These stories are the winners of the Fur-Ever Family Photo & Story Contest. They each won $500 in cash and $2,000 in cash and supplies for their favorite shelter. Thanks to all the entrants for submitting their stories, and congratulations to the winners and their chosen shelters!
Do you know that empty feeling you get when you feel like something is missing in your life? That is the same feeling our family got when we lost our beloved matriarch cat about eight years ago. We were lost, we tried to fill the void with three different rescue felines, but, no disrespect to them, they just weren’t our Cybil. Then out of nowhere, a rescue dog comes into our lives and saves us all.
The love that we gave him came back one hundred fold, and he healed our family and even brought extended members closer together.
Champ made our family complete and then proceeded to make it better by helping us all work together with a common goal. He was the missing cog that makes the whole family run smoothly, and we all are better because of him. He filled the hole and now we all are overflowing and complete.
Submitted by Mike Duenke in support of Stray Rescue of St. Louis.
As a lifelong animal lover, I always dreamed of having a farm in the country where I could rescue as many animals as I wanted. I am now living my dream. Of course, a lot of animals means a lot of care, and I do have to work, so I don’t have as many as my childhood dreams imagined. Still, I’m blessed to be able to care for the ones I do, and between the retired horses, stray cats, rescue dogs, and chickens and ducks running around, there are still a LOT of animals! They are all family.
Sadly, 2022 is ending with fewer, as several of my beloved pets have passed due to age-related illness. They are like family, and it’s always devastating to me. I took the loss of my old rescued shepherd especially hard. I knew other dogs would come along in the future, but I was far from ready to open my heart again.
Then I was notified of a litter of Malinois Shepherd puppies found in a dumpster. American Belgian Malinois Rescue had taken them in and were looking for adopters. I offered to help screen applicants and overnight the puppies on their transport. There was one little black brindled male that was still looking for his forever family. He had been sickly and spent a week at the vet.
Fast forward a few months. The black brindled male is still here, healthy, and rambunctious. Over the years, I have rescued/transported/fostered countless dogs, but this one has stayed. He is now part of my family, and my heart is healing. I will never forget my old shepherd, but a family’s love has no limits.
Submitted by Dana MacLean in support of American Belgian Malinois Rescue.
They say that sometimes the dog you just lost knows what you need to help heal the hole in your heart, and has a paw involved in who your next best friend might be. Maisie did just that. She knew what we needed.
Maisie was a redline Airedale, which meant that she had a hard, wiry, jet black and russet-colored coat. A few stray grey hairs could be found here and there in the jet black saddle on her back. Maisie was also taller than our other Airedale, Tucker.
In comes Harris, our new Airedale boy, who came to us in Michigan all the way from Arkansas.
When I first saw Harris, I knew that Maisie picked him out for us. He was also a redline Airedale and was taller than Tucker, and even though Harris was only 2-years-old, he also had the stray grey hairs in his jet black saddle. In addition to all of that, he had the same cute ear fold that our senior boy, Duke, had. We had lost Duke only a year prior. I didn’t expect what happened next.
Harris turned out to be quite the clown and had us laughing again in no time. When we leave the house, even if it is just to take the trash out, he has to greet us at the door with a toy in his mouth. It is so funny to watch him scurrying around to locate just the right toy before he comes up to us with his tail wagging. We have since made sure that Harris has plenty of toys around.
When Harris sleeps, he likes to roll over on his back, showing his belly, with his head curled around to the side, ears flat on the ground and a big smile on his face.
Harris also likes to get as close as he can to his human dad, even if it means nearly falling off the couch. This certainly does not look comfortable, but to Harris, it is heaven.
Harris certainly brings joy to our house again, and we can’t thank Maisie and Duke enough for bringing him to us.
Submitted by Lynn O’Shaughnessy in support of Starting Over Airedale Rescue.