Animal Rescue Stories

Read heartfelt stories of rescue, and share your rescued animal stories with others.

Family evacuates from fire just in time for cat to give birth

Family evacuates from fire just in time for cat to give birth

On August 21, a family in Puyallup, Washington was forced to evacuate their home due to a nearby building fire with their pregnant foster cat. The family was fostering Moon, a pregnant cat from the Humane Society for Tacoma & Pierce County who was due to give birth anytime.

“We woke up Saturday morning to a ‘Go Now’ evacuation order. We got the kids dressed and put Moon in her carrier,” said Rebecca Thompson, Moon’s foster parent. “We didn’t know when we could go back to the house. We decided to just find a room for the night.”

Thompson and her family settled into a room at the La Quinta hotel in Federal Way, Washington. Within the hour, Moon started to go into labor.

“We all joked that tonight would be the night she would have her babies. Sure enough, I noticed her having contractions within the hour and she was not going to give up her cozy bed. My 12-year-old son and I got some towels under her,” explains Thompson.

Within a few hours, Moon had given birth to five healthy babies and one stillborn. Moon and her babies are back in their foster home doing well. For the foster family, it's an experience they’ll never forget.

“This is the third year we have fostered through the shelter,” said Thompson. “This was an incredible experience for our family, and definitely one we will remember! We checked in with one cat, and checked out with six!”

Lindsey Heaney

Our beloved Steele

Our beloved Steele

We lost our lab three days before. It was quiet and lonely in our house. So we stopped by the ARL just to "look". There was this large black lab that had been there approx. a month that had been transferred to the ARL from a smaller county. He had been looked at and bypassed several times. He sat to the back of the kennel.

We asked to meet and greet him. In the small room he was disconnected walking in circles. We asked to take him out to see if he walks on a leash. We walked back and forth a few times. I stopped, cupped his face in my hands and asked him "do you need us as much as we need you".

My husband wasn't convinced he was ready so we left to think about it. The dog wouldn't go back into his kennel, dug his feet in as not to move so the associate coerced him with hotdogs. We headed to the University for an event and went to the campus book store where my husband approached me with a dog collar. It was decided, we would pick him up.

Upon our return to the ARL, the lab was in a room with a family with three young boys. "Steele" spotted us and ran to the window hysterically barking. We walked away from the window so the family can have their moment. An associate approached us and asked if we needed help. We told her we came back to pick up the large black lab but it was in a room with a family. The tag was still on the kennel door so she grabbed the tag and ran it to the front office. He had chosen us.

We trained and he and I became a certified therapy team. He passed 10 years later leaving another hole in our hearts.


Surviving Parvo

Surviving Parvo

I rescued Matrix my black lab when he was 8 weeks old. Three days after I got him, I had to rush him to the vet as he had diarrhea with blood, felt really cold and could hardly get up. The vet did tests and came back with bad news that he had parvo. Well I asked how bad he was and he was on deaths door. The vet gave him medication and gave me some to give to him and he put a morphine patch on his tailbone for the pain and let me take him home. He told me to bring him back in five days to take the patch off but the way he said it he didn’t think he’d survive.

Put his crate in the living room by the couch. My golden retriever slept with his head in the crate and one of my cats slept with him in the crate. Well, five days later I took him back to the vet where he shocked everyone. He is a fighter but the best thing is he had no side effects.

This is my boy now at age 11.5 yrs old.

Saskia Ferwerda
Winnipeg, Canada

The Littlest Whale

The Littlest Whale

My daughter and I were taking a road trip down the Baja Peninsula in Mexico to go whale-watching and stopped in a small town for lunch. We tried to get directions to the beach but got lost and ended up in a pretty remote area and we had run out of road.

As I was turning the car around, I noticed something moving in the bushes. I got out of the car found a tiny puppy. Teeny tiny! Super skinny and covered in fleas and ticks with some sort of gooey nonsense in her eyes. She could not have been more than five or six weeks old and completely alone!

We looked for a while to see if mom and litter mates were nearby but nothing. We had some cottage cheese and turkey in the cooler so we fed her and gave her some water and she looked up at me with those sweet puppy eyes and that was it - I was taking her with us!
In an effort to contain the bugs, we cleaned out the cooler, put some paper towels in it and sat her down. We drove to the town's grocery store and bought food and flea shampoo and went behind the store to bathe her at a spigot. She was not happy but we began the long process of getting all of those fleas and ticks off her.

We went on our way after visiting a garage sale that miraculously had a small wire crate and a collar and leash! When we finally got to a hotel, we had a chance to feed her, play with her and thoroughly enjoy our new little passenger. She came with us to the whale camp and was a huge hit with the other whale-watchers!

We decided to name her Ballena which is Spanish for whale. She is seven years old and 65 pounds now and the love of my life and constant companion! She is also a registered, working therapy dog visiting patients at a local behavioral health hospital once a week! I think bringing that puppy home from Mexico was one of the BEST ideas I ever had!

Michelle Malka Steinberg



The wife saw him. It was raining. He was crouched down on the white stripe in the middle of the road. Approx. 6-7 weeks old. She turned around and stopped traffic and grabbed him. He was ok. He snuggled against her chest. She took him to the vet. He was healthy and in good condition. He now lives with us and gets into Everything !!!


Forever my girl

Forever my girl

Fourteen years ago, my mom and I went into the shelter to pick out a puppy for her. While she was cuddling her choice, she made the comment that I needed to pick out one for myself so the pups would grow up together. That's when I met my Fur Elise - the runt of a litter of nine.

They were an owner surrender, and all they knew was that momma was a Giant Schnauzer. She bonded with me immediately, and through the years she has gone to numerous Victorian and Steampunk fashion shows. She also played foster Mom to the five service dogs we raised, and spent many years visiting patients in nursing homes as a certified therapy dog.

She is now mostly "retired" since at roughly 88 human years old she is coping with arthritis and losing her sight and her hearing. I don't know how much time we have left together, but she will forever be my girl.

Nancy A Smith

Rescued Princess:  Willow

Rescued Princess: Willow

While on a walk in November 2002, I heard a meow in the woods at the entrance of our subdivision. I walked home and returned with food and milk to entice a small calico kitten to come near me. I was able to catch her and take her home.

I named her Willow after the Disney (R) movie "Willow", in which a baby princess was found abandoned in the woods and because the markings on her head resembled a W. She was afraid of every thing at first. After two weeks, we knew she was 'home' when she climbed up on our bed and slept on my husband's face.

She remained afraid of company for many years and was called "the lump" as she would quickly hide (and stay) under bedspreads anytime company was in the house. Over time, she lost her fear of family visitors and accepted other rescue cats/kittens that we adopted.

She would often climb on our bed in the early hours of the morning, then would touch me on my face or pat my head to see if I would pet her or get up and feed her an early breakfast. Every evening, she would nap on the couch and periodically wake up and insist on a little petting then go back to her nap. Every year, she would climb and hide in our Christmas tree so we learned to anchor the tree top to nearby door frames using fishing line.

In June 2021, her vet suspected that she had a tumor in her bladder. We were crushed after the diagnosis was confirmed. Surgery and chemotherapy were not an option. She only lasted 8 weeks post diagnosis, but through it all she loved getting attention and treats. We are heart broken to have lost her, but are so glad we found her. She gave us years of joyful memories.

I miss her early morning wake up calls and her evening naps/petting. She will always be our precious princess, Willow.

N Dailey
Alabama, AL

Lucy is living the life she deserves

Lucy is living the life she deserves

My beautiful 12 year-old Rotweiller/Shepard mix unexpectedly crossed the Rainbow Bridge 13 years ago, 10 weeks before my remarriage. I was heartbroken, as Libby had been by my side no matter what happened in my life.

My fiance said he knew I needed to have a dog in my life, but as he was not a dog person per se, this dog would be "my dog". I started looking at dog rescue photos as soon as I returned from a work trip, sending him the ones I thought he might like, too. He finally saw a dog he thought was "fine" and off we went to the Humane Society to see if she was available.

We arrived to find our little dog outside with her brother. Both were scheduled to be put down when rescued by the Humane Society; both had been abused. Our little pup was recovering from surgery as she had foxtails inbedded in both ears. She was adorable. We wanted to take her brother, too, but were unable to do so at that time. As we were filling out the paperwork a mother and her son came to see "our" pup and when learning she was being adopted they adopted her brother.

Lucy talked to us all the way home and vomited all over my fiance's car. Instead of being upset, he didn't say a word and cleaned the car as I took Lucy into the house. I left him with her and went to the local pet store to buy her new dishes, a bed, a crate, etc.

When I got home I found both of them asleep together, with Lucy snuggled on his shoulder. He fell in love with her that day and has spoiled her every day since. She quickly moved from the crate, to a bed alongside our bed, to sleeping with us on our bed.

Lucy talks to us all the time. She rules the house and she rules our hearts. She has "taught" us how to recognize what she wants by the look on her face. She protects our house, but to be honest, she is still afraid of strangers, so her bark really is worse than her bite. She loves her treats, her morning walks with me, laying on the couch pillows and sleeping on our bed. She loves kids - especially our grandkids - tries hard to let strangers pet her (doesn't usually work) and chasing squirrels in our yard.

Sadly, as she is approaching her 14th birthday, her hearing is not good and she has slowed down a bit. But she is still "our girl" and we will continue to spoil her as long as we can.

The sign in our yard says "Rescued is Our Favorite Breed". We encourage everyone to rescue a dog or cat whenever you want to add a sweet soul to your family.

Alabama, AL

From Dog to Cat

From Dog to Cat

I had previously rescued 2 dogs, my second being a Border Collie. As I would walk her in my apartment complex, this tabby would keep coming out from nowhere to walk along beside us. One day I invited the tabby inside. That was it. She made herself right at home, and from that day on I became an avid cat lover.

I looked at Tabatha and said “I have no idea what to do with a cat”, but here I am 15 years later, on my second rescue cat, and volunteering for my third rescue. This is my second cat Midnight. ��

Alabama, AL

Antiques and junk

Antiques and junk

About 10 years ago, I worked at a small antique mall in the Jacksonville, Florida area. A woman called and said she had some things she'd like to sell and thought they were antiques. I consulted with the owner and she wasn't interested, so I agreed to meet with the woman myself.

When I arrived at the residence it was obvious that it was quite a shambles. Three or four dogs greeted me and several kitties were wandering the premises. I looked at what she wanted to sell and quickly determined they were not antiques and actually filthy with pests and who knows what. I kept my thoughts to myself and went to leave, when an adorable little white dog came out from under a table, came up to me, and put his paws on my leg, looking at me as if to say... "PLEASE... PLEASE... PLEASE TAKE ME". When the woman asked me if there was anything that I wanted, I laughed and said, yes I'd take him!

She said, "oh my gosh, please, yes, take him, I can't take care of him anymore"! I was shocked! It took me about a nano-second to pick him up and take him to my car. I thought to myself, I'm nuts! I have two dogs and two cats and I'm raising a teenage daughter by myself.

That little boy was crawling with fleas and his hair was so matted. I gave him 2 flea baths and the fleas were still being stubborn. I got out my dog groomer kit and shaved him up. I'm realizing now that this little guy is a Maltese and a real cutie!

He immediately started playing with my dogs and was as happy as could be. I'm thinking I can't do this, a third dog. But, fate as it is, that afternoon my boss's kitty passed away. She was devastated and inconsolable. I waited a couple of days, she agreed to meet, "Buddy" and it was instant love. I was so happy to have found this little guy his new forever home!

Alabama, AL