Those who have never had a dog can never understand the emotional attachment one develops to these four-legged family members.

I bought Pancho, my little chihuahua, when he was 6 weeks old.  The breeder would have kept him as a prize-winning show dog if he (the puppy that is) were not a monorchid, having only one descended testicle.

Pancho barely weighed one pound at the time, and his weight never exceeded four or five pounds.

I am an entertainer, a circus performer and comedian and travel extensively.  I had to go to Europe with the Harlem Globetrotters as their halftime entertainment, so Pancho stayed with his “grandparents” (my mom and dad) for several months.  My dad was able to teach him a number of tricks that even impressed some of my friends who were professional dog trainers.

When Pancho was 13 years old, he was not feeling well and we took him to the veterinarian in Pennsylvania.  I was holding Pancho in my arms when the doctor announced that Pancho would need surgery for severe constipation. It was as if Pancho heard him and panicked.  He looked me in the eyes and died of a heart attack in my arms.  This was way back in 1985 and I still dream that Pancho is alive and playing with me.  All I have left of him is his collar and a framed snapshot on the wall…and some fond memories.

— Pat from Mission, TX

Skylla & Bella

In September 2010, while enjoying the end of summer, my husband and I were aimlessly cruising around the lake.  He turned to me and said he thought he saw a puppy on shore, so we headed that way to take a closer look.  The shoreline where we were headed was several miles from any homes or roads.  As we approached, TWO of the smallest, scrawniest puppies I had ever laid eyes on came bounding out of the woods, jumped in the water and swam straight for us! Our engines were still running and we were still under-way, about 20 feet offshore.  My husband and I made eye contact and we both immediately knew what was to come next.  I jumped in the water and handed him the puppies one at a time.  They were covered in fleas and ticks, and completely emaciated.  Ribs and hip bones were clearly visible.  We cut our weekend short and brought them home.  The vet said they probably would not have lasted another night on their own, and I later found out that my vet was surprised they survived at all even after their first initial visit to him!  They are both girls, Skylla and Bella, and are the most amazing dogs I’ve ever owned.  They both have their own unique personalities and lots of it! I can honestly say, I’m not sure if we rescued them, or if they rescued us!  The incredible joy and love they have brought to our home…. there just aren’t words to describe.

— Rebecca from Birmingham, AL



My dog, Rudy saved my life! Six years ago I was severely injured, fully handicapped afterward and left in a terrible state of constant pain. Eventually, I began to consider ending my life. My wife was starting to see through it and became very worried about me. Then, she brought home a little Doxie puppy suddenly and told me I had to help take care of him while she was working.or we would have to give him up. I have always loved hound dogs and my wife knew I had a special place in my heart for my childhood hunting dog, Boots. A standard Doxie that shadowed me  everywhere and was my best friend in the world untill he died at age six.. Even at school! he would show up and sit under my desk not making a sound for hours. The teacher never knew he was there most of the time. I was crushed when he died I just knew I would never find another dog like Boots. Well, I was wrong…Rudy rules!

— Robert from Bloomington, IL



Twenty years ago I was pretty well messed up in a job related circumstance. I was a lineman working out of a bucket truck, just back from repairs. The repairs were faulty, causing me to be carried into power lines. The hot line hit the top of my head and the boom hit the neutral. According to medical reports, I had 186,000 volts applied and fell 24 feet to land on my head in the back of the truck. The results were over 3 years of constant operations and the loss of the left arm. According to the experts I also developed electrically induced MS on top of all that.

When I was injured, I had a magnificent border collie who was my best friend. He lived to 16 years. According to the vet, the usual lifespan is 12 years. I was really torn up by his loss. I was still grieving when a friend brought me a little 7 week old puppy. She was a mix between a Chow and an American Eskimo. That was an unintended mating as the dogs were registered and were to be bred to breed. The litter was undesired. I do not know what happened to the rest of the litter, but this little 2 1/2 pound girl became the love of my life. Since I could rarely get out, we were together nearly all the time. My grandchildren grew up with her, and loved her dearly. That love was returned many times over. She and I became extremely close. She was always there to let me know she was watching over me. She thought she was my little mother I think. She made life worth living. She even learned when the MS flareups were coming and would let me know with enough warning to prepare for them. She was a bossy little thing, always letting me know exactly what would make her happy. She was a loving little thing, constantly reminding me not to listen to the doctors who kept giving me promises that my death would be soon. She made life a marvel of love.

We always slept together. She eventually got to where she could not jump up on the bed. We started doing it a bit differently. She would take a running start, and I would give her a midair boost to get on the bed. That took trust! That lasted for a good while, but even that became too much for us. I could sleep on the bed and she could not get near, so when she was twelve, the bed was no longer used. I would sleep in chairs with her lying on my feet. Eventually age was gaining on her and she had to go out about every 2 hours or so. I spent two years getting very short naps, never more than 3 hours sleep, but she was my baby and worth it.

By now she was 14 years and eleven months, exactly 1 month shy of 15 years. She was a little wobbly walking sometimes but still very loving. Two days ago she started not feeling well. By this morning she was very weak and could not stand up, even with help. It took me a good while, but I finally got her into the car, on the way to the vet. She never moved. At the vet, they carried her in and laid her on the floor. The vet examined her and said that she was just worn out. According to him, the kindest thing to do was to put her to sleep. I would have gladly given her half my time on earth so that we could stay together, or died in her place. I have made that decision once before with my collie. It got no easier the second time. I lay on the floor holding her. She could barely raise her head. Still those beautiful little eyes looked up at me with love and trust. And I betrayed her. I did not know what else to do. She was suffering and would never get better. And I betrayed her.

I held her as they gave her the first shot, the sedative. I held her, talking to her, tickling her chest and belly just the way she liked for me to do. They had to give her a second sedative shot. She was becoming groggy as she licked mt hand the for the last time. She was finally tranquilized and out. At this time they said it was time for the last shot. I am 63 years old and yet I was crying as a child. They inserted the needle. As they pushed in the plunger, I thought my heart would burst. She took her last breath. Her little body was limp. My little 40 pounds of love and trust were no more.

My stepbrother helped me bury her. The vet offered to “dispose” of the body. I brought her home.

Her name is Becky. She died July 20, 2012. Her birthday was August 20. She would have been 15 years old. In Her lifetime, we were apart 4 nights. Once when she was spayed and stayed overnight at the vet. The other 3 nights were when I was in the hospital. Each of those nights, she had a babysitter. This is the first night in over 14 years that she is not here with me. I miss her so much that it is tearing my heart out.

— Jim from Knoxville, TN

Lily & Jasmine

We rescued a wonder mastiff by the name of Lily. She was our first Mastiff rescue. We fell in love with her and she wilth us. She was smart and affectionate. Her best friend in the world was her sister Jasmine (out boxer). Lily died of cancer Oct 31 2009 and Jasmine died in her sleep on Dec 26th 2010. It was getting to the point where the kids did not want to celebrate holidays. I can’t say I blame them. Even though we lost two of the best dogs in the world we knew there were more dogs in need out there. We now have another Mastiff and a Black and Tan. It might sound cold but we will continure adopting dogs as long as there are dogs to adopt.

— William from Summerville, SC


I recently dog-sat for a friend of mine while she was having some surgery done. The dog was named Roo. Well two weeks go bye and she calls me up and wants to know if I could be his new owner. Turns out she never asked if she could have an animal in her rented home and her landlord threatened her with eviction if it wasn’t gone in a day. I asked my landlord and the answer was a resounding NO! Well to bad for her that I was on a month to month lease and really grew fond of the little guy. It was hard and financially crippling, but I moved out of my place and into a new one, just so he wouldn’t go to the pound. I had to change his name to Rooster though, a little more fitting I personally think. I have no regrets what so ever, as he is now my best friend and the best dog a person could have. Thanks for all that you do for animals Mark. If it wasn’t for listening to you and your passion for animals, I wouldn’t have been so motivated to make sure he had the right home…with me!!

— Benjamin from Colorado Spring, CO