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Helping to Build a No Kill Nation

Data from a national advertising research firm suggests that one of the best things animal welfare advocates can do is to share the stories of the animals they have adopted into their homes. Their findings have concluded that people who adopt from shelters and rescue organizations are proud of their pets. Too often, however, when bragging up their 4-legged family members, they fail to tell people they adopted the animals, rather than buying them.

Opening promoting the idea of adopting, and connecting the faces of the adopted animals to those stories, they say, can help make the USA a no kill nation.

So here is your opportunity!

Rarely does it work out that a very important task is also very much fun. Therefore, it is really important that we take advantage of those situations when they arise!

I have created this forum topic to provide a space for you to share the happy stories of your adopted pets. Be sure to include photos, videos, etc.

Have a ball and make a difference!

To add your stories, just reply to this topic.

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My family has adopted many, many pets over the years, often times taking in those "special" cases that others would not. Universally, we have found these animals to be those with the greatest gifts to give.

Such was certainly the case with our dog Barney...

Barney was originally rescued with a sibling from a barn at a farm. Barney and his brother were found chained in the barn 2 weeks after the family that had lived there had moved away. Lucky for them, it had been a rainy year. They had survived by drinking rain water that had leaked into the old barn.

Animal Ark rescued the pair and took them in. Barney's brother, who looked much like a purebred Australian Cattle Dog, quickly found a permanent home. Barney wasn't so lucky.

Before I met Barney, he had been adopted and returned to Animal Ark 3 times. People who had adopted Barney said could not be house trained. Yikes. That seemed like a problem!

Even worse, we were at Animal Ark looking for a small terrier-type dog. At 48 pounds, he did not exactly fit the description. Still, there was something about him...

Though he did not fit the description of the dog we were looking for, the shelter manager at Animal Ark encouraged us to look at Barney while we were there. She said he had been adopted and returned, and was very depressed and really needed a home.

Though he was not what we were looking for, it did not take long for Barney to worm his way into our hearts. Within a half hour, we were filling out the adoption paperwork.

Once home, we quickly learned that Barney's bathroom issues were not so much bathroom issues as they were a drinking problem. He was a compulsive drinker. Whenever he saw water, he would drink it. All of it. No matter how much.

We assumed this had something to do with his history, being nearly starved to death in that old barn. If he saw water, he needed to drink it.

Once we realized his "issue", we started measuring his water intake. He was fully house-trained in about 2 days. And, in a very short period of time, he began to realize that food and water were regular resources in his new home, and we were able to leave water out all the time.

Barney was a social guy who loved people and other animals. He was a hugger, a kisser and a snuggler whose sense of humor brought life and light to our home for about 9 years.

Last year Barney developed hemangiosarcoma, an aggressive cancer that quickly spread to both of his lungs.

Though our time with Barney was too short, it was certainly filled with love and laughter while he was with us. We would not be the same family today were it not for the time we spent with this "unadoptable" dog.

Not a day goes by that I do not think about him.
Jake's Story (I'll add pictures later, as I don't have any with right now.)

Jake is my black-and-tan German shepherd mix, who at about a year old, found himself in a kill shelter. He seemed to have had no training, and little socialization, from what I'm told. At any rate, he was wildly energetic to the point of being nearly uncontrollable, and more than a little destructive. As such, his time went up at this shelter without him finding a home. However, a no kill shelter in the area took him in so he wouldn't be put down. He was put into foster care, and taken through several courses of dog training to get him manageable. He was there for three months before I saw him at a Halloween party at a local pet shop, parading around with an "adoptable" jacket on. He was the most beautiful dog I'd ever seen, and I had to say "hi". He promptly walked up to me and rubbed his head on my legs. That was it. It was love at first sight. I somehow convinced my parents to let me adopt him, as I was still in high school at the time. He was my first dog, and has since convinced me that I never, ever want to be without a dog again.

That first year was not all that fun. Jake chewed up everything left within reach, was nearly impossible to walk, and did not listen hardly at all. He was afraid of loud noises and nail clippers. Not to mention he loved to jump, and especially on people. Yet because of this, I had to spend a lot of time training him, and learning to communicate with him, which ultimately resulted in me bonding very deeply with him. That bond only grows deeper with age. I've had him eight years now, and I dare say, I can't imagine having a better dog. At nine years old, he still has the energy to keep up with me (and surpass me!) on our daily walks in the woods, but yet he's perfectly content to come home and snooze on the couch. He loves my two kitties, also rescues, and even knows how to be gentle with rabbits. He is protective of me, but is perfectly friendly with people. In fact, he is in the process of being certified as a canine good citizen right now. He is incredibly smart when it comes to training, and listens very well now. (Some of that was just learning to listen to him as well.) He even lets me trim his nails. He's been through both high school and college graduation with me, and continues to be my constant companion. He has convinced me that all my future dogs (and cats) will also be rescues.

So that is Jake's story, and my plug for shelter pets. The challenges that may come with a rescue are no more than an opportunity to get to know the dog better and bond more deeply with him. I know I sure learned a lot about being able to understand Jake.
Thank you for adding this to your forum. About 2 years ago, a very special kitty named Kyra came into the lives of my husband and I, and I love sharing her story.

It all started in November of 2006, when my husband and I decided to adopt a cat. I went on line to Animal Ark's website, and started looking at pictures, and reading all the sad stories. I proceded made a list of the cats we should visit with. That day we went and visited with all these wonderful kitties, but we were unable to decide on one. We was the last area where we needed to visit, when I heard my husband say " Who is the walking football?" When I looked to see who he is referring to I saw a this little plump white cat. Right away she came up to us, and gave me kisses ( she is quite the kisser) and laid on my husband's lap. Without any discussion, we new she was perfect for our family. We knew we had to adopt her, or did she adopt us?

Kyra's life was hard, she was a stray with frost-bitten ears. She was also locked in a cage for a year with no exercise. But now she is a spoiled princess, and she has everything she could ever want. As long as she has her cat nip toys and a cardboard box ( she loves boxes), she is happy.

She completed our family and continues to bring joy and laughter into our lives. Thank you Animal Ark for giving this wonderful kitty the chance to find her forever home with us.
Our husky, Magic, is an Animal Ark alum. We were looking for a dog, visited the web site and knew she was ours. I drove down that evening, took a little time to get to know her and brought her home. She was left there by a family that was moving. They had obviously cared deeply for her, sending along a bag of toys, and had updated all vaccinations just prior to giving her up.
She was 1 or 2 at the time and came to us wonderfully housetrained. She quickly picked up basic obedience and became an important member of our family.
Now, 6+ years later, Magic is still going strong. She is the perfect friend and companion and we can't imagine life without her. Our free time is often spent creating "adventures" for her--new things to do and places to explore.
We are so lucky to have found her. Thank you to animal ark for giving her a home when she needed it.

Duncan (7) was adopted from Animal Ark almost two years ago (October, officially). Chica (4) was adopted from the Eau Claire County Humane Associated in WI a year ago this September.

Before we had Duncan my boyfriend and I adopted a black lab from the Eau Claire County Humane Association. Unfortunately less than 2 months later he experienced traumatic seizures and did not make it. Not knowing what we wanted to do, I started to look at shelters on line. While every dog for adoption was very tempting, no one was especially catching our eye. Until we came upon Animal Arks adoption page. Duncan needed us almost as much as we needed him.

For anyone that doesn't know Duncan, he lived at Animal Ark for almost 3 years. He had been adopted out once and returned. If Duncan had not been at Animal Ark he would not be with us today. Thanks to Ark staff he not only lived to be adopted by a family that loves him dearly, but they taught him basic skills to being a great companion. Their support of, and interest in, Duncan continues-- just from a little farther away.

After filling out an application and talking to Ark staff, Damon and I made the trip from Eau Claire, WI to Hastings, MN to meet him. The rest of that day is kind of a blur, as it has been almost 2 years (though, I'm sure staff could help me piece it together). He was a little anti social, especially with other dogs. A little protective of his 'stuff'. A little aloof. There was a time when I was nervous to take Duncan outside in case we saw another dog, or a squirrel, or cat, or someone he decided he didn't like. We knew we would never be able to have another dog.

But then he made friends with another family members dog, Buzz. Then with two beagles, Gunner and Tucker. Then with a couple of puppies. Duncan was walking around eager to meet new people, and loving all of the new places we took him. Dunc really does love to travel. We brought him camping, to houses with cats-- we knew that he could take new challenges on, and proved us right every time. We never left him behind because we were worried about his behavior, we just tried to give him a little confidence and a lot of love. There really wasn't anything we weren't willing to work through. Eleven months later we decided it was time for Chica, his sister. We aren't really sure what her breed mix is, but it doesn't really matter. She is a sweet assertive girl that loves her brother...even though he wasn't too enthusiastic about her at first. It took a couple weeks, but she was persistent and convinced Duncan to play with her. Then she crawled into bed with him. Of course, Duncan let her.

Chica was brought to the shelter because her last owners said she wasn't good with kids. I have yet to see any evidence of this as she has spent time with many kids, many different ages. She really was a ready-to-go-pet, so it was hard to imagine she had sat in the shelter for nearly 8 months.

Duncan and Chica play with each other, other dogs, us, and anyone else thats willing. It is impossible to imagine being scared to walk Duncan-- my walks with them are only a happy time of my day. We sometimes go visit the neighborhood nursing home, and always stop to see the kids playing outside. They get to go everywhere we can possible take them (car rides are a fundamental part of their day). Duncan has great off leash skills for Northwoods adventures. Chica is a runner, so she isn't allowed off leash...yet-- but loooves to swim!

I really could continue bragging and talking about my dogs indefinitely, but we can't take all the credit either. Duncan and Chica were already great companions waiting for someone to find them. Everyday I'm glad they were waiting for us. Damon and I love them so much. We will always think of adoption first, and we will never overlook a dog because of behavior issues or age. Because we were willing to put a little work in, we got two of the most special dogs I have ever met, and I don't mean it in a “special needs” kind of way.
There really wasn't enough space to continue as I would have liked. To read more about the adventures of Duncan, and his life in our home you can visit his myspace page at . It was created as a page to keep staff, voulenteers, and fans updated since his adoption. Future updates will most likely be posted here instead, but there will be periodic posts to that page as well. Finding the words to describe the impact of adopting a companion is tough!!

Peanut AKA holly in a nut shell...
So I promised I would share my other ark adoptee with you so here it goes. So one day sitting at home I decide that Bianca needs a buddy as by now my husband had started a day job & I also was working days so I started feeling guilty about leaving her home alone. Well off I went to the shelter to look at a kitten named Tux that I really liked. Went home talked to the husband & a week later went back to adopt Tux! Well I get & am informed that he was adopted just the day before! Well I was determined to go home with a kitten so I went upstairs to look at the other 3 kittens left.

I was sitting there playing with them & this one kitten was obsessed with me rubbin all over my face trying to get in my lap every 5 seconds purring basically putting the works on me. I look at her little bio & find out her name is holly her & her other siblings already adopted at this time were transferred from another facility to Ark. Holly had found herself a home. So as im driving home my husband calls & says did you get tux? Ummm well not exactly more like a holly, a what? He was adopted so i'm coming home with a new kitten oh ok. He gets home we decide to rename her Peanut as she use to be just a little thing.

So Bianca doesn't really like this new addition so we are constantly watching to make sure B is being nice to little Peanut as she ALWAYS wanted to play & Bianca was not so sure about that at first. Their relationship is like this Bianca basically just tolerates her like a little sister & sometimes dubbes Peanut as OK to play with once in awhile. As time goes on I start calling her my little love bug as she has this thing where she will get up in your lap & rub her face into your neck or on your chin. She loves all people whoever comes to the house gets a dose of Peanut love! I have not bought her a toy she does not love even though the laser is her favorite. We have realized that she has amazing jumping skills & can almost scale the walls & up onto places we never thought possible! She does love to get into a lot of trouble but I think its due to her being young & very full of energy.

So all in all we love her & she helps keep Bianca a younger kitty!
We adopted Hasty (nee Rachel), a 7-month old tortie cat, on 9-11-2009. Here it is 9-23 and we are having a ball. After a very short 'scared' period, she is now confidently dashing around the apartment, figuring out how to jump onto the high surfaces (oops) and not quite understanding why she can't catch the wigglies in our large fish tanks. Best of all, she quickly became buddies with our 13-year old male (Louie) who just spent a mopey couple of months with no feline companion. He is making her braver & wiser (and cleaner, in his opinion, apparently) and she is definitely making him younger.

I don't want to sound like a newbie know-it-all, but I say shelter cats have a lot of advantages for people considering adoption. Plus, I do realize Hasty is a youngster. But we have taken in a few cats (from friends and strays) over the years. Hasty is our first shelter cat - what a difference! Because she shared a room with others in the shelter, she was already socialized to other cats. The various noises of the dogs and whatnot made it so she quickly gets over loud strange sounds. She happily approaches people, always assuming that humans bring wonderful petting and treats. And of course, the vet care and medical history was reassuring.

We are so happy to have a new family member and look forward to many great years. I'll keep you posted.


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