adopt a Puppy | Source

Adopt A Puppy

As I’ve already mentioned, I have a special place in my heart for canines. If you feel the same way, adopt a puppy. Puppies are, for the most part, blank slates. They don’t often have a lot of “baggage,” so you have a great opportunity to train it to be a wonderful, loyal companion. It won’t take long for a young puppy to consider itself a normal part of your family pack.

When you adopt a puppy, learn as much as you can about its parents. That will help you to know how large the pup will grow. Of course, this information for rescue puppies isn’t always available, but someone who’s knowledgeable about different dog breeds might be able to offer you some ideas about the pup’s breed or breeds.

Another important point to remember when adopting a puppy is to get a health check from a veterinarian. Shelter dogs are exposed to lots of other canines, so that could mean exposure to diseases. Most animal shelters can’t afford the required staff or the required funding to do extensive tests on every animal in their care. Take the puppy for the health check before it ever sets paw in your home.

Adopt a Dog
Adopt a Dog | Source

Adopt A Dog

If you don’t want to adopt a puppy and go through all the trials and trouble associated with puppyhood, adopt a dog. Older puppies and adult dogs can make wonderful pets, and they’re often much easier to care for when they’ve passed the destructive puppy stage. Sometimes you can even find adult dogs that are already house trained, too, which is a huge step in the right direction.

Some people are under the mistaken impression that all adult dogs in animal shelters are problem dogs. That is absolutely not true! The fault is more often with the owners, and not with the dogs. I’ve visited numerous shelters in order to adopt a dog, and I’ve seen and interacted with many wonderful, loving, well behaved canines. And even in our local animal shelter, the selection is pretty impressive. Our shelter is relatively small since it serves a small community, but they just about always have about twenty-five dogs and puppies for adoption. I volunteer there occasionally, and we’ve adopted dogs from there several times over the years, including the latest addition to our family, a purebred Basset hound. I’ve seen lots of other purebreds there, too, including German shepherds, black-and-tan coonhounds, Labrador retrievers, poodles, bulldogs, Chihuahuas, English pointers, beagles, bullmastiffs, and other breeds. Of course, there are always some adorable mutts on hand, too.

Before adopting a dog, be sure to take it out of its kennel, walk it, and handle it. You can tell a lot about its temperament that way. If you have kids in your family, be sure to see how the dog reacts to them, too. Under your strict supervision, allow them to handle the canine. Does the animal act relaxed, or does it “tense up” or show signs of aggression? Not all dogs are good with kids, so make sure you find one that is.

One of my animal rescues, Sparky.
One of my animal rescues, Sparky. | Source

Animal Rescue Stories

I have lots more animal rescue stories. I will never understand humans' callous disregard for animal welfare. How can you just abandon an animal? How hard would it have been for a pet’s previous owner to have dropped it off at the animal shelter? Sure, it might have end up being euthanized, but even that would have been a better fate than starving to death, or than getting hit by a car on a busy thoroughfare and suffering a painful, agonizing death.

Some of my other animal rescue stories involve raising baby birds that had fallen from their nests. I’d feed and care for them until they were old enough to fly. At that point, I’d teach them to fly and eventually release them back into the wild. I’ve also rescued baby opossums, baby squirrels, and baby rabbits. Oftentimes, I had to feed the small creatures with eye droppers or syringes. I’ve bottle fed piglets when their mothers refused to care for them. I even rescued a toad once that was trapped in freezing water. And I can’t count the number of dog rescue and cat rescue actions I’ve taken over the years.

I suppose one of my most interesting or unusual animal rescue stories involved a litter of flying squirrels that were in our back yard. The mother was killed by a hawk, and the three babies were left to fend for themselves. They were still nursing, so we knew they’d die without our help. Mom had raised abandoned gray squirrels before, and she figured raising flying squirrels would be much the same. She was right! The babies grew into playful adolescents that had learned to eat on their own, so we were able to release them.

Animal rescue is near and dear to me, as you’ve probably figured out. Immature animals, injured animals, and abandoned pets are practically totally helpless. If we humans don’t lend them a helping hand, they’ll suffer needlessly and might even die a tortured death. I feel that it’s our duty as humans to be the caretakers of Nature. Few things are more rewarding than nursing an animal back to health and returning it to the wild or finding it a loving home. My husband always tells me that I can't save the world. But I'm giving it my best shot, with one animal rescue at a time!


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    • Kristen Howe profile image

      Kristen Howe 2 years ago from Northeast Ohio

      Holly, you're amazing to save that dog's life. I'm all for animal rescue. My neighbor, a decade ago, when I first moved to Ohio had two cats. Before she moved, she put her healthy cat Sophia to sleep, since it had gotten into a fight with another cat and a had a bruised nose. I was shocked to hear about this--her other cat did run away. This was a beautiful hub. Voted up!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      A very interesting hub and I really believe in dog and cat rescue. They are all so innocent and deserve a good home. Thanks

    • profile image

      Taylor 4 years ago

      Hi Habee. I just wanted to say, you are a kind, very loving compassionate heart. Bless you! I once saved a stray cat. Here's a short story about her.. I saw her, by my house in 3 degree weather, and she was just about to pass on.. But of coarse, I couldn't just live her there to die! I am also an animal lover, so, I brought her in to my house, offered her some food, and she just kept eating and eating and eating! Thank goodness I still had some cat food! Also, she slept over for a couple of days.. So we gave her a name, her name was, Star. Because she was all black and on her chest, there was a birthmark and it was shaped like a white star. And then, we gave her to an animal shelter that we trust. One day, the animal shelter called us, and said "Star has successfully been taken to her new home!" And from that day on.. I have always been on the look out for any strays. And the best part is.. I'm only 12 years old! And I did this! Once again, bless you and you sweet, kind, loving heart!

    • BulletRescue profile image

      BulletRescue 4 years ago

      Such a wonderful article supporting animal rescue and adoption! Voted up! I'm also glad your brought attention to the ever growing problem of the feral cat population, which is unfortunately widespread. It's so important for those who feed these unfortunate felines to bring them to get spayed (or neutered) or the problem will just get worse. Many vets and rescue shelters are getting on board offering discounted or even free fixing for feral cats, so be sure to check with your local animal caretakers! Many also provide feral cat traps free of charge. It's so wonderful you are socializing the kittens too, they deserve a chance at a proper life in a loving environment away from the harsh realities of living wild.

    • profile image

      Maggie 4 years ago

      Dear columnist, how do I adopt a small dog? I don't want anything with behavioral or health problems (genetic or otherwise), and it must be house trained. Not too yappy. Small dog syndrome not allowed. Can't need too much exercise. Should be from a specific pool of breeds/mixes. Unfortunately, a lot of owners who give up their dogs will lie about whether or not their dog has a behavioral and/or biting problem because they want it to get adopted, and I can't afford mistakes. Perhaps even worse (since it can't be remedied), it can be very difficult to find out the origins of an adult dog. If it's a mix, I must know both breeds in its ancestry in order to avoid too many nasty surprises. I'm not a very experienced dog owner. I'm a couch potato. I can't get a purebred because if a dog's breeder is responsible then the dog wouldn't have wound up in the system in the first place. Exceptions could be made for extremely genetically healthy breeds without pre-existing health problems, but even so, I don't know how much I trust purebred rescues. The dog MUST be well-socialized. My other option is to get a retired show dog (or cat), which seems a lot more practical. I need to know as much as possible about the dog before I get it because, again, I can't afford mistakes. I have a very specific set of needs and living situation. Suggestions?

      Please respond if you see this! I suppose I normally wouldn't mind adopting, but it feels like that's the wrong course of action for me right now. Is this legitimate?

    • afriqnet profile image

      Joe Njenga 5 years ago from Nairobi Kenya


      You are one of the most Humane souls left in our universe. I have encountered such animals before when working for an animal rights organization. I would just like to commend you. Thanks

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 6 years ago from Northern, California

      habee, I just love your passionate humane soul. It is an honor to know you here on HubPages. You should get a medal.



    • profile image

      roxand 6 years ago

      That's all right. I feel SO sorry for that poor dog too! See you soon.

    • profile image

      jessie 6 years ago

      Tank you for telling me about this web site. Poor dog!

    • profile image

      talia 6 years ago

      I can imagen how that poor dog feelt when it owner left him! If I was allowed that dog I would make sure that he is nice and healthy. If you don't want a pet keep it don't just leave it by the road you should keep it so it is a real pet.

    • profile image

      channelle 6 years ago

      Yo yo its me.Anyway about the dog, if the rescue center didn't find that dog I bet he will be dieing.And I'm sure.If I was alowed a dog I wouldent get it for the sak, I would take care of it and make sure he or she is happy and healthy every day!! Wouldn't you?

    • profile image

      poopole 6 years ago

      I feel so sorry for that dog it should be sorry for your self some people don't care how menny doges need a knice home there are lots in the uk so there needs to be more rescue centure!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      talia 6 years ago

      OMG!!!!!!!!! I feel so sorry for that poor little dog! If I saw that man or lady that had that dog I would kill HIM!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image

      channelle 6 years ago

      Think of how that poor dog felt with his skinney body.he must be starving ifi he is that skinny!!! If you have a dog and you don't want it please please don't just leave it starving take it to a rescue center!!!Make sure you keep trck of this website!!!!

    • profile image

      amy 6 years ago

      I feel so sorry for that poor dog! If i Was alowed to take the dog home I would!!!

    • profile image

      aimee 6 years ago

      I feel so sorry for thatdog in that picture!! I think they should be 1 or 2 more rescue centers. But I think they should do that in 2013. The owners seem heart less and crul! If you want a pet get one don't Just leave them keep them as a pet! They will feel so sad! I will keep looking at this website.

    • Alexander Mark profile image

      Alexander Silvius 6 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      The store owner sounds pretty heartless, but I wonder if maybe he couldn't take the dog home for some reason and also felt that the animal would just suffer more if she went to a shelter and knowing the poor animal would die, he made up his mind to do the deed that had to be done.

      I assume from your reaction that was not the case - and it is wonderful you took her home.

      I had my first rat euthanized, but later I put two and two together and realized the idiot vet had probably run electrical current through her which is how some Chinchilla fur breeders kill their animals. My next rat also developed a tumor and I used a BB gun instead - I couldn't stand the thought of her suffering. Not fun, but it was instant and I was much happier knowing I had done the best possible thing.

      If I had had the money and a place for dogs to run, I would have rescued a few dogs in my lifetime, but as an apartment dweller, I can't have dogs. This is one more reason I am saving up for a piece of land to live on, dogs are so worth it.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, and I agree - we need more animal rescues!

    • irtkris profile image

      irtkris 6 years ago from Alberta, Canada

      Way to go. The world needs more people willing to stand up and speak for animals.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Bless you, Fran! What you did was awesome for both dog and owner. Keep up the great work!

    • profile image

      Fran Berdy 7 years ago

      Your good karma just multiplied when you helped that poor dog. I too hope to save all the animals. i told my husband that if he ever gets a call to bail me out of jail it's because I saw someone abusing an animal. Short story of my own: I was leaving work in the Fed. Govt. office and as I was in my convertible in line to get out of the parking lot, I heard a dog yelp. I looked to the right which was another parking lot and I saw someone raise and swiftly lower a large stick/cane. I heard the dog yelp again. Soooo, I put my car in Park, told the people behind me to go around, stomped over to where I saw the stick being raised and there was this GORGEOUS shephard and a very tall man. I lit into him with both barrels and asked him why he was beating his dog. As soon as he started speaking I realized he was 'borderline' mentality. He sait he hits the dog because he won't listen to him when he tells him to sit etc. I then CALMLY explained to him that if he shows love and patience the dog will obey him without being beaten. I showed him what i meant by talking softly and calmly to the dog (his name was 'Sam') and asked him to sit as I was petting him and he SAT to the astonishment of the owner. Sam just couldn't stop licking my hand as if to say 'thank you, thank you, thank you'. The next day as some of my coworkers were leaving the bldg., they came running back saying 'Guess who's waiting for you out front?" I asked them to hang around for a few minutes just in case. Sure enough, there was the man and Sam, Sam was sitting and the man had no stick or cane. I said Hi to him and to Sam and asked him how it was going. He was so proud to show me that he didn't have the stick/cane and actually told me "Gee, that worked with just talking to Sam." I told him I was very proud of him and that he and Sam will have a very good life from now on. Sam just couldn't get that big grin off his face and again licked my hands with such eagerness I wished I had a treat for him. I didn't see him or Sam after that but I hope all went well.

      See, one person CAN make a difference!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Many thanks, Lula!

    • profile image

      lula 7 years ago

      the only disgusting animal in this story is the owner of this gas station. thank god for compassionate people.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      susie, I sooooo wanted to kick his butt!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Just one more thing for me to love about you, Dusty!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      It took me a second or two to figure out exactly what kind of animal I was viewing in your picture. The sad part is that store owner did nothing, just watched day by day as that animal was wasting away. Did ya think about kickin' his butt?? LOL

    • 50 Caliber profile image

      50 Caliber 7 years ago from Arizona

      Holle, I pick them up all the time, I can't help it, I just do it and try to nurse them back to health and find new homes for them on my dime. I do have a sympathetic vet who provides service at cost and a dog food company who provides out of date bags of food at no charge, it is the "Old Roy" distributor in Phoenix. I just go with my horse trailer and load out about 500 pounds at a time. 50

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Awww...thanks, lilnohu. I'm just an animal lover!

    • profile image

      lilnohu 7 years ago

      You are a hero.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      Hi, Lockerman! Good to see ya, pal!

    • Tammy Lochmann profile image

      Tammy Lochmann 7 years ago

      I am glad you gave that jerk a piece of your mind. My husband and I are guilty of bringing strays home...funny thing is they have turned out to be the best pets ever.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 7 years ago from Georgia

      I know, Daisy, it just boggles the mind, doesn't it?!

    • daisyjae profile image

      daisyjae 7 years ago from Canada

      Good for you habee. We need more people like you in the world. I can't understand how anyone could abandon a pet like that. Or why no one who worked there could take it to the animal shelter.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Good for you, Bear! Again, you're my kinda guy!

    • bearclawmedia profile image

      bearclawmedia 8 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

      You are a one of a kind girl. Another good one. I have dogs there necessary on the land. Some time a dog just shows up and stays for a while. He gets fed with the others. Simple as that. Good story mate!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, CM! I appreciate the support!

    • carolina muscle profile image

      carolina muscle 8 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina


    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Exactly! I wish everyone was just like us!

    • cluense profile image

      Katie Luense 8 years ago from Buffalo, NY

      Good for you! I am a dog lover as well and I would have done exactly as you did. My husband hates it when I come home from Walmart,because I am always coming home with a stray that someone just dumped off to fend for itself. He tells me the same thing, Katie you cannot save all of the dogs in the world. However,I can sure as rain try!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      The neighbors adopted it. The 7-11 is in Albany, GA. I think I'm banned from the store now! Thanks for your kind words!

    • profile image

      Vanne Way 8 years ago

      Where is the dog? Hey I will come and get it. Why not, I once stole a dog out of a crack-heads yard. He lives with us still, 5 years later. You go girl, I am proud of you. Remind me to visit that 7-11!

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for the warm comment!

    • hladams profile image

      hladams 8 years ago from Talking Rock, GA

      Good for you! I plan on saving the world one abandoned pet at a time - It makes my heart happy to read stories like this!

    • Waren E profile image

      Waren E 8 years ago from HAS LEFT THE BUILDING............

      Not many would take the time to be so kind and down to earth in defending the lesser fortunate!

      Thanks for sharing this pleasant experience,success to you and God bless!

    • Write at Home profile image

      Write at Home 8 years ago

      I hope you get kicked out of more 7-11's in the future for similar acts! You did a great thing... :) (sorry for the double post)

    • Write at Home profile image

      Write at Home 8 years ago

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, FF. I'll go check it out!

      Maybe we were sisters in a former life. LOL!

    • fastfreta profile image

      Alfreta Sailor 8 years ago from Southern California

      What a great story, sad, but great. Are you sure we are not sisters from another mother? (Smile)! How is the dog doing now? Hey, I just wrote an impromptu story about Georgia, if you have anything to add let me know and I'll add it.

    • profile image

      Madame X 8 years ago

      I can't imagine how anyone could abandon their pet, and I've heard lots of stories on the subject. Good for you for expressing your kind heart.

    • habee profile image

      Holle Abee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks, pals!

    • lisakprice profile image

      lisakprice 8 years ago from Ohio

      Good for you, honey! You are a treasure to that dog and the World. Thank you!

    • Jerilee Wei profile image

      Jerilee Wei 8 years ago from United States

      Good for you, saving the world is just one shot at a time, too many pets being abandoned these days.