Pet rescue stories

Jul 16, 2009 at 7:56 a.m. ET

Firefighters. Doctors. Animal foster families. What do these people have in common? They are the world's real-life heroes. Likewise, the volunteers who dedicate their time at animal shelters, the foster families who care for hurt and abandoned animals, and those who adopt pets from rescues and shelters are heroes for our four-legged friends. These people give homeless animals a second lease on life. And what do they get in return? Something that money cannot buy -- the love, loyalty and dedication of a pet that is forever grateful. Here we share some real-life animal rescues and heroes.

Saving Gracie

Barb Savoy is not just a volunteer and director of public relations for Friends for Life animal shelter in Arizona, she is a foster mom as well. The organization has a wide network of foster families who care for the dogs and cats that are brought to the shelter needing medical attention and an environment a little more calming than that of the busy shelter. Barb began foster-caring for a 5-month-old border collie brought to Friends for Life by the Phoenix Police Department on a brutally hot July day. The dog was covered in ticks, and her hair was terribly matted. She was believed to have tick fever and possibly stress-related illnesses due to extreme heat exposure, as well. After about six to eight weeks, she fully recuperated. Now, she is a happy, healthy dog. Barb became so attached that she adopted the dog, which she named Gracie, and has been her loving mom for four years now.


Rescuing Rocket

Almost a year ago, a mixed breed believed to be a cattle dog mix was brought into the care of Friends for Life Animal Shelter after being intentionally abandoned in a rural area of Queen Creek, Arizona. The puppy's pads were worn off his paws, and he was emaciated. According to Savoy, the organization as well as a foster family helped heal his wounded paws and put some weight back on his scrawny frame. Once Rocket, as the foster family named him, fully recovered, the family decided to adopt him. Kathy Dunham, Rocket's mom, says, "I can honestly say that my life would not be the same without him. He has quite a personality."



Feeding Samson

Samson the cat was recently abandoned in a box in front of HALO Animal Rescue, a no-kill, 501c3 non-profit organization in Phoenix, Arizona, which was founded by animal lovers Michel and Heather. Samson was starving, his fur was badly matted, and his teeth were so infected that he had to have all of them except his fangs removed so he could eat without pain. He was adopted soon after recovering to the point where he can even eat dry cat food! He has adjusted well to his new home with a loving mom.


Heaven for Desoto

DeSoto came to HALO Animal Rescue in need of knee reconstruction, a common necessity among small breed dogs. He underwent the knee surgery at HALO and was quickly adopted by a loving family — with cats! His mom says, "For such a little dog, DeSoto sure does snore! I really wish I could send you a wav file [be]cause it's absolutely hilarious! The sheet on the couch is his leopard-print silk sheet that he loves to scratch around [on] and make a nest out of. We were doing the laundry one day and laid it on the couch until we could fold it up and it's been his ever since. The bed in the corner of the couch is the one we bought for him, but I guess he prefers silk -- so the cats inherited [the bed]."

More touching pet stories

Reasons we love our pets
Amazing rescues by doggy heroes
Pets who saved their owner's lives