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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

14 of the Sweetest Pet Adoption Stories of 2018 (So Far!)

Love comes in all shapes and sizes—sometimes with four paws and a tail, other times with two legs and a beak!

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KitteenCourtesy Jesse Loury


Last winter, Jesse thought she had found the perfect kitten to adopt. She excitedly hurried to the shelter to pick up her new furball only to find out once she got there that the kitten she had her eye on had already been adopted. She was disappointed but decided to take a look at the kittens who were available for adoption. One that caught her eye was a tiny tabby that had been abandoned at a veterinarian’s office with an upper respiratory infection. The kitten was super affectionate and immediately jumped into Jesse’s lap. It was love at first sight! The kitten, christened Kitteen, runs to greet Jesse every night when she gets home and he doesn’t let her out of his sight once she’s there. Turns out Kitteen was the purr-fect match for Jesse after all! Find out the signs that your cat is secretly mad at you.

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ElmoCourtesy Danny & Ron's Rescue


Prior to Danny and Ron of Danny & Ron’s Rescue stepping up, Elmer’s life was horrific, traumatic, and filled with abuse through neglect. When the two found the dachshund, his jaw was broken and his eyes were crusted over. They took Elmer to Danielle Mendelsohn, DVM,  at the Hospital for Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery where she was able to skillfully rebuild and save a portion of his jaw. After Elmer recovered, he was adopted by Val Evans, a staff member of Danny & Ron’s Rescue. Today, happy, healthy, and undeniably adorable, Elmer is competing in the senior division of dachshund races—he recently won third place at the East Tennessee Dachshund Races in Knoxville! Learn more about Danny & Ron’s Rescue in the documentary Life in the Doghouse.

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MagnusCourtesy Michaela Baltasar Feyen


As a cat lover, Michaela couldn’t pass up the chance to sip coffee at a cat café while on a weekend getaway. She certainly didn’t plan to do more than enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee in the company of adorable cats but then a buff ginger tabby started nuzzling her. The café worker told her the cat had just arrived prior to being in and out of shelters its whole life. Michaela left but couldn’t stop thinking about the cat and adopted him the next day. She bought a cat carrier and got him to the vet in just enough time for their flight back home! Michaela says Magnus is a lovebug and tends to drool when excited—luckily, not in her coffee! These are the signs that your cat trusts you.

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AthenaCourtesy the Leary Family


In June 2015, the Houston SPCA rescued Athena and 206 other horses from a hoarding situation, where the animals were malnourished and neglected. She spent three years in intense rehabilitation and training, before being adopted in July 2018 by the Leary family. Athena not only found a new human family that adores her but also a friend in their Great Dane, Otis. Athena nibbles on his neck and rubs her cheek on him. The friendship is mutual and heartwarming to watch when Otis darts out the door every morning to greet her. Athena certainly found greener pastures with the Leary family.

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DukeCourtesy PETA


As part of PETA’s investigation into a PetSmart store in Nashville, PETA’s undercover agent spotted a guinea pig who had an infection that caused a crusty yellow discharge from his eyes. Despite the eyewitness’s repeated pleas over the course of a month, the store manager admitted he never intended to take Bo for veterinary care. PETA’s representative finally brought the guinea pig to a veterinarian, who prescribed antibiotics. Afterward, a PETA staffer adopted Bo and renamed him Duke. He finally has a loving human to pet and hold him and will never be neglected or forgotten again.

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EloiseCourtesy Houston SPCA


Eloise was a tiny two-pound kitten, found on the street bleeding from her nose and breathing rapidly before she was brought into the Houston SPCA. Her pupils were two different sizes, which usually indicates some kind of head trauma—the best guess of the Houston SPCA’s veterinary staff was that Eloise was hit by a car! After receiving life-saving care, the cute little kitten slowly regained her health and was eating and purring. Eloise was adopted into the loving home of Selina and Alexandria and won’t be darting out in traffic again. Every cat parent should know these signs of cat cancer.

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leoCourtesy Houston SPCA


Leo was covered in mange when he was rescued by the Houston SPCA 24-hour animal ambulance. Fortunately, his foster mom, Judy, took incredible care of him and he made a full recovery. Now he’s healthy and happy and sporting a beautiful new coat. His new parents Veronica and Pablo give credit to God and the Houston SPCA for Leo coming into their life and are happy to report that he is living large and bringing joy to his new family. These 19 rescue dog transformations will melt your heart!

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CrackersCourtesy PETA


We know what you’re thinking: A mouse pet adoption? But this adorable little guy is just as lovable and fun as a hamster. A PETA eyewitness investigation discovered Crackers and other animals in dire conditions during an investigation of neglect and widespread animal suffering at a PetSmart store in Arizona. One of the animals found who appeared not to be receiving much-needed veterinary attention was this beautiful brown mouse who had a pus-filled growth as big as a blueberry. Crackers found a home with a PETA staff member and, today, is a big fan of stretching out in his loft and building nests of shredded paper. Hey, even the White House has been home to some non-traditional pets. Check out these famous first pets.

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BillsCourtesy Houston SPCA


Bill was a helpless, tiny little chick when he was found wandering around all by himself cheeping for attention. He was brought into the Houston SPCA, where the veterinarian and animal care staff nurtured him. Before you knew it he was cheeping his way into everyone’s hearts, including Taylor, his adopter. Today, he’s flourished into a handsome rooster. His family reports that he loves to spend time with his flock, hanging by his pond and even comes inside on really hot days to cool off in the A/C with a treat! Companionship isn’t the only upside of having a pet, these health benefits may surprise you!

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PrincessCourtesy PETA


Princess sure wasn’t living in royalty when PETA fieldworkers found her. In fact, PETA visited her for years, giving her fresh water and food, cleaning her pen, and treating her for fleas all while meeting with resistance from Princess’s uncooperative owner every step of the way. Her conditions never got better until the day PETA visited and found Princess’ pen mate was dead from what turned out to be untreated heartworm disease. The police came and animal control officers confiscated Princess. Now she has her own human royal family and a castle fit for a princess! Stumped on what to name your pup? Check out these popular dog names.

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Arya and HoundCourtesy PETA

Arya and Hound

PETA staffers first met the intrepid duo while going door-to-door educating people about PETA’s Let’s Fix L.A. project, offering free or low-cost spay/neuter surgeries for dogs and cats in the Los Angeles area. They found the sweet bunny couple in a cage in a stairwell. PETA offered assistance to the owners of the bunnies but a month later, they bunnies were abandoned on PETA’s front doorstep. The pair were checked out by a vet and spayed and neutered. The happy couple now resides with a loving family. Find out the pet combinations most likely to hate each other.

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PoloCourtesy PETA


Little Polo was just ten-weeks-old when he was brought to the Houston SPCA on its 24-hour injured animal rescue ambulance with a serious injury to his tiny tail. Despite his injury, he was quite outgoing and wanted to play with the Houston SPCA staff, but playtime would have to wait until after emergency surgery to remove the damaged tip of his tail. A shorter tail didn’t stop his new cat mom, Angela from falling in love and inviting him into his forever home. These heartwarming cat adoption photos will absolutely make your day!

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VesperCourtesy PETA


Vesper didn’t appear to have much of a future in front of him when he was found tied to a house and in poor health. Houston SPCA vets administered the treatment necessary to take care of his kennel cough and heartworm disease. When he recovered he was adopted by Jessie and Bryan. Even without obedience training, Vesper caught on fast and knows the basics, plus he can give a high-five and put away his own tennis balls! And probably because he was tied up most of his life, he really enjoys his walks now and the freedom to play fetch. It’s a lot easier to train your dog when you know these secrets from dog trainers.

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WalterCourtesy Jill Johnson-Young & Stacie Reedy


Middle-aged Walter couldn’t see much of the future when he was found tied to a tree outside of an animal clinic. He had one eye bulging out of his head and the other was oozy and painful. Luckily, the vet tech that worked at the clinic knew just the person to call to help. Her aunt Jill, a therapist had two poodles of her own, including a rescue. Sure enough, Jill fell in love with Walter. After months of trying to save his eye, it was removed and he suffered major vision loss in his other eye. Yet even with his limited vision, Walter is quite independent and happy. He is in high demand at the office and often sits with clients during their sessions, offering quiet comfort. Find out what vets feed their own dogs to keep them healthy.

Lisa Marie Conklin
Lisa Marie Conklin is a Baltimore-based writer who writes regularly about pets and home improvement for Reader's Digest. Her work has also been published in The Healthy, HealthiNation, The Family Handyman, Taste of Home, and, among other outlets. She's also a certified personal trainer and walking coach for a local senior center. Follow her on Instagram @lisamariewrites4food and Twitter @cornish_conklin.