Stories of Animals Who Got A Second Chance by Randi Rae Fair
A ‘Randolf The Great’ Production PhotoSeminar 2014 Temple University
“‘Cause I don’t care ‘bout your hatin’ and your doubt, If ya need a companion Well, just go right to the pound, And find yourself a hound, ‘Cause that’s what it’s all about.” --Nellie McKay, “Dog Song”
Almost everyone we meet has an animal who resides in their home. Whether we call them pets, furbabies, companion animals, or my favorite, companimals, these creatures we choose to share our spaces with come into our lives by many different ways. For most of us, we werenâ€™t looking to take on a new life when these animals nose their way into our laps when we least expect it and end up being furry roommates for the duration of their lives before we even realize what happened. Most of these relationships are happenstance. Some people actively seek out a companion to join their family. These people have a choice - to purchase an animal like a commodity from a breeder or a pet shop, or to visit a shelter and select one who would otherwise be killed. I will never understand why everyone doesnâ€™t choose the latter. This book is dedicated to those who choose to save a life rather than perpetuate the cycle of overpopulation by patroning breeders and pet stores.
Clyde Clyde was adopted by Sarah and Giehl King in 2005 when he was six months old. He came to them with terrible separation anxiety because he was a rambunctious pup and they were his sixth home in as many months. Many people don’t realize how much work is involved when taking on large breeds like Great Danes. Clyde’s loves are food, laying in the sun, and more food. He dislikes cats and not being able to eat food off the counter. As he ages, he’s slowing down a bit, but has acquired a distinguished white muzzle.
Bradley Bradley is a year old and was adopted by the Kings from People for the Ethical Treatment for Animals (PETA) when she was about five months old. She had been chained in a warehouse as a cheap security system before a kind person rescued her and turned her over to PETA. She loves to be outside and loves to play. When itâ€™s time to settle down, she is happiest if sheâ€™s wedged behind Sarah or Giehl or Clyde on the couch or buried under a blanket.
Max Sarah adopted Max from the Idaho Humane Society when she was 12 weeks old. Sheâ€™s moved across the country with Sarah three or four times in the 16 years since then. She loves food, comes when you whistle, and loves to chase after little foam balls.
Katie Katie was rescued from the streets by a PETA employee when she was a few months old. Sheâ€™s 12 now. She loves attention, bird watching, and drinking out of the faucet. She doesnâ€™t have a very good concept of personal space.
Jake Ed and his then fiance adopted Jake from Lolli-pop Rescue in New Jersey ten years ago. They broke up and she moved in with her parents, but Jake didn’t get along with her parents’ other dog so Ed took him permanetly. He is an 85 pound Rottweiler and hound mix. Ed describes him as an alpha male who is very playful. He says he would do anything for him. When Jake broke his leg, people told him to euthanize him but Ed wouldn’t hear of it and paid the $4,500 bill without flinching. Jake has also been treated for skin cancer. “He’s my best friend,” Ed says. 14
Huck Huck and his brother Jasper, featured on the following page, were found together as strays in an abandoned building that was about to be demolished by a team sweeping the building beforehand. Their guardian, Rachel, was looking to adopt one cat but knew she couldnâ€™t separate the two. She took them both into her home. Huck stress eats when he is alone and doesnâ€™t really believe in exercise which has led to some weight gain over the years. He likes giving kisses and wants to snuggle all the time. When not cuddling with a warm human you can find him on the nearest piece of comfortable furniture, relaxing. He is very smart and usually reacts to situations accordingly. Huck is described as the gangster with a heart of gold who hides in the shadows but looks after his family. 16
Jasper Jasper is the brother of Huck, featured on the previous page. After being discovered in the abandoned building, the brothers were taken to Rittenhouse Pet Supply, a pet supply shop whose owner personally rescues and adopts out cats in her free time. Rachel found them there and the three have been best friends for more than five years. Despite living on the streets, Huck and Jasper are both very outgoing and crave human interaction. Jasper is very vocal and wants to play all the time.
In March of 2008, Lia Belardo went to southern China on a vacation. Up until that point she had no desire to live with companion animals. After stumbling upon live meat markets with dogs in cages being sold as dinner she came home from her trip wanting to save all the dogs she possibly could. With that attitude in mind she adopted Baci, a Beagle/Bully mix from a rescue in Long Island, NY. Baci had separation anxiety, and would self mutilate. Lia says that while it hasnâ€™t always been easy, Baci is her most favorite walking and tv watching companion as she loves to share popcorn and other snacks. Baci has responded extremely well to training, positive reinforcement, and yes, doggy Prozac â€“ Lia says she is the best friend anyone could have.
Chloe Lia was living in Northern Liberties in 2010 when she and a friend were walking with her dog, Baci, to the liquor store to grab some refreshments. Chloe was a cat who was hanging out, just chilling, by the door to the liquor store. He was covered in sores and skin abrasions and was very dirty and skinny. Lia went to pet him and he nuzzled my hand. She was scared to pick him up though because of his open sores and missing hair. She and her friend started walking away and he just started following them. Lia is very allergic to cats but she opened the door to her apartment and Chloe just walked right in and started eating some bread on the counter, making himself right at home! Lia went to the deli on the corner and bought some cat food and a cat litter in an aluminum pan just to tide him over and then she gave him a bath in the tub and put Neosporin on his sores. The next day Lia took him to the PSPCA and it turns out he had been adopted to someone from the shelter in 2007 and had already been microchipped and neutered. The microchip was never registered though and the PSPCA staffer told her they did not have records his adopters. So after a check up by the vet, a few steroid shots, and some new fancy food for a cat with obvious allergies, Chloe found a new home with Lia and Baci.
Hank Hank was discovered by Melissa Luther sleeping under a trash pile in the yard of an abandoned, gutted row home in East Kensington. After months of building trust with his eventual foster parents through daily feeding, Hank disappeared. When he returned several days later, Hank was hungry and bleeding from wounds suffered in a fight. Melissa took him to PAWS where he was cleaned up, neutered, and diagnosed with FIV, the feline equilavent of HIV. Hank may look like a street tough tom, but he is a sucker for attention and more than satisfied curled up on a warm lap. Heâ€™s patiently waiting to find his furever home. 24
Smitty Smitty was found alone and injured, wandering along SEPTA tracks in Bryn Mawr with one eyeball dangling from the socket. When a kind soul found him and brought him to Bryn Mawr Veterinary Hospital, vets considered euthanizing him. A conscientious vet tech lobbied to foster him, and after surgery to remove one eye and repair the remaining one, Smitty was quickly adopted by Melissa Luther. Smitty remains shy around strangers and shares an inextricable bond with Nugget, another cat he lives with.
Ello adopted Marla and her sister Isabella from a rat rescue in October 2012. The two were only a few weeks old when she took them home. Their mother was going to be fed to snakes at a pet store, but the woman who owns the rescue (Rat Chick Rat Rescue and Advocacy Group) was able to adopt this rat and another female rat from the store, and only later found that these two rats were both pregnant. Marla and Isabella are now about a year and six months old. Marla is very active and loves to explore and climb. Rats are excellent companion animals because they don't require a ton of maintenance and are very affectionate and have wonderful personalties. They are very clean and intelligent animals, and they cultivate close friendships, just like humans do. Rescued!
Milo Allison and Joe met Milo through City Kitties and Joe really loved him because he was really inquisitive at Milo's foster family's house. They said he was already an adult, but once he moved in with Allison and Joe they realized that he was actually a really big kitten. He kept growing like Clifford the Big Red Dog! So they figure he must be around 1.5-2 years old. He's very playful and did not snuggle until really recently, so if he snuggles you, it means something. His favorite toys are an old guitar string and a toy mouse he found under the radiator...no matter how many other toys they buy him!
Munchkin Munchkin was found by Amanda in the road dodging traffic outside of a pizza shop. He was abandoned, but had obviously been someone’s pet at one time because he was neutered. His hair was extraordinarily long and it took two days to remove the briars, fleas, and mats from his coat. He was estimated by the vet to have lived in the woods alone for about four months sustaining injury to his throat and left knee. Amanda’s therapist noticed her taking Munchkin for a nail trim at a groomer who is located above the therapist’s office and said she could bring him in the next time she had an appointment. Amanda had been looking into getting a service dog for a few years and mentioned to her therapist that her neighbor trains dogs for therapy and could train Munchkin for skills that suit Amanda’s needs. Soon, Amanda’s therapist prescribed Munchkin to her and she registered him as her service animal. The two are inseparable.
Ned Ned was adopted by Nikki from the Delaware County shelter in 2011. He was estimated to be around one year old at the time of his adoption, which makes him about four now. Ned was found alone on the street with matted fur and he was very fearful of people. The shelter suspects he was dumped off somewhere/abandoned. Ned is a sweet, snuggly boy who likes to sleep under the covers. He has a collection of dinosaur toys and loves treats and laser pointers. Heâ€™s scared of most people and things, but once he warms up he is the sweetest pup. Ned lives with two other cats, Luna and Mara.
Luna Nikki adopted Luna from her local veterinarian in Upper Darby in 2010. At the time, she had one cat and wanted another and her vet showed her a kennel at the back of his office where he houses strays and abandoned animals. Luna was in a cage next to a kitten, so maybe she knew she had to work extra to get Nikki’s attention because she cried and reached out to her through the cage. Not only that, but her beautiful blue eyes immediately drew her attention. And she just loved her little crinkle ear! Nikki adopted her on the spot. Luna is the queen of the universe, or so she’d like to think. She goes crazy for seafood Fancy Feast cans and often steals her sister’s food. She loves to play with crinkly or rattling toys. She is often seen snuggling with her humans at night, although she denies this ever happens.
Spot Spot was part of a litter that an elderly woman could no longer care for anymore. Taun’a Budd learned through family that a home was needed and she adopted the little brown Chihuahua with a little white spot on the tip of his tail. Taun’a’s daughter Becca adopted his littermate, Chloe. “Spot is a mathematical dog. You see, he puts down 3 and carries the 1.” This is a joke Dave likes to make, referring to Spot’s limp. One day Merle and Spot were chasing each other around the house when Spot slipped and did the splits on the floor, dislocating a hind knee. It was surgically repaired with pins, but he still favors it and often holds it up while walking and running. Spot is always cold and loves to be covered up in a blanket on your lap. He lives with another Chihuahua, Merle, featured next, in rural Arkansas overlooking a beautiful pond and forest where he chases crows and barks at deer who come up to the feeders that his guardians place for them.
Merle Merle lives with Spot, featured previously, and Taun’a and David Budd in rural Arkansas. They had learned of a woman who was needing homes for Chihuahuas and went to check it out. On the way, they noticed a sign advertising Chihuahuas and stopped to take a look. They were horrified at what they found. A woman led them to an ammonia-reeking, windowless storage building crammed with pens for holding mother dogs with puppies. In one pen was a mother Chihuahua and three babies. The woman said she already had deposits on the females but not the male. Not wanting to patron a puppy mill, Taun’a and David left. After leaving and adopting Spot from the woman who could not care for him, Taun’a and David got home but could not stop thinking about the little blue-eyed puppy in the disgusting conditions. They decided to go back for the puppy and report the breeder to the authorities. Law enforcement stepped in and shut the breeder down. Merle loves wedging himself between David and the recliner watching sports and sharing powdered doughnuts. He and Merle love chasing wildlife in their backyard going on long car rides.
Rusty Rusty was discovered by Anna living in a trash pile at a dumping site where she manages a feral cat colony. This means she volunteers to trap, sterilize and release the cats, take care of their vaccines and provide food and parasite control medication. Anna had spotted the small dog darting across the lot a couple of times before but was unable to get close to her. Figuring the dog had taken up residence at the trash site and was not going anywhere, Anna decided to be patient and eventually the dog would realize she not only came with food, but that she was not a harmful presence. After several weeks of gentle persistance, Anna was able to coax the little wiry-haired dog into a carrier loaded with food. Rusty was vetted, sterilized, fed and vaccinated. She adopted Rusty as soon as she was well. This was in 2011. The veterinary staff fell in love and almost didnâ€™t want to see her leave! Rusty now lives with a Schnauzer mix and four other cats. The six of them cuddle together in a bid mass of fur and limbs.
Pia and Turkey were found together in North Philly and were put into foster care. Their guardian, Chelsea, actually contacted their foster mom about a different cat she was looking to place, but by the time Chelsea emailed her the cat had found a home, so she asked if sheâ€™d be willing to take two cats. She included a picture of Pia and Turkey when they were just a few weeks old, and of course as soon as she saw them she knew she wouldn't be able to say no. She adopted them in October 2012. They still have all the energy of kittens. They race around the apartment as fast as they can, play fight all the time, and want to investigate everything. It's exhausting and adorable. Their personality differences were obvious from the very first day Chelsea took them home. Pia is a bit cleverer. She is an amazing climber and can get anywhere. She's a monkey cat. She's also a bit more of a lap cat, but she doesn't like to be picked up and cuddled-- she squirms her way out of your arms. But she's got the brains and the quiet dignity. Turkey is the big, dumb, lovable one. He's a little more of a crowd-pleaser. One of Chelseaâ€™s favorite things is to see him try to drink out of the sink. He hasn't quite mastered it. He sticks his entire head under the stream of water, and then drinks the runoff from his own head. But he's got a really satisfyingly fat belly, and a really expressive face. They're both incredibly well socialized, for which she gives credit entirely to their foster mom. They're never afraid of strangers, and they really like being around people. They get really wound up when Chelsea leaves them alone for too long.
Desi & Rio
This is the story of my own companions, Desdemona and Rio. I worked as a veterinary technician in Wichita Falls, TX when a man dropped off two kittens to be spayed. He never returned for them and we discovered that the personal information he left us was false. His intentions were to dump these cats on us from the beginning. We decided to board them for as long as we could and try to find them homes. Everyone on staff at the clinic had several pets already so all looked to me to adopt them...but I was a dog person through and through. It will never happen, I told them. Cats are creepy and aloof. I don’t like them. After a month our clinic desperately needed the cage space. Living in a rural area means kittens are a dime a dozen and homes were never found. We all made the tough decision to euthanize them. I took the little grey one out of her cage and held her arm out to receive the needle of the fatal injection. To this day I think Dr. Gibson was lollygagging with the syringe on purpose in an effort to break me...and it worked. “Stop. Stop, stop, stop. Ugh, I’ll take her. And her sister, too.” The entire clinic resounded in one big ‘I told you so”. That was 14 years ago and they have been the only constantly positive things in my life during that time. Desi likes to snuggle under the covers. Anytime I am feeling blue, I know I can count on her to vibrate and rumble loudly and make me forget my troubles, which is cheaper than Paxil, so it’s very useful. She is very clumsy and spills any drink you have sitting out. She also has a habit of eating stupid things like rubber bands and Christmas tree tinsel which I am sure one day will cause her demise. She enjoys being petted on the ground but picking her up results in a blitzkrieg of clawing and squealing so I only do that a little bit. Rio is not very social but that only means that her cuddles are all the more valuable. She mainly likes to crawl atop your chest in bed and knead for 20 minutes then situate into a loaf. This is usually when she sneezes in my face. Rio is very beautiful so she doesn’t need to be sweet. She is a night caterwauler and a hearty barfer. She likes hanging out at the window clicking at all the birds she wishes she could murder.