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Happy Tails

Here are pictures and stories of just a few of the many animals that have found happy, permanent homes through Animal Friends Rescue Project.

Do you have a happy ending that you'd like to share? Please send it via email or postal mail, along with a photograph of you posing with your Animal Friend!

Susie, a sweet senior pit bull mix had lived a hard life. After being used by a backyard breeder to produce litter after litter of puppies for sale, she was left at the Salinas Shelter when she grew too old to be profitable. With a gentle, easygoing personality and a heart of gold, Susie deserved to spend her remaining years surrounded by comfort and love. As the months passed by without an adopter for Susie, we were starting to get discouraged. But then she met Allyn and her family, and it was magic from the start. Here’s an update:

Dear Animal Friends Rescue Team,

We want to let you know how happy we are that Susie, now called Anush (Armenian for “sweet”) has come into our lives. After losing our beloved Lulu to old age, we wanted to bring another older dog into our home that would be compatible with our 13-year-old Queensland mix, New Mexico. We wanted an older, “hard to adopt” kind of dog, and we had been scanning various rescue and shelter sites for months. When we saw Susie online, there was a feeling that we just had to meet her in person, her face seemed so sweet and gentle.

Long story short, after a few visits and an introduction to New Mexico, we welcomed Susie into our home. She and New Mexico are are buddies. The first night we brought her home, she and New Mexico got on the same bed and nuzzled. The family cats have even given Anush the seal of approval! Best of all, she has become part of the family. This breed often gets a bad rap, but this old girl is a giant lap dog who just wants to be loved.

Thank you Animal Friends Rescue for seeing something special in this girl and for keeping her safe until she could find her way into our lives. Without folks like you and the work your organization does, these great pets wouldn’t have a chance. We love, love, love her!

Thank you again!
A Happy Family in Aromas

Hit by a car and found in a ditch, Odoe came to AFRP last October in need of medical care. Unable to use his front leg due to nerve damage, this sweet Australian Shepherd underwent swim therapy, laser treatments and underwater treadmill sessions (thank you Becky Lewis of Motiv) and improved to the point that he avoided needing amputation surgery.

When an adoption application came in from Laura C. of Aptos, we knew Odoe had found his forever family. A registered vet tech, Laura could not only provide him with a loving home, she could continue to monitor Odoe’s leg and provide him with ongoing physical therapy. Here’s an update from Laura:

Odoe's name is Jax now, and he is doing very well! We had a breakthrough at physical therapy with Becky last January, when Jax started using his foreleg in a "normal" stride in the water tank, without much water. Since that time, he is off and, well, running! I walk him daily around the neighborhood, or on the beach. He uses his leg about 98% of the time. He will still lift it if he gets excited or wants to go fast. However, I did take him on a run and he used it about every four strides in an all out run. I also continue to stretch and massage the limb. Jax gets to go to work with me too, and we walk in Nisene on my lunch break.

As soon as Jax came here, it was like he had always been a member of our family! My five-year-old son loves him, and he is great with my cats. He is so very sensitive and intelligent. And sneaky! He is so food motivated, I cant leave anything within reach. Recently, he finished off a half of an orange which was left on the counter-he managed to eat all the fruit and leave a perfectly intact and empty half of an orange peel! Thanks for allowing this wonderful dog to join our family,


If life is a journey, Blake’s trip has had it’s share of bumpy roads and hairpin turns. Picked up off the streets of Salinas in 2007 as an abandoned kitten and raised in foster care, it wasn’t long before this gentle orange tabby boy was adopted by a young couple. When his family started having children of their own, Blake avoided the noise and chaos of toddlers and found comfort with the elderly grandmother in the household. He laid by her side and was her constant companion until she passed away.

Depressed and unwilling to engage with the young children, Blake spent all his time under the bed and Blake’s family decided they could no longer keep him. After spending some time with his original foster mom, Shannon, Blake came back to the AFRP Adoption Center, hoping for another chance and a smoother road ahead. That’s when he caught the eye of Susan H., who was looking for an adult cat to join her household.

Here’s a recent happy update:

Dear AFRP,
We wanted to let you know that Blake is adjusting quite well in his new home, and my husband and I are both very happy with him! I can't believe that nobody had picked him earlier in his stay on Lighthouse Ave, as he's a real sweetie. We also have a 5-year old Chocolate Lab, Chip, and they're getting along fine. The four of us can all hang out peacefully in bed together already!

Blake does have his shy moments, when new company comes over or when Chip is more mobile around the house, but he can always retreat to 'his room', should he temporarily feel the need. He has a funny way of 'speaking'... it's not so much of a 'meow' as it is a squeak. I've seen Blake's catching abilities, and he certainly likes playing catch/chase with his foam balls and toy mice. He enjoys hanging out atop our two cat perches, looking out onto our front and back yards.

Thank you for everything, keep up the good work!


Bailey, a five-year-old beagle, lost his home when his guardian became ill and could no longer care for him. Beagles are great family companions but are active, vocal dogs that need careful placement to ensure a “happily ever after” adoption. After spending several months in foster care, Bailey found the home of his dreams!

We recently had a happy update from his new mom, Pippa:

Bailey very quickly became part of our family. It was obvious from the start that he was most happy near us so all intentions of having him in the kitchen for the night soon went out the window. He has his bed in our room and sleeps like a dog!!

Every morning Bailey gets to walk our daughter, Maple, to school and in the afternoon to collect her. I am a walker but was not inspired to do urban walking, however, for Bailey's sake I am doing at least three long walks a week and I feel a somewhat firmer me, so we are all benefiting!

Our biggest challenge with our new family member has been leaving him for shopping and non-dog friendly activities. After implementing many ideas for 'separation anxiety' we have come to realize he barks when left, but is now happily left barking (on-and-off) with the run of our living area and a chair from which to look out and watch for our return.

With a pet comes responsibility. The burden of this has fallen on me as my husband works full time but I can say it is proving worth it. My daughter's animal understanding has developed amazingly and my husband is totally smitten with the adoring creature that serenades him on his arrival home from work.

Thank you AFRP for this wonderful addition to our family!
Pippa Browne

With a silly name like Fishsticks, a raggedy ear and a plain brown tabby wrapper – would this one-year-old stray ever find her forever home? Of course! Fishsticks may have run out of time at the local shelter, but a few months with AFRP was all she needed to find her way into someone’s heart and home.

We recently had a happy update from her adopters, Tricia and Kevin:

Dear AFRP,

A couple weeks ago, we adopted "Fishsticks," who is now a second joyful kitty creature roaming our home. She's assimilated well into the family, and has made great strides to befriend Nathan, her adopted brother cat. The first night home, we had the great opportunity to experience her fiercely loving nature when she snuggled deep into the bed covers to sleep half the night against my chest and the rest of the night tucked into my neck. Her deafening purr is robust and fills us with much love, almost as much as we love her. She's a stellar acrobat, loving all the kitty structures and play toys she has at her disposal, often leaping into the air after one thing or another.

Thank you so much to the folks at Carmel Pet Food Express for being so helpful and friendly, and to your volunteer Tamara who helped make sure we'd be a good fit for Fishsticks. Although she has a new first name of "Tigerlily" to reflect her tiger cub play and her sweet nature, little "Lily" will always remember all the kind children that came by to say hello at Pet Express each time they visited the store. We're grateful to you that she was shown such kindness before we met her. We'll be sure to share more photos over the years of Miss Tigerlily Fishsticks. Thanks again for all you do, AFRP!

Cheers, Tricia and Kevin

Albert was one of over 215 animals discovered living in horrible conditions at a compound near Bakersfield, California in January 2012. The HSUS, with the help of countless volunteers and rescue organizations set up temporary housing for the rescued dogs at the Kern County Fairgrounds, got them the medical care and attention they needed, and set about the daunting task of finding them homes and networking them to animal welfare organizations across the state. When the organization that originally agreed to take Albert into their program backed out, he came to AFRP.

Malnourished, matted, and covered in foxtails, the vet who examined Albert also discovered that at some point he had been used as target practice. Multiple embedded B.B.’s had to be surgically removed from his chest. Despite all he had been through, Albert remained amazingly resilient and upbeat. His friendly personality and big smile earned him many friends at our adoption center.

Albert’s adopter didn’t set out to adopt a third dog. She was at a restaurant when she picked up the local paper and saw our print ad for Albert. His photo and story resonated with her, and she knew in her heart that Albert deserved to live out his days with her, surrounded by happiness and love. Her two Labradoodles, Sassy and Lola agreed, and the three dogs have gotten along wonderfully from the start.

Albert’s adopter said he settled in so quickly, it seemed he knew he was destined to live with her. After going in and out of the dog door a few times and running laps across the expansive green lawn, it was almost as if she could see him shrugging off his past and embracing his new life. Albert (now called Birdie) sleeps on the master bed at night, enjoys a crunchy carrot treat after each meal, and spends his days taking walks with his new pack members and enjoying the freedom to explore the lovely surroundings of his new Carmel Valley estate.

Chance may have played a small role in this happy ending, but there was hard work involved too. We’d like to thank Albert’s adopter and the many heroes in the rescue community who continue to step up in times of crisis and work so hard to give animals a second chance for a home to call their own. For Albert, it made all the difference in the world.

Cats that are positive for Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) sometimes have a difficult time getting adopted, even though current research shows that they can long, happy and healthy lives. We were especially overjoyed when not one, but two of our FIV+ kitties recently found their forever home together. Phelps, a one-year-old Russian Blue mix, had been found abandoned and living in a feral colony. Three-year-old Soledad had been picked up as an injured, skinny stray and taken to the Monterey Peninsula Veterinary Emergency and Specialty Center. Both were friendly, happy cats deserving of second chances.

The Groves family recently moved to Monterey County from Ohio, and felt ready to share their home with a pet. Wanting to adopt a cat in need of a home, the Groves found Phelps through an internet search, and made arrangements to meet Phelps and his foster mom Shannon. When Shannon mentioned that Soledad was also available, the Groves decided they would love to open their hearts to two special cats in need. Here’s a recent update:

Sollie (Soledad) is a delight – so smart and acclimated very quickly. He bumps his head into my face and loves to be rubbed. If I sit for any length of time, he’s right there with me. He hops onto our bed at night and waits for us to climb in. He talks to us and loves to play with his mice or the laser light toy.

Miles (Phelps) waits until we are in bed each night and then goes roaming. Sollie loves to playfully chase Miles around at night. Most of the day he spends on his perch by the window. Sollie is definitely the leader of the pack. All in all, the cats are having the time of their lives with two adults willing to give them attention whenever they want it!

Ileen & Barry Groves

Triscuit’s mother was a homeless stray who gave birth to a litter of puppies in foster care. From the start, it was clear that Triscuit, the runt of the litter, was very different from her siblings. The vet thinks Triscuit had a congenital deformity, or perhaps was crowded into an awkward position in the womb – and as a result, Triscuit’s hind legs were twisted into positions that would never allow her to walk normally.

Thankfully, what started out as a sad story turned out to have a very happy ending. Triscuit was evaluated by several compassionate vets, and it was determined that even though one of her legs would need to be amputated, there was no reason Triscuit could not live a rich and happy life. A bright and determined young pup, Triscuit adapted to her mobility challenges by learning to pull herself to where she wanted to go by using her front legs.

Recently, Triscuit’s foster mom joined with several of her friends to buy a set of doggie wheels for Triscuit, so she could even more freedom of movement. When foster mom Sandy stopped by the AFRP Adoption Center in January to show us Triscuit’s new doggie cart, she also signed her adoption paperwork and made her a permanent part of the family. Click Triscuit’s video below to see her in action!

We always love hearing from our adoptive families, and just before the holidays we got a nice update about little Zuzu, a black and white kitty who waited many months before finding her forever home last year. Perhaps she was just waiting for Joy and Bob to come along! Here’s a nice note we received in December:

Dear AFRP,
We just wanted to tell you how happy we are that we adopted Zuzu. She is a wonderful, beautiful cat and we can hardly believe that she sat at Petsmart for months without getting adopted. She is very affectionate and loving, and gets along great with our other cats, all of whom were rescued. Attached are some pictures of Zuzu, who sometimes likes to sleep in the wastepaper basket under my desk or with her best friend Vince who was adopted from the Monterey County Animal Shelter. As you can see she is very photogenic. Thank you for rescuing Zuzu and so many other cats and dogs who wouldn't have had a chance without Animal Friends Rescue Project!

Joy Vance (and Bob Pierce)

Glacier and her four siblings came to AFRP from the Monterey County Shelter in early September. Known as a Lethal White or Double Merle Australian Shepherd, Glacier was born deaf and slightly vision-impaired due to irresponsible breeding. When Kimberly and Clayton Downer read about Glacier on the AFRP web site, they wanted to give her a wonderful life and prove that dogs with disabilities can learn, love, and enjoy life just like normal dogs.

Glacier (now named Winter) is now doing great. She enjoys playing with her Aussie brother Koda and going to work with her mom Kimberly at the Zoom Room in Monterey. She is a bright and eager pupil and since she is deaf, she learns through basic obedience hand signals and American Sign Language. Winter was recently featured in a Zoom Room article about owning and training a dog with disabilities. Here part of what Kimberly had to say:

Trying to think of the greatest reward for having Winter as part of our family is impossible. There isn’t a single reward but many. Winter has taught us to love life, to wiggle when we’re happy, to be patient with others, to be understanding, to not judge, to give hope, to never give up, love like there’s no tomorrow, and to eat as many cookies as possible. People are so quick to say that Winter should be put down or that it’s a shame she is the way she is. The shame is that those people don’t stick around long enough to see her run towards you wiggling and eager to kiss you. They don’t see her accomplish what any hearing dog can. They don’t see that Winter is happy, healthy, and a blessing we are grateful for every day.

Thank you Clayton and Kimberly for giving Winter such a rich and happy life. To read the entire Zoom Room article about Winter, please click here.

Abner, a big, friendly shepherd mix pup at the Delano Police Department Animal Control in the Central Valley was running out of time. This rural shelter is near a prison, where dogs commonly get dumped and wander as strays in search of food – their fate is not always happy. Fortunately, Abner got the second chance he desperately needed when a foster home was found for him in Santa Cruz. Safe, yes, but would this big, untrained puppy find his forever family?

Scott and Evan of Big Sur had been looking for a dog after their beloved lab mix passed away, and Abner’s photo and description caught their attention. After meeting him at an adoption event in Aptos, they knew Abner (now named Zooey) was the one they had been waiting for. They recently sent a happy update:

Dear AFRP,
It was so wonderful to go to the website adoption page and see ADOPTED over Zooey's picture. This past Saturday was the eight week anniversary of Zooey coming to live with us. We finished up our class training and two private sessions with trainer Justin Philips this past weekend. Zooey is so smart, he learns everything very quickly, and follows commands about 90% of the time and is getting less stubborn every day. I think he is really happy here with us. No, I am sure he is happy here with us, and we are very happy he is here with us. We take him on the weekends for good long hikes in the wilderness, where he especially loves wading in water and laying down to drink!

I won't go on and on about how sweet he is and all his little personality traits, but will leave it at he has a lot of character. We are so happy that we made the decision to come up that day to Aptos. Evan and I were looking at the pictures I took of Zooey when we first met, he looks so sad and scared and unsure. I attached a picture taken of him a few weeks ago. What a difference. He seems to love to play with other dogs, and he is remarkably gentle and sweet with children.

Thank you for all the work you do finding homes for dogs like Zooey.

Best wishes,
Scott, Evan and Zooey

Oh, the thankless lives of mother cats! They give birth and work tirelessly to raise good kitten citizens, only to see them quickly adopted to loving families while they themselves sometimes wait for months for their turn to be adopted. Marni was one such mom cat. She said goodbye to her kittens in November 2010, and waited for months until she finally caught the eye of a family of her own.

The Gerritsen family had adopted a cat from AFRP ten years ago, and felt it was time to add another feline to the family. After meeting Marni, they fell in love, but would thier ten-year-old “only cat” adjust to a new addition to the family? Thankfully, everything worked out beautifully. Here’s a recent update from the Gerritsens:

Dear AFRP,

We adopted Marni in April from your Pet Food Express site and we renamed her Miss Bella Mia Kitty. The black and white cat in the photo is Mr. Beau Ditty Kitty, who was adopted from the Posh Pets adoption site ten years ago. Beau had never lived with another cat before, and we think the transition of adding Bella into our home has been a huge success. We wanted to send you a few pictures so you can see they both have a wonderful home and the best life a cat could ask for.

They get along well, are well fed, have an enclosed outdoor area and are very spoiled! Having happy, healthy cats that are 10 years old and 2 years old is very entertaining. I even have a nanny spy cam so I can view them from work all day and make sure everything is okay. Thanks for taking the time to help us adopt the purrrfect addition to our family!

Tom and DJ Gerritsen

In May 2010 the Salinas Shelter staff contacted us for help with Ramsey, a darling nine-week-old pit bull mix puppy who needed orthopedic surgery to correct some serious hip problems. Sweet Ramsey stole the hearts of everyone who helped him through his recovery and his months-long quest for a home of his own. Energetic, mischievous, friendly and fun, Ramsey charmed Jeff and Vanessa and adoption paperwork was completed.

Now living in Washington, Ramsey is doing great. He and his dog friend Buda (on left) have a big woodsy yard with a nearby stream for swimming and exploring. Here’s a recent update from Vanessa:

Dear AFRP Staff,

Ramsey, wow, he’s not so little anymore! He’s still our baby but he’s growing up strong and healthy - 75 pounds at his last vet visit! He had an allergic reaction to some dog food and broke out in hives, so we did some major research on dog food. We now cook food for Ramsey and Buda - chicken, rice, vegetables and treats like apples, bananas, carrots and sometimes mangos!

Ramsey is fast, full of life, strong and beautiful. He has lots of muscle and his teeth and nails are perfect. He loves the water and can spend hours playing in the river and pulling out sticks and branches. He’s a good sweet boy and makes us so happy. Thank you so much for saving this amazing dog and allowing him to be part of our lives.

Vanessa, Jeff, Ramsay and Buda

Dear AFRP –

In May we adopted our boy, Austin. (Dog on left in photo.) We were looking for a dog to fill some pretty big shoes… Our beloved Jack passed away last November at age 13 from lymphoma and left a huge hole in our hearts and family ( We wanted a new buddy for us and for our Border collie, Jenny, who was Jack’s sweetheart. Our new dog would need to play well with Jenny, be willing to go everywhere with us, be willing to go with Jenny to Doggy Daycare, and be okay staying home while we are at work during the day. He also needed to be gentle with Jenny’s grandma, who is 80 and often dog-sits.

After talking to rescue coordinator Sue Trapp, she quickly identified Austin as a good match. He had recently entered your program and hadn’t even made it to the website yet! Sue put us in contact with Austin’s foster mom, Coco, and we arranged two meetings before bringing him home (we live in Nevada near Lake Tahoe). We wanted to make sure he was the right fit.

He certainly is! Jenny absolutely adores him and they play constantly, despite the age difference (she is 9 or 10, and he is not more than 2). We are constantly amazed how much they really love each other and what a perfect match they are - Jenny can be selective about her close friends. We took a family vacation to Carmel last weekend for 4 nights. Austin handled the trip like a pro! He’s learning his leash, car, and house manners quickly, and is teaching us his expectations as well (plenty of toys and snuggle time on the bed). All three of us are in love with Austin, and we think the feeling is mutual. He’s gone from a shy stray in the Salinas Shelter to a beloved family member in Minden, Nevada.

Our thanks to Sue and Coco, and everyone at AFRP for rescuing this lovely boy.

-Linda, John, Jenny and Austin

Imagine living the first three years of your life in a small, feces-covered wire kennel stacked inside a barn. Flicka was one of dozens of Mini Australian Shepherds seized from a Spokane area breeding program that had turned into a nightmare of neglect. AFRP gave refuge to two of these shy dogs: Lily, who was adopted fairly quickly, and Flicka, who was going to take some time to gain confidence.

Foster mom Joan, highly experienced with Australian Shepherds, was the perfect person to gently encourage Flicka to start experiencing the sights, smells and sounds of the outside world. It took lots of time and patience, but slowly Flicka started gaining confidence and began to enjoy the daily pleasures of being a dog. Joan’s own friendly and social dogs were great mentors in this process.

After nine months of rehabilitation, Flicka was ready for a home, and a wonderful application came in from Norma of Pebble Beach. One of her dogs had recently passed away, and she had a stable, older dog in need of companionship. “My heart went out to Flicka when I read her story,” wrote Norma. “She’ll have a very special life with me - I’ll provide the best home a dog could want.” A meeting was arranged, and adoption paperwork was soon completed.

Norma recently sent us an update. “I’m sending a photo of Flicka with all her toys (you can never have too many toys . . . !)” says Norma. “She is a love and has made huge progress in overcoming her fears. Many thanks to all who had a hand in saving this sweet dog.”

Tex, a handsome 1-year-old orange tabby had come to us from the King City Shelter after being picked up as a stray. After one failed adoption where he hid under the bed to avoid interacting with children in the household, Tex was hoping for another chance in a quieter, adult home. Luckily for Tex, the perfect person came along.

Candy had been shopping at Pet Food Express in Carmel and Tex caught her eye. With several cats of her own, she knew she really didn’t need another. But next time she went shopping, Tex was still available. Perhaps he was meant for her? Finally after a month had passed, she made the decision and paperwork was signed. Here’s a recent update:

Dear AFRP,

You called him Tex, but I call him Dex. Less than 24 hours after Dex and I arrived home, he had two new friends and one holdout. Both of my boys thought it was fun to watch him play and explore. My little girl is suspicious and so far has resisted his charms, and charming he most definitely is. He's been everywhere ... in closets, drawers, tight spots, cupboards, etc. But he hasn't been hiding under the bed ... he walks upright, doesn't creep, and seems to know he's safe and has a home. He spends most of his day watching the patio from the screen door, so it's open from 6 am to 10 pm. Seems that he's fascinated by the great outdoors.

Dex became very sick just three days after I adopted him, but after a trip to the vet he seems to be on the mend. It’s been somewhat stressful (and expensive) but I don’t regret bringing Dexter home to share our lives. He’s a wonderful addition and is a joy to watch.

Docker, a handsome 1-year-old Australian Shepherd mix was too shy to put on the adoption floor, so the Salinas Animal Services called to see if AFRP could help. Thankfully there was a foster home available for Docker, and before long his true personality started to emerge. It turned out this shy boy just needed a little love and compassion to turn the corner.

Kirsten and Malcolm had been looking for a good match for their female Aussie/Hound mix, Ripple. They knew sensitive Ripple would be overwhelmed by a dog that was too strong, and sweet Docker sounded like the perfect fit. As you can see from the above photo, the two dogs are now best friends! Here’s a recent update from Kirsten:

Dear AFRP,
I wanted to let you know that Docker, now known as Bear, is doing well in his new home; actually things have gone pretty much without a hitch! It was as if he said, “finally, I’m home!” He and our dog, Ripple, play, run, eat and sleep together. He has gone hiking, swimming and to the vet (he caught a cold from the stress of all the transitions).

He is a love and even played a joke for April Fool’s Day by sleeping on the couch . . . gotta put an end to that . . . He does have some hip issues and will likely need surgery to keep him intact for the long term, but he’s family so we will start with x-rays and monitor his progress. Thank you for getting this sweet boy to a home that loves him!

Kirsten, Malcolm, Kalindi, Ripple and Sweet Bear

Tadd is one lucky black cat! Kittens of feral cats don’t always have much of a chance, but Tadd and his siblings were lucky enough to land in the care of foster mom Shannon, who nurtured and socialized them so they could find homes of their own. But sensitive little Tadd missed his siblings so much when they were adopted, he developed an anxiety disorder that caused him to over-groom to the point that bare patches appeared on his coat.

After a trip to the vet to rule out a medical cause for his behavior, Tadd went back to his original foster home with Shannon, and in the security of familiar surroundings, Tadd stopped overgrooming and eventually his glossy black coat had returned. Soon it was time to try again for a home, but this time Tadd’s information was posted on the AFRP web site so Tadd could stay in his foster home and avoid the stress of the Adoption Center.

In January 2011 Jeanne-Ann found Tadd on the web and filled out an online application for him. By this time he was nearly two years old. She was looking for a young adult cat that would be independent enough to be comfortable during the day while the family was at work and school, and affectionate enough to cuddle and play with them at night. The whole family came to meet Tadd at Shannon’s house, and they fell in love with him. Tadd’s long wait for adoption finally ended! Here’s a recent update from Jeanne-Ann:

We think Tadd is the best cat ever! Everyone who meets him thinks we hit the cat adoption jackpot. He is very social and likes to be the center of attention whether we have friends at the house or it is just the three of us. He makes sure that we all get a little Tad time, we call it "sharing the love.”

We had family over for Easter and he sat in the middle of the floor with all the kids as they looked through their Easter baskets. Of course, he got a toy mouse in his basket. Toy mice are his favorite and he has them all over the house. He even plays fetch with Owen! My mom brought her small dog with her on Easter and it was the first time we saw Tad with a dog. The two of them got along very well. They played together like puppies and kittens and we even caught them sitting next to each other at the foot of my bed. CUTE!

This morning, just as I was leaving the house, I looked back to see Tad sitting in the doorway with his mouse in his mouth. I had to turn around and play with him before I left!

Jeanne-Ann, Delaney & Owen

Milo, a young Miniature Aussie mix, got his second chance when AFRP came to his rescue after he sustained a horribly fractured lower jaw. You may have read his story in our Winter Newsletter. Milo recovered with the help of a temporary dental appliance created by veterinary dentist, Dr. Judy Force to stabilize his jaw during the healing period. Six weeks later Milo felt great. He could eat normally and was ready for a home of his own.

When Sandy and Nick Hartman read Milo’s poignant story, their hearts went out to him. They knew he was the little dog they had been waiting for. Before long, the adoption paperwork was signed and Milo’s adoption dream came true. Here’s an update from the Hartman Family:

Dear AFRP,

We wanted to thank you again for rescuing our wonderful Milo. He is very sweet, smart and loves to sit in our laps. He also loves to go on walks and play with his toys! Our four grandchildren adore him and love to hold him and play with him. He also likes to play with our two grand-dogs, who are also rescue dogs (lab mixes). Whenever we are dog sitting one of the labs, we find Milo in the lab’s crate sleeping with him or her!

Milo is so cute and we laugh so much at the things he does. He has brought so much joy to us and to our daughters and their families. We love our new family member!

Sandy and Nick Hartman

Milo, a young Miniature Aussie mix, got his second chance when AFRP came to his rescue after he sustained a horribly fractured lower jaw. You may have read his story in our Winter Newsletter. Milo recovered with the help of a temporary dental appliance created by veterinary dentist, Dr. Judy Force to stabilize his jaw during the healing period. Six weeks later Milo felt great. He could eat normally and was ready for a home of his own.

When Sandy and Nick Hartman read Milo’s poignant story, their hearts went out to him. They knew he was the little dog they had been waiting for. Before long, the adoption paperwork was signed and Milo’s adoption dream came true. Here’s an update from the Hartman Family:

Dear AFRP,

We wanted to thank you again for rescuing our wonderful Milo. He is very sweet, smart and loves to sit in our laps. He also loves to go on walks and play with his toys! Our four grandchildren adore him and love to hold him and play with him. He also likes to play with our two grand-dogs, who are also rescue dogs (lab mixes). Whenever we are dog sitting one of the labs, we find Milo in the lab’s crate sleeping with him or her!

Milo is so cute and we laugh so much at the things he does. He has brought so much joy to us and to our daughters and their families. We love our new family member!

Sandy and Nick Hartman

Marley weighed less than a pound when he and his siblings arrived at the shelter last fall. They were too small to be put up for adoption, and desperately needed a foster home to care for them. Thankfully an AFRP volunteer stepped up to care for Marley and his three sisters. They purred from day one and were healthy, happy kittens. Marley’s sisters were soon adopted, but four months passed without a home for Marley.

We were beginning to wonder if Marley would be all grown up before he ever found his forever home, but just then the Campbell family walked through the door. They were looking for a cat that would be a good match for an active family with children and a dog, and Marley was the perfect candidate. Here’s a post-adoption update:

Marley is doing great! He is already a comfortable member of the family. The kids are loving him! They play chase the ball, chase the ribbon, chase the kids and he gets lots and lots of love and hugs. We are still working on the dog compatibility. Fortunately when the dog gets overly excited, Marley lets her know she needs to back off. I am glad that Marley has shown the dog that cats deserve respect! We are confident they will be fast friends soon. Thank you for such a great cat and for the work you do to save other great cats!

Annie Campbell

Rescued from a roadside one cold December morning a year ago, four-month-old Rudolph was so chilled, his temperature did not even register on the thermometer at the vet clinic. With a red bruised nose, some missing teeth and a large laceration on his hind leg, Rudolph had been hit by a car but had somehow escaped with his life. Who would have guessed that this neglected, flea-infested, injured kitten would transform into a big, handsome smart character who loved playing fetch, watching TV and snuggling on shoulders!

After spending many months in foster care while recovering from his injuries, Rudolph finally found the family of his dreams. The Staffords had recently lost their diabetic cat, and were looking for a new feline family member who would get along in a busy household with teens, dogs, and foster kittens moving in and out. After reading about Rudolph and meeting him in person, everyone agreed that Rudolph sounded like the perfect match. In fact, Rudolph turned out to be such a great pal to their foster kitten Chunk, the Staffords decided to adopt Chunk too! Here’s a recent update:

Dear AFRP,

Rudolph is doing great! He greets us all personally when we get up in the morning, and loves sitting in the kitchen window. The kids think it’s hilarious when he knocks things off the counter, so they find little toys to line up around him so he can push them off with his paw.

Chunk and Rudolph are absolute best friends! We'll be sitting in the living room and always hear little "background noises" like something being swatted across the floor. They are always into mischief together and also love to run laps around the house, hiding from each other and then pouncing on each other by surprise. It's funny to see Chunk try and wrestle Rudolph because Rudolph is so big. Rudolph will just be sitting there, and Chunk will be standing on his hind legs with his arms wrapped around Rudolph's neck, trying to chew on his ear and Rudolph is totally unfazed. They’ve brought so many smiles to our family!Thanks again for rescuing Rudolph and giving him the opportunity to find a home. We LOVE him!

The Stafford Family

She was older, she was black, she was in a state of neglect. Rose, a wonderful senior black lab mix, was passed by at the County Shelter as though she were invisible to potential adopters. Thankfully, before Rose’s time was up, a wonderful AFRP foster volunteer offered to care for Rose for as long as it took for her to find her new family.

The first order of business? A Rose makeover! She had her teeth cleaned, she was spayed and she started a healthful diet of veggies and raw meat. It wasn’t long before Rose’s coat became thick and glossy, and she regained a spring in her step and a twinkle in her eye. Even though she was a senior dog, she was able keep up with her foster family pack on long walks and hikes.

Rose was ready for her forever home, and that is when she met the Deisroth family. The Deisroths had recently lost their cat of 16 years, and were carefully and methodically searching for the right dog to join their family. With two home-schooled children to help take responsibility for a new canine family member, they searched the Internet and were drawn to Rose. It was love at first meeting! Here’s a recent happy update:

Dear AFRP,

I cannot tell you enough how wonderful Rose is. We love her so much and are completely convinced that she IS the BEST dog in the whole world and that she is part human. We cannot imagine how she ended up at a shelter. She loves tromping around Fort Ord and enjoys sticking her nose down the ground squirrel and gopher holes! She brings us so much joy on a daily basis. We love her SlingBlade grunting . . . it’s the funniest thing . . . and the snoring . . . so much cuter from her than Robb! We could not be happier!! We love her so much and are so grateful to foster mom Linda Shen for taking such good care of her and helping us transition her so nicely into our family.

Emily Deisroth

Ginger, a lovely 10-year-old orange tabby, provided many years of love and comfort to her elderly owner. Sadly, when her owner passed away, nobody in the family could care for Ginger. With a sweet, quiet and gentle personality, Ginger spent many months at the AFRP Adoption Center, waiting for that special person who would welcome her into their home. Finally, one happy day in October, Ginger found her forever family.

Kurt and Barbara were looking for a second cat about the same age and energy level as the cat they had at home. Since Kurt works from a home office, he was looking forward to enjoying the company of two feline friends at home. Kurt and Barbara found Ginger on the AFRP web site, and thought she would be the perfect addition. It wasn’t long before they drove to Pacific Grove to make the adoption official. Here’s an update:

Dear AFRP,
We wanted to give you an update on how Ginger is doing. She seems to be adjusting very well! She’s quite a lively cat for 10 years old! I’m not getting much work done these days, as she insists on regular breaks for cuddling. Luckily, she settles down at night and doesn’t wake us up much.

Her vet visit revealed that she has a heart murmur, but it’s not a critical problem. I think every cat we’ve had has had a hear murmur. We’ll take her back to the vet in a couple of months just to make sure she’s okay. She’s definitely decided she wants to be the dominant cat in the household, and though they don’t fight, she and our other cat have each picked out their own territories in the house. Maybe someday they’ll become good friends!

We want to thank you all for your help and for doing what you’re doing. It’s truly a wonderful thing.

Kurt and Barbara

Susie, a sweet senior pit bull mix had lived a hard life. After being used by a backyard breeder to produce litter after litter of puppies for sale, she was left at the Salinas Shelter when she grew too old to be profitable. With a gentle, easygoing personality and a heart of gold, Susie deserved to spend her remaining years surrounded by comfort and love. As the months passed by without an adopter for Susie, we were starting to get discouraged. But then she met Allyn and her family, and it was magic from the start. Here’s an update:

Dear Animal Friends Rescue Team,

We want to let you know how happy we are that Susie, now called Anush (Armenian for “sweet”) has come into our lives. After losing our beloved Lulu to old age, we wanted to bring another older dog into our home that would be compatible with our 13-year-old Queensland mix, New Mexico. We wanted an older, “hard to adopt” kind of dog, and we had been scanning various rescue and shelter sites for months. When we saw Susie online, there was a feeling that we just had to meet her in person, her face seemed so sweet and gentle.

Long story short, after a few visits and an introduction to New Mexico, we welcomed Susie into our home. She and New Mexico are are buddies. The first night we brought her home, she and New Mexico got on the same bed and nuzzled. The family cats have even given Anush the seal of approval! Best of all, she has become part of the family. This breed often gets a bad rap, but this old girl is a giant lap dog who just wants to be loved.

Thank you Animal Friends Rescue for seeing something special in this girl and for keeping her safe until she could find her way into our lives. Without folks like you and the work your organization does, these great pets wouldn’t have a chance. We love, love, love her!

Thank you again!
A Happy Family in Aromas

Mischief, a seven-year-old tuxedo cat, lost her home when her owners divorced and left her behind. She was eventually adopted, but then returned to us again when her family had to move into an apartment. Would the third time be the charm for little Mischief?

We were thrilled to hear from Mary Anne and James of Monterey, letting us know that Mischief was the perfect match for them. They had lost their tuxedo cat, Lucy, in December and had been looking for another cat companion to adopt. James had suffered a stroke and having a sweet kitty to curl up on the bed with him was very important. When they saw Mischief's photo, they knew she was the cat they had to meet:

Dear Animal Friends,

Mischief is the most precious thing we've had in our lives for a long time. She sleeps between us on the bed, and lets us know when it's time for breakfast. She is a treasure and we couldn't have asked for a better kitty. My husband and I love her deeply and hope she'll be with us for a long, long time. She is such an elegant lady and fits in beautifully. We still can't believe what a perfect match she is for us. We are so grateful to everyone at AFRP and we won't hesitate to adopt from your organization again.

Mary Anne and James

Springtime always brings an abundance of stray and abandoned kittens to the local shelters, and Skippy was one of the homeless kittens that was too young to be put up for adoption. The Monterey County Shelter contacted us for help, and soon Skippy and his siblings were placed in the loving care of an AFRP foster volunteer. Though Skippy had the misfortune of being homeless early in his life, his luck was about to change.

Meredith filled out a Match-a-Pet form in May. She was interested in adopting a male Siamese mix kitten. It had been two years since their family cat had passed away, and they were ready for some feline magic in their home. Fortunately, Skippy was old enough for adoption, and it wasn’t long before Meredith and her seven year old son, Will, drove up from Big Sur to meet him. It was love at first sight! Meredith recently sent us an update:

Dear AFRP,
Skippy is a doll! He is very entertaining and adores his little kitty bed and loves laying in bed with William while he reads. He adores Legos, Greek yogurt and chasing string toys. He has incredibly soft fur and is very sleek and svelt. His ears are still huge and we don’t think it’s possible for him to ever grow into them. His purr is like the motor of a Mac truck! His foster family taught him well-- he keeps himself very clean and has impeccable manners. We are so grateful that he has joined our family!

Conner, a young lab/shepherd mix, had been abandoned and was running loose in Salinas when he was hit by a car. With no funding for extensive vet care, the Salinas Shelter contacted AFRP for help. This nice dog deserved to be saved, and thankfully we were able to get Conner got the FHO surgery he needed. Once he had recovered in foster care, Connor was ready for a home of his own.

Donald had lost his beloved Lab mix rescue dog named Sarah to cancer in April, and was finally ready to open his heart to a new rescue dog. When he saw Conner on the AFRP web site he was struck by his resemblance to Sarah. After a meeting and home visit, the adoption was made official. We recently got an update from Don’s sister, Lori:

Dear AFRP,
Conner is doing great. He is such a sweetie! Don and Conner are getting along great and Don just loves him. We all love him! Everyone that meets him loves him. Don has taken him out to the beach and to Pinto Lake daily for walks. We took him to a dog-friendly restaurant in Aptos the other day and he behaved wonderfully. Conner recently went to the vet for a check up and the vet said he was very healthy and that his hip should be just fine. He is limping a lot less and gets around just fine. Thanks so much for all the hard work you do for all the animals. I’ll continue to send updates!
Lori, Don and Conner

Scooter and Heidi lost their home when their owner unexpectedly passed away, and there was no friend or relative able to care for them. They were used to a quiet, tranquil home and the transition to our busy adoption center was overwhelming for them, especially Heidi, who spent most of her time hiding in her kitty cubby.

We were touched when Jan stopped by to meet Scooter after seeing his photo in the Monterey Herald “Pic a Pet” column. We knew it would take a very special person to open their heart to a senior cat, and Jan not only adopted 15-year-old Scooter, she also adopted 5-year-old Heidi when she learned they had come in as a pair. Jan recently sent an update:

Dear AFRP,
I came to AFRP to meet Scooter when I saw his photo in the Herald - you have a wonderful photographer. Scooter’s face reminded me of my cat Cocoa, and when I saw his age I knew he was special. He was meant to be my friend. The unexpected benefit was finding out another cat from the same household was up for adoption too. Heidi is very sweet and is no longer shy. After the first few days, both cats were all over the house finding their favorite spots. It is great having them live with me.

Scooter needs to gain weight and Heidi is becoming a little chubby, but there are always issues when there is such a difference in age with two pets. I recently purchased a cat tree which I was hoping they would love, but Scooter is totally disinterested and Heidi only likes the lower levels. She won’t go on the upper tiers even though she has been on top of the refrigerator and high bookcases! That’s why I like cats. When you want them to do something, they do the opposite.

Thanks again,

Mischief, a seven-year-old tuxedo cat, lost her home when her owners divorced and left her behind. She was eventually adopted, but then returned to us again when her family had to move into an apartment. Would the third time be the charm for little Mischief?

We were thrilled to hear from Mary Anne and James of Monterey, letting us know that Mischief was the perfect match for them. They had lost their tuxedo cat, Lucy, in December and had been looking for another cat companion to adopt. James had suffered a stroke and having a sweet kitty to curl up on the bed with him was very important. When they saw Mischief's photo, they knew she was the cat they had to meet:

Dear Animal Friends,

Mischief is the most precious thing we've had in our lives for a long time. She sleeps between us on the bed, and lets us know when it's time for breakfast. She is a treasure and we couldn't have asked for a better kitty. My husband and I love her deeply and hope she'll be with us for a long, long time. She is such an elegant lady and fits in beautifully. We still can't believe what a perfect match she is for us. We are so grateful to everyone at AFRP and we won't hesitate to adopt from your organization again.

Mary Anne and James

Boots, a sweet black and white terrier mix, was about as down-and-out as a dog can get. She had been abandoned with both of her slender front legs fractured in multiple places. The vet suspected she was a victim of abuse. Thanks to a grant from Lifeline 4 Paws and several other generous supporters, Boots got the delicate orthopedic surgery she needed to repair her legs.

Once she had recovered from her surgery, Boots became a regular at the AFRP Adoption Center in the afternoons, and spent her nights at Casa de Amigos, a local boarding facility. Weeks passed by without an adoption prospect for Boots. But then she set her sights on Dave, one of our transportation volunteers. Dave and Boots formed a bond that grew stronger with the passing of each week. Dave looked forward to seeing Boots, and Boots did everything she could to wiggle her way into his heart!

A love match was made, and adoption paperwork made everything official. “She’s the perfect dog for me,” says Dave. “She loves going to Asilomar Beach and enjoys meeting the other dogs there. She is a wonderful companion to have around the house and loves going everywhere with me.”

Now Boots rides shotgun while Dave transports other AFRP dogs that spend the night at Casa de Amigos. Is Boots on the lookout for another canine addition to the family? Stay tuned! We are thrilled to see how happy Boots is and are grateful to Dave for taking this broken little dog and giving her a second chance at happiness. Thank you Dave!

Toni recently wrote to thank us for her new three-legged family member. In March, the Monterey County Shelter contacted AFRP for help with an abandoned tabby that had come in with a badly injured front leg. The shelter did not have the resources to care for the injured cat, who earned the name “Casanova” for his loving demeanor. He desperately needed help and AFRP was there for him. Even though Casanova’s front leg ultimately needed to be amputated, it wasn’t long before he found his forever home. Toni had recently lost her own cat to old age, and was ready to nurture another soul in need of some love. She recently sent us an update:

Dear AFRP,
Thanks for rescuing Buddy (Casanova) and for giving him another chance at life. He has added so much joy and loves living in Carmel Valley. Buddy acts as if he has four legs, has no fear and certainly does not consider himself disabled! He has been blessed with a strong tail and bunny-like back paws that propel him into action effortlessly. I was worried about the stairs, but he’s turned them into a game by running up and down two flights with no problems. He is amazing!
Buddy has the sweetest disposition and didn’t take long discovering the real use for a human lap or how the human forearm can double as a feline chin-rest. Buddy likes to watch TV at night and especially likes anything on the Animal Planet channel.
I’m so glad I got to bond with Buddy at the Adoption Center on my volunteer days. I think he had me at the first head-butt. Thanks for your commitment to help animals like Buddy and for having the vision to see them as the precious whole creatures that they are. It is my privilege to have him as part of my family.

It's always sad when companion animals lose their home when their owner becomes ill or disabled. Sparky, a sweet six-year-old Miniature Schnauzer, came to us when his elderly owner needed to go to a convalescent home and no friends or relatives could take him. His coat was matted and he'd had limited exposure to the outside world, having spent his years as a companion to his senior caregiver.

Sparky went into foster care and immediately went to the groomer for a bath and trim. He was ready for a new look and a new life. A bit nervous at first, it wasn't long before Sparky settled in and looked forward to going for walks and rides in the car. He blossomed in his foster home and was soon ready for his forever family. The Millers were checking the Petfinder web site specifically for an adult Miniature Schnauzer to adopt, and when they read about Sparky they knew he was the dog they had been waiting for. Soon little Sparky was off to San Francisco, where he now lives only a block away from the beautiful park at Fort Mason with a view of the Golden Gate Bridge. Here's a recent update from the Millers:

Dear AFRP,

I wanted to send you a long overdue note with an update on Sparky, now known as Tucker. We are thrilled to have him as part of the family. He made himself home immediately. Tucker spends his time taking long walks at Fort Mason and Chrissy Field. He has made lots of friends at doggie daycare and has become much more social with other dogs. After visiting our vet, he's slimmed down a bit and is at his recommended weight. Tucker enjoys snuggling and sleeping in! Thank you so much for introducing us to Tucker! We love having him!

All the best,


Peaches, a 7-year-old pastel calico, was a victim of the poor economy. When her owners were evicted from their home, Peaches was left behind to fend for herself. With her long, soft coat and super-sweet temperament, Peaches did not fare well out on her own and was thin and matted when she made her way into the AFRP adoption program.

Peaches soon thrived with regular meals and daily brushing from the AFRP volunteers. Soon she was looking good and became a favorite at the adoption center. She earned the privilege of having free range of the cat enclosure because she got along so well with the other cats and visitors of all ages. Still, months passed by without an adopter for Peaches.

Then one February day Marta stopped by the AFRP Adoption Center. She was ready to add a cat to her life, and spent over an hour meeting all the cats that were available. But Peaches sealed the deal by walking over to Marta and hopping up on her lap! Here's a recent update from Marta:

Dear AFRP,

When I went to the Adoption Center, it was difficult to choose a cat, they were all adorable. Peaches, now called Yuki, was not my first choice. But then she came and sat on my lap, and it was almost as if she was asking me to take her home. Well, that was it!

She adjusted wonderfully and I definitely made a great choice taking home an older cat, she is calm and just wants to be petted all the time. We have a great bond and in the morning when I come down the stairs she hears my voice and comes to say good-morning! She loves being in the garden watching the birds and laying in the sun. She gets along well with the kids and they love Yuki! She is a great cat and I think she is very happy. Thanks for bringing Yuki into our lives.


We recently heard from an old friend and wanted to share the good news! Girl, a sweet but extremely shy Golden Retriever mix had been left in the night drop at the Hollister Shelter before coming to AFRP five years ago. She was a beautiful dog but the shelter said they were going to put her to sleep because of her shyness. Her foster mom said that at first Girl was so timid and scared, she wouldn't even walk on her own and had to be carried everywhere, all 50 pounds!

Eventually Girl started to relax and gain some confidence, and when Rachel and Matthew met her at an adoption event, they knew she was the dog they were waiting for. Recently Rachel sent an update about Girl, now named Macie. It is wonderful to see how a shy dog can blossom with some love and patience.

Dear AFRP,

We just wanted to tell you that Macie is doing great. We love her! My husband is still in the military and we have moved 3 times and we still have her. In fact, we are now back at Fort Ord. Macie is loving it here this time around. As you can see from the photo, she loves going to the beach!

We see that so many military families adopt animals and then re-home them when they have to move. It's very sad. Macie actually loves to travel, and we have lived in Michigan, Nebraska and now back in California and she has loved it all. We will be moving to Florida in July and you can bet Macie will love it there too!

Thanks for saving her from the shelter, we couldn't imagine life without her!



Dylan was hoping to find someone that would love him despite his imperfections. A six-year-old Manx, Dylan was missing his front leg, was on thyroid medication and had lost most of his teeth to dental disease. Despite his challenges he was a charming cat with sparkling green eyes and a delightful personality. Dylan made friends with all the other cats at the adoption center and was a big favorite with the volunteers. Even with only three legs, Dylan could run, play and climb up and down his cat tree with no problem.

Dylan was a wonderful cat, but would need a special adopter that would not only give him a safe and loving home, but would also take on his ongoing medical needs. Luckily, Dylan met that special person in January of 2009. Dylan, now named "Pogo" is doing wonderfully in his new home, and his mom Catherine recently sent us an update:

Dear AFRP,

I just wanted to write a thank you note for my cat Pogo (formerly Dylan) that I adopted about one year ago. Pogo, named for his hopping walk, is a very sweet and loving kitty that has a loud purr and loves to snuggle at night. Surprisingly, he is a speed demon on three legs, chasing the other cats and climbing to the highest reaches of my apartment!

Pogo needed some more medical care after I adopted him -- his ears were infected, he was in the beginnings of kidney disease and needed more teeth extracted. He now takes bi-monthly shots to keep his mouth infection under control, and is on a special kidney diet and subcutaneous fluids administered nightly at home. He is much more comfortable now, and happily for me, tends to his own grooming!

I am very grateful that he ended up in my hands, because I know that there are alot of people out there that would be unwilling to get him the special care that he needs. He is very much spoiled and loved, and I want to thank all of you there for the wonderful work that you do and for bringing Pogo into my life. It was particularly your website that brought him to my attention. He was the Pet of the Week, and when I saw his story I wanted him right away. Thank you for finding him and taking care of him until I could discover him and take him home. You guys are great!

Thanks again,

Catherine Tobin

Pretzel, an adorable Longhaired Dachsund mix puppy, came to us from a shelter in the Central Valley last September when he was at risk of being euthanized due to overcrowding. Despite his tough start in life, Pretzel's sweet, fun-loving outlook on life remained undiminished.

It wasn't long before Pretzel started attracting some potential adopters, including Nora and JB of San Jose. They were committed to spending the time and energy required to raise a puppy in responsible way. They made the trip to Pacific Grove to meet Pretzel, and it was true love from the start! We recently got the following update on Pretzel, now named Max:

Dear AFRP,

We adopted Max from AFRP on October 12. He's fantastic with our cats, and doesn't bother them at all. He is completely trained to sit, shake hands, stay, watch me, heel, and walks right next to you with or without a leash. He's probably the smartest dog you'll ever come across! I spent the first 2.5 months at home with Max every day after we adopted him. I've gone back to work and Max gets to go to doggie day care every day.

He's such a good dog and he's brought so much pleasure to our lives. Just wanted to thank you again for all your help with the adoption. We love him so much and he has a great life! I have never seen JB so happy - he and Maxie spend a lot of time togetehr and Max looks to him for every command...just wants to please him.

Thanks again,

Nora and JB

Named for his pumpkin-colored coat and big golden eyes, Jack O'Lantern was an 8-year-old cat who came to us from the Salinas Animal Services after being abandoned by his former family. Halloween came and went, and Thanksgiving too, without anyone coming forward to give this sweet boy a home. But then Jack's luck changed.

Johnnie contacted AFRP about adopting a cat. He was going to be a first time cat owner, and wanted to go about everything the correct way. He did research on the Internet and read cat magazines to learn as much as he could. He made a checklist of supplies and went shopping to make sure he had everything a cat would need. Since Johnnie lived in an apartment and wanted a single pet, a nice adult cat like Jack seemed like the perfect match.

In January, Jack O'Lantern was adopted and settled into his forever home. Johnnie sent us the following update:

Dear AFRP,

I adopted Jack from the Posh Pets adoption site Saturday afternoon. It didn't take too long for him to get used to his new home and me. Whenever he meows and looks at me I know he needs a good rub. I have his bedding on a small couch I use for reading, and when I open the door after getting off work he's right there patiently waiting for me. He even gave me a cat's version of a kiss by licking me! Sometimes he sleeps with me, which I don't mind. I want to thank AFRP for doing a good job of finding homes for all the cats and dogs they receive.



Roux, a sweet blend of MinPin, Terrier and Chihuahua, was one scared little dog when she arrived at AFRP. The Monterey County Shelter asked us for help because Roux was too terrified to be put up for adoption. All Roux wanted to do was snuggle in somebody's arms and hide from the big, scary world. Would this shy little dog find her forever home?

When Judy met Roux at the AFRP Adoption Center, her heart melted. She knew she could provide the safe and loving environment that would help Roux blossom. Judy recently sent us a happy update about Roux, now named Penny:

Dear Animal Friends,

We wanted to give you an update on Penny, aka Roux. Words cannot describe how well our baby girl is doing. Penny has grown from a skinny, timid whiney soul to the most precious, lovable, hilarious, playful creature in the house! She loves her new siblings and keeps them on their toes! We could not imagine a day without her.

Everyone that meets her tells us they are going to steal her! Scary! Thank you from the bottom of our hearts for saving her...the thought of our precious girl being put to sleep is not even fathomable, bringing tears to our eyes just thinking of it. Please share our story with others - shelter adoptions are the only way to go!

With much love to all of you for all you do!

The Schmidt Family

Kelly, a senior terrer mix, was all alone after her elderly owner passed away and nobody in the family was able to keep her. Yet even though her life had been turned upside-down, Kelly remained calm and upbeat. It was almost as if she knew she'd get another chance to brighten the life of another human friend.

That opportunity came in August. Kelly's photo had been featured in the Monterey Herald's Pic-a-Pet animal ads, and when May and William Wong saw her photo they knew she was the dog they had been waiting for. Lifelong dog lovers, the Wong's beloved Sheltie, Toby, had passed away several years before. A big believer in the power of prayer, May knew that when the time was right, the perfect dog would come along for them. Thankfully, that dog was Kelly.

In their mid 80's, the Wongs knew that an older dog would be just their speed, and Kelly has turned out to be the perfect match. Now called Tammy, she made herself at home right away, hopping up on the bed at night to nestle between her new human companions. She loves to go on errands, sitting quietly in the back seat and watching out the window. She goes for daily walks with May at Lake El Estero in Monterey, and May is convinced that Tammy knows exactly how fast and far to walk, and never pulls on the leash to cause May to become unsteady. "She's my therapy," says May.

"Our friends wondered why we would adopt an old dog," says May. "We tell them, she's not old, she's just mature, like us!" The Wongs would like to encourage all "mature" folks to consider adopting an older animal. "Tammy is a godsend to both of us. She understands us, is calm, quiet, and accommodates me when we go for walks. We love her. May God bless your good work for the animals."

Left to fend for himself when his owners were evicted from their home, Butterscotch's future did not look too promising. But good looks and a wonderful personality will take you far, and it wasn’'t long before Butterscotch was at the AFRP Adoption Center, using his feline charms to find himself a new home.

The De Hart family of Pacific Grove had recently lost their beloved cat of 20 years. They were looking for a cat that would adapt to their busy household with two teenagers and two big dogs. Butterscotch fit the bill, and it wasn't long before this big orange tabby with a heart of gold found himself in his forever home, at long last.
Lori recently sent us an update:

Dear AFRP,
We absolutely love Butterscotch! He's adjusting well to the dogs, and has settled in with the family easily. He is a HUGE lap cat, purrs like crazy and makes tremendous biscuits. He is fastidious in his use of litter
box and grooms himself nicely. He is social, sweet, gentle and has a quiet meow. He is very handsome, too. We are really happy to have him as part of the family!

Thanks much,

Everything about 8-year-old Begenzo was unique, from the clown-like markings on his face to his short little stump of a tail. When he was left at the Salinas Shelter when his family could no longer keep him, he did not get discouraged. But as the months passed by and he still had no family of his own, he started having doubts. Would anyone recognize what a wonderful cat he was?

Not every cat that comes through our adoption program is as confident as Begenzo. He just seemed to know that everything was going to be okay. He would meet your gaze with a very wise and worldly expression - definitely an old soul. A great companion for the other cats in his condo, Begenzo's calm energy seemed to rub off on them. He was the perfect adoption center resident, but he knew something was missing. Begenzo needed a home of his own.

Finally, after three months at the Posh Pets adoption location, Begenzo got the home he was waiting for. Sarah and Raul of Oakland were ready to adopt a cat, and Begenzo was just what they were looking for. He settled in his new home beautifully, and Sarah and Raul love Begenzo's entertaining antics and affectionate personality. Click here to see a video of Begenzo getting a drink of water from his favorite watering hole.

Dear AFRP,

We adopted Begenzo from Posh Pets about two months ago, and just wanted to let you know he's settled in wonderfully and we just adore him! We can't imagine life without him now and he brings us smiles and happiness every day. Enjoy the video of Begenzo in the shower! Thanks again so much for the wonderful addition to our family!

- Sarah & Raul

Ollie, a seven-year-old FIV+ Siamese mix came to us when his beloved owner passed away. Coaxed out of a deep depression by his kindhearted foster mom, Ollie was eventually adopted by a family in Paso Robles. Confused by the change, Ollie pushed through the window screen of his new home. Was Ollie searching for the foster mom he had bonded with so closely?

Flyers were posted, neighbors were notified, and even an animal communicator joined the effort to locate Ollie. Karen drove down to Paso Robles every weekend to search for him. As the weeks passed by, it started to look like Ollie was gone forever. But Ollie's foster mom did not give up hope. She sent out a mass mailing "Lost Cat" flyer to area residents, and this is what happened:

Dear AFRP,

After nearly two months on his own, Ollie managed to find a kindhearted person who always leaves cat food out on her porch. This woman thought the new cat looked like the photos in the flyer I mailed out, and last night she was able to get close enough to pet him and then grabbed him and brought him into her house. Sure enough, it was Ollie. His adopters agreed that Ollie's forever home will be with me.

He looks like he's in pretty good shape, all things considered, although I weighed him and he's down to about 11 pounds from 16. He seems to remember my house and three cats, and other than being famished and wanting to stay close to me, he seems to be settling in just fine. As a matter of fact, he is sitting on my lap right now, purring up a storm! Thank you for all your help, support, advice and good thoughts. You have helped precipitate a miracle.


Jupiter had been at the Monterey County Shelter for a month without any adoption prospects. A shy boy by nature, he tended to "duck and cover" when anyone new approached his kennel. But the shelter staff and volunteers knew deep-down Jupiter was a great dog and asked AFRP for help finding him a home. Would this "scaredy-dog" come out of his shell and find a family of his own?

Luckily for Jupiter, the Perry family of Sunnyvale were looking for a new companion after losing the last of their three elderly pets. All their pets had been shelter animals with challenges, and they were ready to open their hearts to another dog that had a tough start in life. When they came down to Pacific Grove and met Jupiter, they knew he was the one!

Martha keeps in touch, sending us e-mails and photos of Jupiter and his progress:

Hello AFRP!

Just wanted to let you know that Jupiter was the "salutatorian" (second best in his class) at basic obedience training graduation last Saturday. He would have been first in his class, but he's still not convinced that "stay" is a good idea (i.e., let Mom walk away from you = not a good idea). The trainer figures it's a rescue dog thing he'll eventually get over. We were surprised and thrilled he did so well in obedience. Ht's such a great dog. He's snuggly, loves hugs and pets, and is incredibly playful. He's great with the children and they are absolutely nuts for him. He really is at his best now, and it's so great to see. He's still not too sure about the big wide world, but at home with his people he is a total goof ball and loads of fun. We are so happy to have him!

The Perry Family

Tango, a sweet-tempered orange tabby came to us from the Monterey County Animal Services after being abandoned at only 8 weeks of age. His gentle, sweet personality and unique corkscrew-shaped tail earned him a quick adoption when he was still a youngster. But poor Tango found himself homeless again when his family moved and left him at a local shelter. Thankfully, Tango had an AFRP microchip and was returned to our care.

Taking up residence at our adoption site at PetsMart in Sand City, it wasn't long before Tango caught the attention of Nancy, who was looking for a second feline companion. We are thrilled that sweet Tango has finally found his forever home! Here's an update from Nancy:

Dear AFRP,

I'm the lucky adopter of Tango, the year old orange tabby with the crooked tail. I renamed him Barney. What a sweet guy! I took him to my complimentary initial visit (Dr. Hassan at Del Mar Pet Hospital is really great!) and everyone fell in love with him. He's such a lover -- I can pick him up and hold him on his back or over my shoulder and sometimes he sleeps on my head with his whiskers in my nose, purring. He's also good with my cat Minnie, who is 12 years old and kind of skittish.

Of course I wanted to take them all home, and every one on the web site too. Thank you for all your good work. It's so good to know that there are great groups out there like AFRP who advocate so tirelessly for the adoptino of all animals.

Best Regards

Nancy P.

Teddy, a 13-year-old Pomeranian, came to use from the Salinas Shelter. Though his muzzle was gray and it was difficult for him to walk due to double luxating patellas in his hind legs, it was clear that Teddy had a lust for life and was eager to share his love with a new family. But would anyone come forward to adopt a senior dog?

When Kim saw Teddy on the AFRP website, she knew immediately she had to meet him. His big soulful eyes completely won her over. The day after Thanksgiving in 2007, Teddy joined Kim's family forever. Nearly two years later, Teddy is still going strong! Here's a recent update from Kim:

Dear AFRP,

Teddy goes everywhere with us and he adapts very well even though he's a bit older. Teddy is always stealing the show! One time I took Teddy to my daughters softball game. It was a big tournament and Teddy and I had just arrived and we were standing on the sidelines. The announcer had called up a team of girls to collect their awards, and when the team of girls passed me on the field they all gathered around me because they wanted to see and pet Teddy! They all stood around and oohed and ahhed, they had to be recalled to get their trophies!

Teddy is just a little love! In the mornings after his first walk he comes back in the house all happy with wiggles and kisses for everyone, he then has a little breakfast and back to bed where he takes a big nap. Of course, Teddy sleeps in bed with me every night, we wouldn't have it any other way and neither would he! Thank you AFRP or bringing this wonderful, loving little dog into our lives, he has made us so very happy!



Gigi, a young homeless mama cat, came to use from the shelter on Valentine's Day with her litter of tiny kittens. Thin and nutritionally depleted, Gigi's immune system was weak and she became very ill. Her milk dried up and her kittens needed to be supplemented with bottle feeding. Her devoted foster parents took three and four hour rotations through the night to feed and care for Gigi's kittens, who also came down with upper respiratory infections.

Sadly, trips to the emergency center, veterinary office and home visits from a volunteer vet tech were not enough to save three of the five kittens. But Gigi and two of her kittens rallied and eventually became sleek and healthy. The kittens were soon adopted, but what about Gigi? Fortunately, Gigi's profile and photo on the AFRP web site caught the attention of Betsy of Santa Cruz. When she read that Gigi enjoyed playing fetch with her favorite toys, it reminded her of her own cat, Julio. After a brief adjustment period, Gigi and Julio became great pals. Here's an update from Betsy:

Dear AFRP,

I have been meaning to send you some pictures of Gigi. She and Julio are best friends now - they chase and wrestle and play ball and sometimes even share the same chair! It took about two weeks - she gradually became more tolerant and now enjoys him -- initiates the play and lets him lick her face. He thinks she's the best thing that ever happened!

Gigi sleeps with me every night and likes to stay in my bed for naps when the two are not playing. It's a good life! Thanks so much for saving the life of this sweet cat.




Hank, a 1-year-old Spaniel mix was a very sick boy. When he came down with a serious case of Parvo, a disease that is often fatal for dogs, his owner surrendered him to a local vet clinic. Fortunately, Hank pulled through and it was soon clear what a fantastic dog he was. He greated everyone he met with a happy tail wag and was wonderful with other dogs and cats. He was eager to learn his basic commands and always wore a big happy smile on his face.

Hank was given a second chance at life, would he also get a second chance for happiness in a home of his own? When Jan and Kevin saw Hank on the AFRP web site and read his story, they made an instant connection. It wasn't long before Hank was finally in his forever home. Jan and Kevin recently followed up with us:

Dear AFRP,

This note is simply to thank you again for all the good work you do. The fella on the left is Chip, who you knew and adopted to us as Hank. On the right is Tommie, who came to us from the Wallowa Co. Humane Society in Oregon about a week after Chip moved in!

These two are a pair, indeed. Chip has grown about 2" since moving in with us, but his ears didn't grow along with him. He's an odd looking guy (don't tell him I said so). We just wanted you to see this happy ending, and to thank you again for allowing us to share our home with Hank aka Chip.


Jan & Kevin

Sometimes the best cats have the worst luck. Conan, a fantastic buff tabby was adopted as a kitten in the summer of 2008, but returned to us when a family member developed allergies. Adopted again a month later, Conan was returned yet again because the other cats in the household didn't get along with him. Finally, Conan met Julie. Would the third time be the charm for sweet Conan?

Julie and her daughter Mollie decided to adopt a cat after their cat, Kim, passed away in April. They didn't think they would get another cat so soon, but when they met Conan at the AFRP Adoption Center, they knew he was the one. Thankfully, Conan turned out to be the perfect match for Julie and Mollie. They stop by often to update us on how Conan is doing, and to show us photographs.

Dear AFRP,

Conan is like a ball of sunshine, full of energy and often full of mischief. He loves our house, and has many chairs to sit in and a lot of windows to watch the crows and seagulls. He is very intelligent, and he knows how to bring me a ball when I ask him! He meows very loudly to greet us every time we come back, and follows me around like a dog.

He has days when he is like Conan O'Brien, and other days when he is like Conan the Barbarian, but he is always entertaining. He is only the second cat we have ever had, and like Kim he is very social and interactive. We are grateful to AFRP for providing this service, especially since I wanted to adopt a grown cat that had an interesting personality. Thank you to Michael (Adoption Center Manager) for making everything easy, and for being so good with the animals. We will keep you posted on Conan's latest adventures!

Julie Brown Smith

Poor little Serafina. Discarded in a cardboard box behind a local bowling alley, 6-week-old Serafina was lucky somebody found her before she became weak and dehydrated. She spent a few weeks in foster care to gain strength before she could go up for adoption, and before long she was full of puppy playfulness.

When Joanna read Serafina's story on the AFRP web site, her heart went out to her. She was ready to adopt, and prepared to put in the time and hard work it takes to raise a puppy. We recently got a happy update from Joanna:

Dear AFRP,

I just wanted to give you an update regarding one of your animals adopted in April. Her name was Serafina (which is now Cali), a shepherd terrier mix, and was about 8-10 weeks old. The first few weeks with her were difficult due to her excessive nipping and vivacious personality but I am HAPPY to say after a lot of love (and training), that she has completely stopped nipping and is house trained. She goes out for walks and to the parks almost every day and is very well socialized.

She plays very well with other dogs and love children. She knows how to sit, stay, lay down, roll over, crawl, shake, dance, go to the door when she has to potty and will even sit and stay for her food bowl until you tell her its okay to eat. She is a wonderful puppy and I would not trade her for the world. Thank you so much for taking this poor baby in (she had been abandoned in a box behind a bowling alley) and for helping all the other animals through your program. I love Cali so much!!! She is the best!! Thank you!


Starry, a beautiful calico cat, had a health problem that made it difficult for her to find an adopter. Like many people, Starry suffered from asthma and needed daily medication to keep it under control. Starry spent many months at the adoption center, and then many months as a foster cat at Cottage Vet Care, where her health could be monitored.

It was at Cottage Vet Care that Starry met the person that would change her life forever. It was love at first sight when Leslie met Starry and heard her story. Being an RN, Leslie knew she could take on the needs of a special cat with health issues. Here's a recent update from Leslie:

Dear AFRP,

Starry has blended into our family so well it's as though she has always been a memeber. We have an elderly dog named Kismet who adores her...they can often be found nose to nose on the couch or floor. Since we live in the country we have put up 4 bird feeders around our home and Starry has a perch in each window so she can observe the "goings on".

Her asthma is very well controlled these days as my husband and I give her breathing treatments with her 2 inhalers twice a day. She recently had her 3rd birthday and we celebrated with a cupcake for both Starry and Kismet! She is a delight and a treasure and we are thrilled to have Starry as the newest member of our family!

Leslie Van Nuys and Jim Webb

Penny, a 6-month-old pit bull puppy, was found on the side of the road with two broken front legs. Thanks to Dr. Roush and dozens of generous donors, Penny received the orthopedic surgery she needed. Penny was also lucky enough to find a wonderful foster family who lovingly nursed her back to health. But would Penny finally find the forever home she longed for?

Months passed without any good candidates for Penny's adoption. But Penny's foster parents, Stepheni and Jared, were her biggest fans. They created a blog for Penny and kept their colleagues updated on her daily progress. After hearing so many good things about Penny, coworkers Cora and Katie knew she was the dog they had been waiting for. Here's a recent update:

Penny is doing so well! She is fantastic. Last night we had a great night with her. We went down to Seabright Beach and took her for a walk. She was a little scared of the water when the water came in, but when it was going out, she would chase after it and roll in it. So cute!

When we let her out of her crate in the morning (and after she goes to the bathroom), she likes to jump up on the bed and crawl under the covers and give whoever is still sleeping lots of kisses. This morning she came up and snuggled and slept for a while.

We love her so much, and we are so impressed by how well behaved she is around us and other people. She is going to be such a great dog, and we are so grateful for this opportunity. Thank you for doing such a great job of fostering her and training her. She couldn't be any more perfect than she already is!

Katie and Cora

Valentine's Day turned out to be the luckiest day of little Enzo's life! A sweet black and white kitten with an adorable heart-shaped marking on his chest, Enzo was raised in foster care along with his siblings after coming to us from the Salinas Animal Shelter. Enzo's outgoing brothers and sisters were all quickly adopted, but shy Enzo waited and waited for a home. He was six months old and starting to look like an adult cat when Jami and Nate saw Enzo's photo on the web and thought he would be the perfect addition to their household:

Dear AFRP,

I just wanted to send in an update on Enzo, we have now had him since Valentines Day and he has become such a big part of our family! We absolutely love and adore him and he gets along so great with our other 3 cats. Enzo and our other boy Doodle love to run around and play, and he's very respectful to the 2 girls. He loves to carry around little fleece toy balls in his mouth as he eventually tears them to shreds and is sure to leave the stuffing all over the living room floor LOL! We even occasionally find his balls in the water dish, bath tub, sinks, and even in our shoes.

He spends most days romping around with Doodle, laying near a window soaking up the sun, sleeping on the cat tree, and his most favorite of all his belly rub time with me! I love how he always announces his presence (and his exit) with little happy mumbles and many mornings I wake up to find him perched on the bed next to me patiently waiting for his belly rubs, and he's always sure to thank me with kisses. It took him some time to warm up, he was very shy and scared when we brought him home, but he's opened up so much and even hangs around when we have guests over now. I am so glad we chose him and have been able to provide him a happy, loving home. He's truly a special kitty!

Thanks AFRP for all that you do for the animals out there and bringing them together with loving families.

Jami, Nate, Enzo, Peanutty, Little Kitty and Doodle

Jeffrey, a young Chihuahua mix, arrived at the Salinas Animal Shelter in terrible condition. Someone had tried to save money by neutering him at home, and as a result Jeffrey had a terrible infection. There was so much damage the vet had to amputate all his little boy parts. Fortunately, Jeffrey recovered well from his surgery. Though he resembled a little girl dog underneath, he was still "all boy" and tended to bark ferociously at certain large dogs or male visitors at our adoption center. Months passed without a serious adoption prospect for Jeffrey.

Luckily, one Saturday at the Adoption Center a love match was made. Shawna of San Francisco was visiting with her little dog Rico, and immediately felt a connection with Jeffrey. After getting approval from her landlord, the adoption process began. Shawna reports that Jeffrey is doing very well.

Dear AFRP,

Jeffrey is awesome! I think he likes city life. He's really good in the apartment, barking even less than Rico when he hears outside noises, etc. Last Saturday I had a couple of friends over and they all wanted their photos taken with Jeffrey. Quite the celebrity boy he is! I got comments like, "Don't tell Rico, but I think I'm in love!"

He and Rico are doing really well together, and they steal each other's toys all day. Meanwhile, I'm working on both dogs' leash agression. They're well-behaved in the house and with other people, but getting them out on the leash seems to give them permission to scream at other dogs. I'll be working with a behaviorist to get it under control!

Many thanks to Sandy, Michael and the whole AFRP team for hooking us up!




Creampuff, a rather large and opinionated gray and white cat was having a tough time finding a home, and being caged at the adoption center did not exactly improve her temperament. But once she became the AFRP "office cat" the sweet and funny side to her personality finally emerged. Creampuff's favorite activities? Eating, napping, and lounging in front of the portable heater, belly-up and legs akimbo!

Bettina was visiting the adoption center and asked to meet whichever cat was having the most difficult time finding a home. Creampuff had been with us nearly a year at that point, and was deemed the perfect candidate. Not deterred by Creampuff's reputation, adoption papers were soon signed and before long Creampuff was on her way to a new life in the Bay Area.

Bettina has kept us posted about Creampuff's progress:

Dear AFRP,

Just wanted to let you know that Creampuff is doing very well. She has taken over four comfy sleeping areas and gets her exercise playing with her favorite string. (So much for all the toys I bought for her.) She had a high fever last month and when I took her to the vet, they discovered she has a problem in her intestines she was born with . . . this could account for her cantankerous nature, as they think she is just protecting herself. She lost some weight, but it all came back quickly.

I now understand why she is called Creampuff. She wants nothing to do with smoked turkey or a nice slice of black forest ham. Completely ignores it. But open some cheese or a bottle of Strauss cream, and she goes nuts. A true dairy queen! Her preference is for Drunken Goat cheese and a nice sharp cheddar. What a life.

Creampuff, who used to be a terror, has calmed down into a cozy house cat. She’s still fat, but since food is one of her pleasures in life, so be it. She likes to sit on her window seat while I work. She tolerates my other cat and purrs daily. Quite a turnaround from Creampuff the Terror!

Best regards,


Jackie, a 2-year-old black lab mix mama with an 6-week-old puppy was in danger at an overcrowded shelter in the Central Valley. But fate was on her side, and soon she and her puppy were safetly in foster care with AFRP. It wasn't long before Lincoln, her cute-as-a-button puppy found his forever home. But was there someone out there for Jackie?

When Trina and her husband read about Jackie on the web, they knew she was the dog they was waiting for. Their last dog had passed away the year before, and they felt the time was right for a new canine family member. With a seven-year-old son at home, they were attracted by the fact that Jackie was so gentle with children and other animals. Trina recently sent an update:

Dear AFRP,

I can't believe how much time has flown by since Olive (formerly Jackie) waved goodbye to you and entered our family. It seems to us she has always been with us. She has blossomed into a fantastic girl. Kind, smart, gentle, goofy; all the things you'd love in a dog. She was a bit jumpy from all the city noise at first, but she's calmed down and found her place here.

She's great at the off-leash regional part trails and really enjoys her dog playtime at Point Isabel. The kids at school love her, the neighbors love her, WE LOVE HER! Thank you so much for letting us take her into our family!

All the best,

Trina and family

Charley was just a few weeks old when he and one littermate arrived at the Monterey County Animal Shelter without a mom cat. They weren't eating food on their own yet and they either needed to be bottle fed or needed a nursing mom who would take them in.

Fortunately, AFRP was able to introduce the orphans to Sharona, a young mom with 4 nursing kittens of her own. Sharona wasn't thrilled about taking on two more babies and rejected them at first. The foster mom used an old trick of putting a little wet food on each of the kittens. That got Sharona to start licking them and then she took them in and treated them like her own babies.

Suzi and her daughter Samantha met Charley when he was just a tiny fur ball who fit in the palm of your hand. The mother-daughter team have been volunteers for AFRP for the past 7 years helping to socialize cats and kittens.

Samantha fell in love with Charley immediately. He was a total ham and was full of personality. He was cute, he was fresh, and he had an independent spirit. Of all the kitties they had socialized over the years, Charley was the one they decided to adopt.

Charley enjoys going to the beach on a harness, riding in the car, and eating marshmallows and flowers. He adores Samantha and follows her around the house and sleeps on her bed at night.

Charley is now just about a year old. Suzi says he has turned into a humongous cat. He is three feet long - a big, big kitty.

Thanks Suzi and Samantha for giving Charley a loving home and for all your volunteer work over the years!


From time to time, Jean Knott thought about adding a small dog to her household, comprised of daughter Lindsay and their Belgian Malinois, Boomer. Then one day in February she browsed the AFRP website. One look at this darling 1-year-old corgi/chihuahua mix and she was in love.

It was fitting that Lindsay and Boomer met Tazzy on Valentine's Day. Despite the usual first-date jitters (Tazzy was described as shy and not always congenial with other dogs), it was again love at first sight. Tazzy and Boomer literally ran circles playing with each other. As Jean described it, Tazzy nipped Boomer's heels and off he'd go running, then he'd turn and nose her rear and off she'd go, until both were panting so hard Jean forced them to rest! The bond was cemented that night, when Boomer nosed Tazzy into his kennel, where she promptly curled up and went to sleep beside him.

Although called Zoe by AFRP, Tazzy earned her new name - yes, short for Tasmanian Devil - not only because she runs with a dizzying frenzy befitting of her namesake, but also because of her vocalizations.

Tazzy will soon start obedience classes but Jean has given her a head start. So far, Tazzy knows the hand signals for sit, down, and stay. Tazzy's goal is a "Good Citizen Certificate", so she can visit Hospice and nursing homes. With her silky coat and cuddly personality, Jean knows the elderly and ill will enjoy her.

Jean signs off with the following:

"From the bottom of my heart, thanks to AFRP. If our furry friends could speak, you'd all be showered with words of gratitude. You most definitely have ours."


Jessica, a shy tuxedo kitten, came in as a stray with her outgoing tuxedo sister, Charlotte. We thought they would be adopted together, but when Jessica caught a kitty cold and had to be quarantined while recovering, her sister Charlotte found her forever home. When Jessica was healthy again, she returned to the adoption center and even though her beloved sister was gone, Jessica's personality started to blossom. She was ready for a home of her own.

When Catherine and Cliff saw Jessica's photo in the Pic-a-Pet section of the Monterey Herald, they knew they had to adopt her. She looked identical to their two year old male cat, Butch E.! They recently sent an update with photos. (Jessica is on the right.) Perhaps Jessica was destined to always be a part of a tuxedo pair!

Dear AFRP,

Although a real "people cat", there seemed to be something missing from Butch's cat life so when I saw Jessica's picture, a light went off. It was love at first sight. Jessica could have been a litter mate to Butch E. and came examined, spayed, chipped and ready to take home. Cliff and I decided that the $150 adoption fee was our Christmas present to each other, a small price for such a treasure. We have a good holiday ending as Jessica is loved by all, especially Butch E. They constantly play and live a happy life, two lucky former feral cats together!

Thank you, Catherine, Cliff and Butch E. for welcoming Jessica into your lives!


Joene wasn't sure she could ever adopt an animal again after the loss of her beloved blind cat Sammie to cancer several years ago. But eventually she decided that if she were to adopt again, it would have to be another special cat like Sammie. When Joene's Petfinder search landed on Hobbs, an adorable blind tabby kitten, she knew she had found a match. The only catch? Hobbs was in Salinas, and Joene lived in Washington!

But true love knows no distance, and the week before Thanksgiving Joene flew to San Jose then drove to Salinas to meet Hobbs and his foster family. It was "love at first sight" for everyone! Joene sends frequent updates to let us know how Hobbs is doing:

Dear AFRP Friends,

Hobbs has adjusted very well to his new home. He gets along wonderfully with his "uncle cats" Grizzly and Ben, chasing them all around the house and jumping on them. They are very tolerant, and have made his transition into the family very easy. Christmas was fun thanks to Hobbs. He loved climbing the tree and playing with the ornaments. (Unbreakable and cat-friendly!)

Hobbs is definitely "all boy" and has no fear of anything. I call him "wild child" because he is constantly moving. But I also call him "Snugglepuss" because he can be the sweetest little guy who likes to be held and will purr and purr when you pick him up. I feel so lucky to have him in my life! He's pretty special! Thanks for all you and your volunteers have done to bring this little guy into my life. We are both very lucky!

Thank you Joene for welcoming Hobbs into your heart and home!


Romeo, an endearing seven-month-old black Lab pup, was one of the dogs that traveled from Denham Springs, Louisiana to AFRP in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav. Despite living through a hurricane and making the long journey to the Central Coast, Romeo maintained his sweet and friendly personality. It wasn't long before he caught the eye of Robin of Santa Cruz. She recently sent us an update about how he's doing:

Romeo is a very good doggie and is learning very quickly. He gets along wonderfully with his older sisters, Daisy and Buttercup, and they are learning to share their space and Mommy and Daddy's affection as much as can be expected from two 10 year old spoiled girls...He is not aggressive at all. If they growl or snap at him in an effort to be alpha dogs he simply ignores them and doesn't ever growl or act aggressive with them.

He is such a good boy. He was meant to be a member of our family. We couldn't have asked for a better companion to our older dogs - he fits right in - better than we had hoped. He LOVES the dog park (playing with other dogs is his absolute FAVORITE thing to do so we take him there nearly every day) and he loves going for long walks and hikes with us. He knows how to shake and sit and come and is learning how to "stay." Romeo is a wonderful dog and is a great buddy to us. It's hard to imagine a life without him. Thanks, AFRP, for bringing sweet Romeo into our lives.


Marla, a shy little brown tabby, came to AFRP from the shelter as a young mama cat with a litter of five kittens to raise, plus one orphaned kitten she graciously raised as her own. Marla's kittens were quickly adopted once they were old enough, but Marla waited and waited at the adoption center. Would anyone ever fall in love with a kitty who was too shy to ask for attention?

It was Marla's lucky day when DJ stopped by the adoption center. DJ was looking for a cat that would get alone with her other cats (all adopted from AFRP), and didn't mind at all that Marla would need a little extra time and patience to adjust to a new home. Now named Kupala, the shy little cat that nobody wanted is much loved in her new home. DJ sent the following update:

Dear AFRP,

Kupala enjoys sunning herself outside or cuddling with one of my other cats. She has adjusted very, very well. Her day consists of the usual cat stuff - eat breakfast, watch me feed the fish, sit outside in the sun, drool over the birds at the feeders, take a nap. Actually I guess it's not very different from my day!

You weren't kidding when you said it would take patience - but she is now fully integrated into the household. She plays, she purrs, and she loves to be petted and have her tummy scratched. She sits next to me on the couch and sleeps on my bed at night. My other cats have accepted her (she's cuddling with Harpo in the photo above). I'm very happy with Kupala and she seems happy with us!

Thank you, DJ, for giving Marla the loving home she was waiting for!


Second chances are sometimes hard to come by. And if you're one of the many little brown dogs that find themselves at the animal shelter, a second chance means all the difference in the world. Mr. Scott was lucky. He found his way into the AFRP adoption program, and once he was featured on the AFRP web site, he caught the attention of the Skow family of Dublin.

It was love at first sight when the Skows met Mr. Scott at the AFRP adoption center. They recently sent us an update about how he is doing:

Dear AFRP,

Our family wanted to send you a little note to say that Mr. Scott is doing great! We adopted him a little over a year ago, and he is just EVERYTHING to us! Scottie is such a good boy. My dad knew the second he saw him that he belonged with our family. We love him so much! We've included a photo of him with his favorite Oakland A's jacket.

I am so thankful that you all rescued him and took such good care of him. I just can't imagine life without Scottie, he just filles our hearts. And we must admit he is a bit spoiled. Thanks for being there for our little guy. He's very happy and so are we!


The Skow Family

When Diana received an email from Best Friends Animal Society about a litter of FeLV kittens that needed homes, she started thinking that she wanted to help another cat in need. Her own cat Boo Boo was an FIV+ cat she adopted through the Best Friends Network. When she contacted AFRP and learned about Dharma, a sweet five-year-old FIV+ cat in need of a home, Diana knew fate had stepped in to make her family complete.

Now Dharma is happily living with Diana, kitty Boo Boo and her dog friends Cruiser, Freckles and Scruffy. Diana is kind enough to stay in touch with AFRP with frequent updates:

Hello everyone:

Just a quick note to keep in touch and to say "hello" from Dharma, me and the clan. Hope this note finds everyone in good health, doing well and thriving. We are all doing fantastically hereabouts. Life is good. In the photo, Ms. Dharma is in one of her many resting places. This one is in the "Frog Room." I have habitats of geckos and aquariums of frogs and the heater is on most of the time...she's quite comfy here! Thank you again for the opportunity to have Dharma in our lives. Since I'm Buddhist, I believe the more Dharma, the better.

Respectfully and thankfully yours,



Thank you Diana, for opening your heart and home to Dharma!

Bolt and Janice, two black cats, ran into a stretch of bad luck. First, a falling tree destroyed their house in the big storm and flood of January 2008, and their owner had to give them up. Then they lost their next home when their new family had to move and couldn't take them along. They waited for months at the PetsMart adoption site in Santa Cruz. Just when they were starting to get discouraged, their luck changed!

Diane and Rob of Santa Cruz were looking for cats that would get along with their dog. When they met Bolt and Janice at the PetSmart adoption site and heard their heartbreaking story, they decided to give them the safe, loving home that they had been waiting for. They recently sent in a happy update:

Dear AFRP,

We adopted "Bolt" and "Janis" from the AFRP Adoption Center at PetsMart Santa Cruz in June. We adopted them as dog-friendly cats, our two older cats (18-1/2 and 13-1/2) passed on over the previous winter. They are now very comfortable, affectionate indoor cats, renamed after two famous artists, Pablo and Frida. As the photos show, these are happy "lucky black cats," who have settled in and filled out a little. We enjoy their company tremendously.

Our Corgi Gwynnie is still adjusting to having friendly cats, after being very intimidated by our "old girls," who never really liked having to share their home when Rob's dog moved in three years ago. The Corgi actually sniffs noses with them now! We thank AFRP for saving these lovely cats and having the faith that someday they would find their "for good" home.

Diane & Rob

Crockett, a beautiful 6-year-old Miniature Pinscher, lost his home and ended up at the Salinas Animal Services. Sadly, he had a seizure at the shelter, and could not be put up for adoption. The shelter staff called AFRP for help finding him a home.

Fortunately, the vet could not find a medical reason for Crockett's seizure. Miniature Pinschers can be sensitive dogs, and sometimes extreme stress can trigger a seizure. Once Crockett was out of the shelter environment and in a foster home, he had no further problems.

When the Matlock family read about Crockett on the AFRP web site, they knew he would be a wonderful addition to their family. They recently sent us a happy update:

Dear AFRP,

We love our new dog, Crockett! He is just the kind of dog we were looking for - cute, fun and cuddly. Thank you for taking such good care of him until we found each other. Christine, Crockett's foster mom, did such a great job with the adoption process. She was thorough, honest and friendly, and Crockett arrived to us in terrific shape. She is a true treasure to your organization.

My kids and I feel blessed not only to have given an older dog a good home, but to have such a wonderful addition to our family as well. We promise to always take great care of Crockett - he will have a good life with us.

Many Thanks,

Valerie, Jessica, Jordan and Crockett

Krystal, a beautiful longhaired cat with emerald green eyes, was a cat with "catitude!" She did not particularly like other cats, did not particularly like being at the adoption center, and did not particularly like men! We knew Krystal would be a tough adoption. It was Krystal's lucky day when Glenda saw Krystal on the AFRP web site and decided she was the one. With the patience of a saint, Glenda slowly and patiently won Krystal's trust. We recently got an update:

Krystal is a character! She has her moments when she will sit beside me (but don't touch) and often will sit nearby while I watch TV or read. We have a daily routine and if I am late, she comes to remind me what time it is. She can talk louder and with more attitude than any other cat I have known! Yikes! I swear she has learned to say, "NOW!"

We have our play times and favorite toys. I have turned her into a catnip junkie! She is still skittish about loud noises and quick movements, but she has come a long way. I do my best to encourage friendly moments. I coo and talk softly to get her to purr. She loves being told she is pretty. She needs to know she is safe, loved, and has a forever home. She is not affectionate the way other cats in my life have been, but when she does briefly open up a little, the gift of herself is priceless.

Thank you Glenda for giving your love to a cat who truly needed you!

Sometimes it seems as though everyone wants to adopt a puppy. That's why it makes us especially happy when an older dog gets a second chance to live out their life with a loving family. Divit, a handsome senior Australian Shepherd caught the eye of Nina and Scott of Los Gatos when they were looking for online for dogs to adopt. With an 18-year-old dog at home, an eight-year-old dog didn't sound very old to them at all! Nina recently sent us a wonderful update:

We're very happy to report that Divit has totally settled into our home and has become a real member of our family. We just adore him and he seems to really enjoy living up in the mountains with us! He has an absolutely great personality, and he's one of the smartest, friendliest dogs we've ever known. We were looking for another pooch who we could do a lot of hiking with. Our family also includes Fajita, a chihuahua we adopted a few years ago, and Pedro, a real Heinz-57 mixed breed who's been with us for 18 years. Both are wonderful companions but not too hot on long hikes.

When we saw Divit on the AFRP website with that big happy face and beautiful, tri-colored markings we fell in love with him immediately and thought, "Yep, he's the one!" Another thing that attracted us to him was that he's a little bit older (he's 8). We figured he'd probably be a little mellower and get along with the other two "kids" really well -- and that's exactly how it turned out. As a matter of fact, if anything having him around has given elderly Pedro, who loves to play with him, a new lease on life. Thanks to AFRP, we look forward to sharing many happy trails with Divit by our side.

Thank you Nina and Scott for giving a senior dog a second chance and a wonderful home!

Roman, a big, handsome Australian Shepherd/Bernese Mountain Dog mix, ended up at the Kern County Shelter and was sadley scheduled to be put to sleep due to overcrowding at the shelter. Fortunately, one of the shelter employees took Roman home so that he would be safe, and contacted AFRP for help.

Don and Dennis of Pleasant Hill loved Australian Shepherds and had set up an appointment to meet Joker, an Australian Shepherd that was available for adoption at his foster home in Santa Cruz. But when they met Roman, also in foster care, they knew he was the one they were waiting for. Don and Dennis recently sent a wonderful update to let us know how Roman is doing:

Dear AFRP,

I just wanted to let you know how wonderfully Roman has joined our family and changed our lives. Every day is a joy to be with him. He is a very, very happy dog, loves children, plays well with other dogs, and has caused complete strangers to stop us on the street and inquire about him. Most cannot believe he is a rescue dog. I always use that opportunity to mention AFRP and suggest they investigate adoption themselves, or at least make a donation.

Roman has learned to steeplechase and do some agility trials at Camp Four Paws in Clayton. The wonderful facility there is staffed by true "dog people" who get it and are inspired by the joy of the animals. They paid Roman a huge compliment when they stated, "We wish he was a breed!" Yes, he got the best of the Bernese Mountain Dog and Blue Merle Aussie.

He settles in so well in public that we take him to restaurants which allow dogs to be with their masters at outside tables. From the Left Bank in Pleasant Hill, to the Rutherford Grill in Napa, he is a show stopper! Again, strangers come up and inquire about him because he is so friendly, handsome and unique.

Thank you so much for this wonderful animal! We love him every day, and of course he gives us his unconditional love.

Best wishes,

Don, Dennis and Romans


Bradley, a frisky orange tabby, needed a home after coming to AFRP from the Salinas Animal Services. Full of energy and sometimes a bit naughty, Bradley needed an adopter who could appreciate his big, bold personality.

Jim and Ginger had a 2-year-old Maine Coon at home that needed a companion. They met Bradley at the adoption center and felt he might be a good match for her. Soon Bradley was off to his new home in Carmel Valley. We were thrilled when we heard from Jim and Ginger that all was well and Bradley was doing great in his new home:

Dear AFRP,

Bradley is getting along magnificently with our 2-year-old Maine Coon. They only needed about four days to start getting along with each other. They love each other and play much of the day. Tweetie Pie is very happy to have a rough and tumbling brother! We renamed him Wilson and we couldn't be more happy with our little fellow. It is nice to have a male in the house after several females for years. Wilson is very friendly, cuddly and full of the devil!

Thanks for allowing us to bring him into our home.

Jim & Ginger & Tweetie Pie

Thank you Nancy and David for welcoming MacGregor into your home!

George was found in southern Monterey County and ended up at the Monterey County Animal Services. His unique houndy-good looks and happy attitude got him a lot of prospective adopters. However, it was discovered that George was infected with heartworm, a mosquito-borne illness that is not seen often in this area.

George was taken to VCA All Pets Animal Hospital and began his treatment. He responded beautifully but he still needed to take it very easy for another month and have follow-up blood checks to make sure that the disease was completely cleared out of his system. He would have to be exercised very carefully and spend a lot of his time in crate rest, which can be challenging with an active dog like George. It was going to take someone special to adopt George and help him fully recuperate.

Brianna and Sean had been thinking about getting a second dog and felt that George might be the right one for them when they saw him on the AFRP website. Brianna had worked at a vet hospital and dealt with heartworm treatment before so she knew that they could help George recover. They contacted AFRP and came to meet George, bringing along their other rescue dog, Mops. Everyone seemed to immediately hit it off, including the two dogs. Final arrangements were made and George went home with Brianna, Sean and Mops.

George, now known as Huckleberry, has fully recovered and is happy in his new home. He enjoys walks through the woods and to the beach with his new family. He has made friends with the resident felines, two of whom Brianna and Sean are fostering through PetsUSA for an active-duty military member. Huck is now a beloved family member who will never again know the uncertainty of being an ill dog at a shelter, thanks to his wonderful adopters, the staff at MCAS and VCA All Pets, and the assistance of AFRP. Happy trails, Huckleberry!

MacGregor, a gentle giant of a Maine Coon mix, was biding his time at the AFRP Adoption Center, hoping his laid-back personality and unique looks would attract just the family he was hoping for. It worked! Nancy, a volunteer with Maine Coon adoptions in the Bay Area, found MacGregor to be exactly what she was looking for, and he soon joined Nancy, David and their two other Maine Coon cats, Solomon and Fergus. Nancy recently wrote us a nice update.

Thank you so much for rescuing MacGregor! We are so happy he is part of our family! He's sweet and funny and quite the gentleman. Despite his size, he waits until all the other kitties have been fed before he bellies up to his plate. (He's on a canned food diet and has lost about 1/2 lb. so far - only 5,992 to go!) Even our timid little female quickly realized he was no threat to her. He also loves to play, and has thoroughly conquered the blanket at the end of the bed as you'll see in the photo.

He's so very endearing. He has this gesture he makes when he wants petting that makes me think he thinks he's Fabio. He'll lift his head up, throw it back and sort of rotate it as if he has all that long streaming hair he needs to get out of his face. His favorite place is on our bed and sometimes I'll wake up in the middle of the night to find his head resting in my outstretched hand. Thanks again for bringing this wonderful guy into our lives!

Thank you Nancy and David for welcoming MacGregor into your home!

Panda had an unlucky fall, but fortunately he landed safely in the care of AFRP. Panda, now called Archie, recently sent us a letter and photos.

Dear Everyone,

My name is Archibald Leach Gertz, Archie for short. You knew me as Panda. I just wanted to thank everyone at AFRP for finding me a wonderful home and family. Now I have a step brother, Sparky, and a step sister KG, to live with. (Archie is middle dog in photo).

I ended up in Pacific Grove at your adoption center after falling from a shopping cart and breaking my leg. My new family has been working hard to get me healthy again. My leg was in a cast for 10 weeks. Then some of the bandaging had cut into my leg, so the healing took even longer after the cast was removed and I had to take some pills so I wouldn't get an infection.

Now I go swimming every day to help my leg get stronger. Our whole family goes for a walk every morning. We play together too. So I am getting a lot of exercise. I am so happy now. Thanks again for all your help. I am enjoying my new life!

Thank you Gertz family for taking such good care of Archie and providing him with the loving, responsible home he deserved!

Bocelli won the hearts of the AFRP staff, volunteers, and everyone who met him. Even though he was completely blind, he calmly and methodically mapped out the adoption center so that he could safely negotiate his surroundings - even climbing up and jumping down from cat trees without mishap! Bocelli also enjoyed playing with jingly balls and catnip scented mice, and was happiest of all when snuggled in the nearest lap.

When Beverly and Thierry saw a photo ad for Bocelli in the local Carmel Pine Cone, they knew he was the cat they were waiting for. Heartbroken after the loss of their beloved felines a few years before, they felt the time was finally right to open their hearts to a new cat. They fell in love with Bocelli the moment they met him and took him home to begin a new chapter in his life.

Bocelli adapted quickly to his new home, and was soon running and playing as gracefully as any sighted cat. Once Bocelli was comfortable in his new home Beverly and Thierry felt the time was right to adopt a buddy for Bocelli, and adopted from AFRP the handsome Siamese kitten shown in the photo above.

Beverly recently wrote, "Bocelli actually runs up and down the three steps to the kitchen, and runs around the house. He walks on the edge of the couch and has a great play area that affords him the opportunity to run, jump and be incredibly athletic. It's amazing how he navigates! Bocelli really likes having a new little friend. Both of them sleep with us, and Bocelli likes to sleep in my arms with the covers pulled over him - he is such a sweetie! Thanks again for Bocelli, he is an amazing guy, a true inspiration and a gift!"

Alfie, a 5-year-old German Shepherd, blossomed once he was out of the shelter environment. AFRP volunteers took him for walks around town, and even took him to lunch on Cannery Row! He came to the AFRP Adoption Center every day and got used to meeting new people and other dogs. His sweet personality was evident to everyone who met him, and Alfie became a favorite with volunteers, staff and visitors.

Paul and Ruth happened to stop by the adoption center one afternoon with their small dog Sally. When they saw Alfie, they were immediately interested in him. Alfie liked them too, and his former fear of men disappeared when he met Paul. Even little Sally gave Alfie her stamp of approval and was excited about her new big brother!

Since his adoption, Alfie and his family have stopped by the adoption center several times and report that he is doing wonderfully in his new home. One of his favorite pastimes is riding in the golf cart! He can often be seen with his family at the Cypress Inn in Carmel, mingling with the doggy crowd. He has a private trainer who is helping him work through his fears and is teaching him commands in French - since at some time bad things happened to him when he was given commands in English or Spanish.

Thank you Ruth and Paul for helping Alfie recover from his abusive past with patience, understanding, compassion and love!

When Marsha saw Sugar Pie's photo on the AFRP web site, she knew she had fallen in love. Partial to white cats, Marsha had a 16 year old white cat at home and recently lost her beloved white cat Paloma (adopted from AFRP) because of a stroke or possible heart problem.

Marsha knew Paloma could not be replaced, but she wanted to open her home to another cat and support AFRP's lifesaving work. As you can see from the photo above, it didn't take long for Sugar Pie (right) and Milky to become good friends. Marsha recently wrote:

Sugar Pie is already making herself at home! Although she is deaf, she seems to understand simple hand gestures and is very sweet, playful, beautiful and meows a lot! She is very 'vocal' and it's interesting coming from a cat that is deaf. We absolutely adore her and she's one fabulous cat! She is a bit shy, but she is already exploring the home and there has not been any aggressive behavior. We are very happy she is part of our family. She also has little traits of 'Paloma' and her energy too. Thank you again and we are grateful for the outstanding work by AFRP and the staff.

Thank you Marsha for providing a special home to a very special cat!

Not everyone can keep up with a young Jack Russell Terrier, but when Jan saw Bodie's photo and description on the AFRP web site, she knew he was the dog for her. She immediately enrolled him in obedience classes, and he was up to the challenge, quickly graduating from basic obedience 1 & 2. He passed his Canine Good Citizen test and started agility training.

It is not all work and no play for Bodie - he also has plenty of time for fun, and enjoys lots of hiking, swimming and cuddling with his new family. The photo above is from a recent agility fun match. Jan took the time to write:

Thank you for your hard work finding homes for so many wonderful dogs. I am so happy to have Bodie! He is the perfect hiking buddy and an incredible love bug too. I take him to work with me almost every day. Bodie seldom gets into trouble because he has company almost all the time! When I saw Bodie's face on your website, I knew he was just the pooch I was looking for. He is becoming an even more wonderful dog every day. Thank you so much for helping me find my little friend.

Thank you Jan for providing Bodie with the fun, active, loving home he needed!

We recently heard from Susan, who adopted Sweetie in August of 2005. Sweetie is happily serving as the resident cat at the lovely, pet-friendly Tradewinds Carmel. Susan writes:

Whoever quipped the phrase, "It's a dog's life," didn't know about Sweetie, the queen of the Tradewinds Carmel, a small luxury boutique hotel in downtown Carmel. Not only does Sweetie greet the guests (if she feels like it during her naps in the lobby), but she chooses certain guests to sleep with! One guest, who had left her balcony sliding glass door open, was especially amused when she woke up to a black and white bundle of fur sleeping on the white down comforter at her feet. Sweetie is a special kitty who was rescued by AFRP from the Salinas Animal Shelter with her kittens. She has found a very happy home at the Tradewinds Carmel. Anyone who would like to meet Sweetie is welcome to visit! She loves attention (when she feels like it)!

P.S. Tradewinds Carmel welcomes pets!

Thank you Susan for adopting Sweetie and providing her a fun and happy life!

When Buttercup arrived as a stray chihuahua at the Monterey County Animal Shelter, the staff was worried that she was close to death. An older girl who was very skinny and perpetually hunched over, Buttercup shrieked when anyone tried to handle her. Despite her obviously painful condition, she never showed any aggression toward the people who were trying to help her. In fact, she tried to give them little kisses of gratitude. She was quickly moved to a vet hospital.

A thorough exam showed numerous medical conditions: dental disease, a mid-grade heart murmur, slipping kneecaps and severe arthritis in her neck. She carried a crude tattoo in her ear that read "K17" and it was also readily apparent that Buttercup had carried numerous litters of puppies during her lifetime. She had almost certainly been a "producer" in a puppy mill. AFRP was contacted and Buttercup was included in our rescue program.

The hospital staff took care of her teeth and put her on heavy pain medication for her neck. They also performed the spay surgery which signaled the end of her life as a breeder. Though still in pain, she was pure sweetness to everyone at the vet hospital. Buttercup's next stop was a foster home where she could relax and heal. She was soon able to be taken off of the heavy-duty pain medication and began to put on some much-needed weight. She fit seamlessly into the pack of dogs in her foster home. Everyone seemed to love Buttercup!

After several months, a wonderful couple contacted AFRP about adopting Buttercup. Jim and Dasha had seen her picture and felt drawn to her. A meeting was set up and Buttercup proceeded to steal their hearts, too. She was adopted into this wonderful home, which includes two other small dogs and two cats. According to Dasha, "We are crazy about this little girl and thrilled to have her in our family." Buttercup has now embarked on the best part of her life, thanks to MCAS, VCA All Pets Animal Hospital, AFRP and, most especially, her forever family who loves her just as she is, without her ever having to produce another litter again!

Pacific Grove, CA

Wilson, a three-year-old Maine Coon mix, had the kind of calm, friendly personality that invited petting and hugging from everyone who met him at the AFRP Adoption Center. You would never know from looking at him that he had narrowly escaped death from a vicious animal attack that left him severely wounded a few months before.

When Donna met Wilson, she knew he would be the calm, loving cat companion she was looking for. She didn't mind that he had tested positive for FIV, and was committed to providing him the safe, loving home he had never known.

Donna recently sent us an email letting us know Wilson was recently featured on a local television station:

Dear AFRP,

Wilson was on TV in February on KION's Pet of the Month! They commented that he looked very regal and handsome - and also mentioned that he was adopted from AFRP! Wilson and I have a LOVE LOVE relationship that truly does rock, he is my best buddy. He knows his name now, sits up for treats, and walks nicely in his harness and leash for our little jaunts on the patio!

Warm regards and kitty kisses,

Donna and her boy Wilson

Thank you Donna for becoming the best friend Wilson was waiting for!

Dear AFRP,

It's been almost 2 years since I adopted my little friend from AFRP so this Happy Tail is much overdue...but I'm thrilled to send it along.

I found Todd (AFRP name 'Tye') on the website in 2006. My previous little Pomeranian had passed away the summer before and I was ready to start looking for another dog. I needed a smaller size dog and when I saw Todd's picture on the website, I was smitten. He was being fostered by the Larson family in Pacific Grove after being rescued from the Salinas shelter. He was getting over pneumonia but was on the mend and seemed to be a happy and friendly little guy. After a weekend 'trial' visit, I knew he was the one for me.

I often think of what his previous home life was like and what happened that he wound up in a fast-food parking lot (where he was picked up by the shelter). He's a great dog...he was completely housebroken and he also did well on a leash. He knew some basic commands and is very quick to learn new tricks. Although his teeth were in bad shape (after getting him a dental exam, he had to have 5 removed), he seemed healthy in all other ways. After a few months on flea control and good food, he developed a healthy and beautiful coat and his skin problems cleared up.

He loves his walks. Especially if there are cats or birds to make things exciting. He also loves his little toys and will often bury them to enjoy them later. He's a quiet, happy and loving little dog and I am thrilled to provide him a safe and happy home. He gives me so much pleasure. Thank you AFRP for helping Todd and all the other needy dogs and cats connect with those of us who can share a loving home with them.


Pacific Grove, CA

Our Happy Tails usually involve one specific dog or cat adoption. This time we are relating the happy story of a whole family of feral cats, who are spayed, neutered and are safe and sound thanks to the efforts of Bob and Wendy. They recently sent an update:

We were new to the area and discovered a family of ferals was living under our deck in the back yard. We enjoyed watching them from inside the house and were content to let them stay, but one day when three kittens appeared we knew we had to do something fast or the population was going to continue to explode! We trapped a male and female adult and the three kittens. Through Animal Friends and Aguajito Veterinary Clinic, the adults were altered. We then released the adults as they had a regular food supply and were not suited for adoption.

Our neighbors offered to help and worked with the kittens to socialize them. What a job! After a month or so, the two female kittens found good homes and the new owners pledged they would be spayed when they weighed enough. But the male kitten was a different story. Even with a month's work he was still very tentative and not ready to go to a new family. We took him in for the holidays and he stayed with us for another month when finally it seemed he was ready.

An ad on Craig's List did the trick and a young couple from Albany that already had one cat took him in. the male kitten is so happy now that he has a buddy; we didn't realize how much he missed his litter mates! He has a wonderful indoor home now and will soon be neutered.

Thank you Bob and Wendy for taking responsibility for this feral family and for helping the three beautiful kittens find homes!

Zoey has always had a wonderful smile, even when she was in the Monterey County Animal Shelter. She would sit at her kennel door and smile at everyone who walked by, hoping that maybe this would be her second chance and she would be going home. Unfortunately, her time at the shelter eventually ran out and she was put on the euthanasia list. Animal Friends realized that she had a lot of love to offer and stepped up to save her.

Her breed mix has never been a certainty and everyone who saw her saw something new: husky, pit bull, akita, dalmation, border collie. When the Matabuena family saw her smiling face on our website, they were in love and really didn't care what her specific breed heritage might be. They had been looking for a family dog for some time and just had not made the right connection. The Matabuenas immediately applied for Zoey and made plans to drive two hours from their home in the East Bay to meet Zoey. The whole family was smitten with Zoey when they met her and Zoey's dream of over a year was finally coming true: she was going home!

Zoey is a lucky girl and has found a family that finds her adorable, even finding humor in her occasional misdeeds. She has "redecorated" the yard a bit, having decided that she likes to bury things for later, and then comes to the door with dirt on her muzzle. She doesn't know that she is giving her secret away! She loves all the attention that she is now receiving on a daily basis and leans in for more when she is petted. The Matabuena family feels blessed to have found such a great dog; Zoey is thankful for all of the love and attention and returns every bit of it. AFRP wishes the newly-expanded family many years of continued happiness!

Fortunately, the third time was the charm for Garfield. He wasn't a good match for his first two families, but we recently got an update from his new mom Kat, and she had nothing but wonderful things to say about him. It sounds as though Garfield, now called "Gary," has finally found his forever home:

Dear AFRP,

I adopted Garfield and wanted to let you know how he was doing. Besides the good health stamp from the vet at his wellness check, he has settled in seamlessly with our family. He's very loved and appreciated for the big cuddlebug he is.

When I first brought him home, I had every intention of keeping him in a spare bedroom for a day or a few until he settled in and calmed down. Nope, he was ready to survey his domain (i.e. the whole house) within minutes of arriving. Our little dog Sofie (who he outweighs by at least a pound or two) tried to play with him, but he just stared her down until she got the message. By that evening he was curled up on the sofa with us as though he had lived there his whole life. He cried some the first couple days, looking for his old family, but now it's as though he's been a part of our family for years. We're slowly transitioning from "Garfield" to "Gary" - something similar, but human. My pets are my kids, and I like giving them human names.

After our Pepe passed away 2 years ago, I never thought I'd find another cat that could fit our family as well as he did. But Garfield/Gary's mannerisms and behaviors are so similar to Pepe's, it's like he was meant to be with us. I just thought you'd like to know that this has been a successful adoption!

Thank you Kat for giving Garfield the home he was waiting for!

Shelters can be terrifying places for little dogs, and Lola was too frightened to place in the adoptions area of the Salinas Animal Services after coming in as a stray. But the staff knew Lola was a sweet dog that deserved a chance. They contacted AFRP, and little Lola was placed in a foster home where she could gain the confidence she needed in order to find a home.

Jane, a Pacific Grove resident who had been looking for a small dog companion, stopped by the AFRP Adoption Center one Saturday in December and fell in love with Lola. It was a match made in heaven, and Jane recently sent us an update about how Lola is doing:

I wanted to take the opportunity to let you know that I found a true and fast friend when I adopted Lola (chihuahua/min pin mix) on Dec. 1st from your organization in PG. She is not only the cutest little dog on the peninsula, but also the most loving. She has never stopped "kissing" me since the day I brought her home, and she spends most of her spare time sleeping in my lap and in my bed. I am so grateful to AFRP and the good work you do. I will be donating as soon as I recover from Christmas bills!!!

Thank you Jane for providing Lola with the loving home she was waiting for!

Joey was a six month old tabby who had been picked up as a stray. His shy personality meant he was going to need a patient adopter willing to give him plenty of time to adjust to new surroundings. Recently we had a happy update from Joey and his family:

Hi, my name is Joey and I found my home in February 2007. I was scared at the beginning, worried about getting fed and fearful of my new surroundings. My new family didn't pressure me, allowed me to relax but kept talking to me and petting me. After a few days, I decided they were OK and came out from under the bed. They gave me lots of praise and rewards of food. I soon discovered that they'd do anything I wanted, that I could make them feed me, toss mouses for me and they even brought home a playmate. I love my girlfriend Maggie and we totally control the house...except for the Rules that our new parents have. We try to obey and not scratch things, knock things over or make messes. Thank you AFRP for finding me a home, and thanks to iRCA for finding my girlfriend too!

Thank you Tina for providing a loving home for Joey and Maggie!

Vinnie, a sweet Chihuahua mix, came to AFRP via the Salinas Animal Services after coming in as an injured stray. He had been attacked by another dog and had multiple cuts and puncture wounds. Though he recovered from his physical injuries in his foster home, Vinnie remained a very shy dog who was in need of an understanding adopter that could work with him and build his confidence.

Fortunately, Stan and Beth fell in love with little Vinnie, and were willing and able to provide him with stability and the love he needed. He has blossomed in their loving care and they recently sent us an update about how he is doing:

We just wanted to write and let you know that Vinnie has become the joy of our lives since adopting him April 2006. When he came to our home, he was shy and fearful. Since living with 2 cats and a very friendly Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, Vinnie has blossomed into a playful and hilarious dog. We wanted to take a moment to thank your organization for all of its efforts in rescuing dogs like Vinnie. My husband and I cannot imagine our lives without him. Thank you again for everything!!

Beth and Stan Bush (and Vinnie!!)

John, a pastor and Barbara, a RN were vacationing in Pacific Grove and stopped by the AFRP Adoption Center. They had recently lost their senior cat Mitzy, and were looking for a friendly adult cat to adopt. Something about Walter's photo caught their attention, and after meeting him they decided he would be the perfect match.

Hoping to get a good night's sleep the first night home in Turlock, Barbara and John set Walter up comfortably in a separate room. But at about 4 am, Walter found his way tot the Master Bedroom by opening the pocket door with his paw! Not one to enjoy being alone, Walter now dutifully sleeps at the foot of the bed until everybody is ready to wake up.

Barbara writes, "Walter is definitely the ultimate lap cat and would love it if we could just stay home every day and provide a lap for him. He sits in John's recliner on his study days and seems happy to do that." Recently Barbara's 5-year-old grandson Nicholas wrote her a letter about Walter before coming for a visit. "We're going to your house on Friday, Grandma Barbara. I really want to see your new cat you have. His name is Walter...I hope Walter never dies. And I really want to see the cat and I hope it's not a biting cat. I hope it doesn't have puppies."

Thank you John and Barbara for providing Walter with a loving home!

When she arrived in her foster home from the shelter, Joy-Lin was in a sad state. Most of the fur on her back was missing, the rest of her coat was ragged, and she itched and chewed on herself almost constantly. AFRP knew that there was a beautiful Pekingese underneath almost all the surface problems, though. After multiple trips to the veterinarian and medicated baths, oral medications and diet supplements, Joy-Lin's skin began to heal and her coat finally began to look better.

Her foster mom took her on-air for a Pet of the Week segment and happily, her new mom was flipping through the stations and just happened to hear the word "Pekingese". Kathy already had a Pekingese and was thinking about getting him a friend. While it wasn't exactly 'love at first sight' when Gizmo and Joy-Lin met, it was promising. Pekingese tend to be somewhat reserved and very dignified and the two understood and respected each other quickly.

Joy-Lin and Gizmo are good friends now and have been together through several moves, first to Washington state and now to Alaska! They are very bonded and Kathy is so glad that Joy-Lin joined the family. When she is excited, Joy-Lin will grab her little "stuffies" and run around the house; quickly stopping and flopping over with the toy still in her mouth. She looks every bit the gorgeous Pekingese now, including a flowing and healthy coat.

Thank you, Kathy and Gizmo, for giving Joy-Lin such a loving home.

Tora, a 3 year old calico cat, had been waiting for a home for over a year. Not one to hide her feelings, Tora had her feisty moments, and unfortunately sabotaged more than one potential adoption with an ill-timed nip or scratch! We were beginning to wonder if Tora would ever find her forever home.

Then one afternoon Erika walked into the AFRP Adoption center and wanted to meet Tora. She wanted to give a home to a cat that was having difficulty getting adopted. When told she could always return Tora to us if the adoption wasn't working out, Erika said, "Don't worry, when I adopt an animal they have a home forever."

Sure enough, Tora is now a happy girl in a home of her own. Erika sent us an update:

I wanted to send news about Tora. She has the run of the place now, we live out in the country, far from any roads with cars. She has finally gotten out all her aggression and she has become a very friendly cat, never claws, and begs to be petted. It seems she just needed to be an outdoor cat and have the freedom to run. She can go in and outside anytime she wants but is never late for dinner! By the way, she has lost all her fat and looks trim and fit now. I thought you would like to know what happened to this previously unadoptable cat!

Thank you Erika for giving Tora the home she was waiting for!

Dear AFRP Friends,

On 8/7/07 we welcomed a new addition to our family, Keoke Kia a beautiful 2-year old brown tabby girl. After extensive exploration of her new home, she settled in and cuddled up with her new mom and dad. Her information card said that she didn't like to be picked up or held, and would sometimes bite. In just one week, she has let me pick her up for short periods of time and has almost completely stopped biting with positive behavior modeling. And any "biting" has turned from defensive to soft nips and rare at that. She is cuddly, extremely affectionate, and a purring love-bug. She follows her mom and dad from room to room and wants to be in our laps on the couch a great deal of time. However, she has kept her catitude and will having quiet napping moments or relax time in one of her favorite spots.

She absolutely LOVES to nap belly-up in the late afternoon sun that pours through our living room window. She has been wonderful meeting new people and totally patient with children. Her vet, Dr. Marcus at Purrfurably Cats gave her a great health report card and thought she was adorable and sweet. Keoke plays with all of her toys when in "play mode" providing hours of entertainment and laughter. Keoke has already figured out that she is Queen Kitty in our home and has relished all of the love and affection we have for her.

Last September we suffered a tremendous loss as our cat, Mister, of 15 years passed away after a long battle with lymphoma. Mister was my best friend and losing him was one of the toughest periods in my adult life. I know Mister would approve of Keoke as our new family member and would be happy that we are able to give Keoke a comfortable, happy home! Thanks again AFRP for all that you do for all the amazing adoptable pets. Your passion for animals has warmed our hearts and home with our new kitty Keoke Kia.

Thank you, xoxoxo's, and purrs...

Lisa, Tom and Keoke Kia

What a difference a few months can make! When you see the photo of Stella above, with her shiny, healthy coat, you would never know that six months earlier she had a severe case of demodex mange that almost cost her her life. Luckily for Stella, Michelle and Craig saw the potential in this wonderful pup and knew she would blossom in a loving home.

Michelle and Craig share, "We didn't rescue Stella, she rescues us each and every day.

My husband Craig and I lost our nine-year-old Golden Retriever/Shepherd mix Moses to severe IBD in July of 2006. The loss was devastating, especially for my husband. When I started looking for adoptable dogs I don't think Craig was ready. I knew it would take a special dog to bring him around. One day I came across Zelly's picture on the AFRP website. She had the cutest mug so I did my homework on boxers. The breed seemed a good fit for our lifestyle and it turns out that Zelly was being fostered right down the road from my work.

I was enamored with her from the start. Craig had his reservations, but I just knew this dog would be a great addition to our family. The night before we went to pick Zelly up, Craig decided we would call her Stella. It fits her to a tee. She is energetic, overzealous and always the clown. She is also very loving, sensitive and always ready for a nap and a cuddle.

Stella's not perfect. The demodectic mange that prompted her previous family to take her to a vet to be put down is always threatening to return, she can't stand to be left alone in a crate and often she's too dominant with smaller dogs at the dog park. But Stella is perfect for us. She always pays us back tenfold for the work we put into her medical treatment and obedience training and she greets us every morning with a healthy doses of puppy kisses that remind us we can love again."

Thank you Craig and Michelle for giving Stella a second chance!

The Salinas Shelter contacted AFRP for help placing little Bella, a homeless black kitten. Before long she was at the PetSmart adoption site with other adoptable AFRP cats. Bella may have been small, but she definitely knew how to get some attention. to stand out from the crowd? Meow of course!

Bella's new family writes:

We adopted Bella last August through AFRP at PetSmart. Bella caught our attention while we were shopping for cat food. She was a tiny black kitten with fuzzy fur who was screaming in her cage like it was the end of the world! She reminded us of the black cat Calvin we used to have, but lost to lymphoma 5 years ago. We spent about an hour playing with Bella, adopted her and took her home.

Now Bella is 1 year old and she is a sweetheart. She joined three other cats: Hobbes, 4 years old (in the photo) and Deuce and Ziggy, both almost 9 years old. Bella formed a special bond with Hobbes. She is still a talker, unlike the other cats. She has a very fuzzy tail that had been broken at some point when she was a kitten. Bella knows how to rule the roost! We are very happy with our feline family. Thank you AFRP!

Minnie's new mom writes:

"You're adopting a broken dog?" a friend asked as we headed out for our 3-hour drive to Pacific Grove from Fresno. We were...we'd fallen in love with Minnie from the moment we saw her on the AFRP site! We had been dog foster parents for local rescues for a year, and felt ready for a dog of our own. It was love at first sight! Minnie loved going to her water-based physical therapy and is now blossoming as a therapy-dog-in-training. We continue to be kitten foster parents (having fostered 32 so far this kitten season) and Minnie lovingly watched over them and alerts us if any escape from their kitten area! 2 months after adopting Minnie, we were contacted by another rescue asking us to consider adopting a small dog with the exact same medical problem Minnie had (requiring FHO hip surgery), and this time we didn't hesitate to say yes. Minnie has shown us that there is never anything "broken" about a great dog that a wonderful, loving home cannot fix! Minnie gets full credit for encouraging us to save Corey (who is recovering now from her OWN hip surgery) and for being an expert kitten "foster mom," too!

Thank you Harvie and Ron for opening your hearts to two special rescue dogs!

Sometimes serendipity plays a part in matchmaking! P.J. and Monique didn't set out to adopt a new kitten, but as fate would have it, little Jaime (now Yoda) found a love match several months ago when his playful antics caught their attention. P.J. and Monique write:

Yoda, a.k.a. Little Goober (formerly Jaime), came to our family in an unusual way...we were not looking to adopt the day we met him, merely to buy crickets for my partner's frogs at work. Having adopted one of our cats already through the AFRP, we always peruse the available cats for adoption at Posh Pets. We saw this itty bitty little orange tabby playing with a mouse; and, looking ever SO cute. We couldn't help but ask to see him. Instantly, we were in love; but, already having three cats and a 77 pound Aussie at home, we weren't sure about adding another member to our family. We went home and discussed it for about an hour; and, realized we just could not say "no", to love. We went back and adopted him that day as our anniversary was coming up; and, he was a present for the both of us. He is the perfect fit to complete our family. Yoda has bonded to ALL our cats; and, even to our Aussie, where he can sometimes be found sleeping in the crux of his paws. It only proves the saying, "Cats are like potato chips. You can't have just one!"

Thanks for another easy and wonderful addition to our family,

P.J., Monique, Blue, Toby, Tiki, BuzzMan and of course Yoda!

Bobby, (now Bobbitt) is a senior cat who lost his home and was taken to the Salinas Animal Services. Transferred to an AFRP adoption site in Salinas, it was Bobbitt's lucky day when the Stewarts decided to make him their new kitty companion last March. Having recently lost their 20 year old rescue cat, the Stewarts are thrilled to be sharing their home with Bobbitt. Alison writes:

As you can see from the photo, Bobbitt has adjusted well and has his new "dad" wrapped around his paw! His life is pretty stress-free and he is totally relaxed unless:

  1. It is dinnertime.
  2. He is chasing lizards in the backyard
  3. He is training the two family Labs to respond to his wishes!

Bobbitt has brought much joy to our lives and we are convinced that our 20 year old rescue tabby - Poncho - who left us last year for kitty heaven, hand -oops - paw-picked Bobbitt for us to fill our lives with kitty love. Many thanks for what you do!

Thank you Stewart family for giving an older kitty a second chance at happiness!

Mikey, an adorable 5-month-old Corgi/Jack Russell Terrier mix, had just recovered from hip surgery when Sarah and Clay scanned the AFRP web site and fell in love with his sweet, sad little face. Touched by the fact that despite all he had been through in his short life, Mikey was still just a happy-go-lucky, friendly little pup, it wasn't long before the adoption was finalized. Sarah writes:

"I just wanted to let AFRP know that my husband (Clay) and I consider our adoption of "Mikey" the corgi/jack russell terrier mix puppy a very "happy tail", although our three cats aren't quite so smitten with him yet. We watched Mikey (now "Spreckels" for his black and tan freckles) in a puppy class at From the Heart dog training, and knew we had to take him home! He's been a great companion ever since. True to his AFRP description, he is a real extrovert, who has made friends with all the neighbors - human and canine - and has learned which stores in town welcome dogs and offer treats. Thanks to his foster mom, he is well behaved, sleeping through the night in his crate, walking on his leash, and happily riding in the car. We've discovered that he is a natural "fetcher" and a bit of a clown. He likes to roll his ball down the sloping floor in our old house so that we can fetch it for him, or exchange the ball for a stuffed toy mid-fetch. He loves all toys, and usually collects them all in whichever room we are in. His hip has healed well, and about once a day when the mood strikes him, he'll race around exuberantly usually dragging a toy. We are very grateful for AFRP and all the volunteers who saved and healed Spreckels. Every day it seems he introduces us to someone new and makes both us and his new friend smile."

Cupid was working overtime in February 2007! The Coen family made two love matches with AFRP animals. No sooner had they adopted Itty Bitty, a tiny 6-year-old Chihuahua mix, then Rhonda, a shy 3-year-old Maine Coon mix caught their eye and another lucky animal went from being homeless to being a beloved family member.

Can a great big cat and a little bitty dog get along together? No problem! Gloria writes, "Rhonda runs all over the house and chases Carlos (Itty Bitty's new name) and then Carlos takes a turn chasing Rhonda. It is very cute, and neither is a bit intimidated by the other! Rhonda and Carlos and Princess, our other dog, all sleep with us on top of the bed. In the morning, Rhonda the cat rubs her face on us and licks our ears. She just purrs and purrs! She has changed so much since we first brought her home. She's now very trusting and affectionate. I'm so glad Rhonda and Carlos adopted us as their people. We laugh and love them so much!"

Thank you Gloria and Richard for giving Rhonda and Itty Bitty a second chance at happiness!

The Walicek family was searching for a dog to adopt. Their beloved rescue lab, Angel, had passed away and they were finally ready to open their hearts and their home to a new rescue dog. They searched the Internet and fell in love with Poppy.

Poppy was soon renamed Darcie, after the family's favorite Pride and Prejudice character. She immediately bonded with Audrey, age 14, and sleeps on her bed every night! Darcie is a star student at obedience classes, and enjoys going for hikes with the Waliceks at a local county park.

The Waliceks write, "Darcie has been an absolutely wonderful addition to our family. She knows just when to be playful, cuddly, mellow, wild, cautious, and protective. We all love her to pieces and it takes all our self control not to spoil her rotten. She's established connections with each of us and we enjoy her so much we take her with us just about everywhere. All dogs should have it this good! She seems to know just what we need and whether we're in a playful or quiet mood and adapts perfectly to each situation. She's our dream dog. We can't believe someone wasn't out there looking for her - she's so wonderul with kids and dogs. We can't thank you enough for rescuing her and helping us find her."

Thank you Walicek Family for adopting Poppy and giving her a second chance at happiness!

Poor Scarlet. The world can sometimes be a scary place for a sensitive kitty! Living as a stray, then being moved from the Salinas Shelter to the AFRP Adoption Center made Scarlet want to hide under the nearest blanket! All those new smells, sounds and strange people looking at her every day was just too much!

Fortunately Bob and Kim Brook fell in love with Scarlet at our Santa Cruz adoption location, and were committed to giving her as much time and patience Scarlet would need in order to feel comfortable in her new home. After spending time squeezed behind their sofa and huddled in a cubby in the linen closet, Kim reports that Scarlet has finally gained confidence and has become a friendly, relaxed kitty.

"Scarlet has turned out to be a barrel of laughs, and a very sweet kitty! She has boundless energy, acting far more like a kitten than a matronly 8-year-old, so we are unsure how old she actually is. It doesn't matter. She is happy and healthy. She has dropped some of her pudginess, not from lack of food, as she has as much as she wants to eat, but from her intense activity. She races around the house, plays constantly, climbs everything, and just generally gets tons of exercise!

One really hilarious thing about her is that she loves to watch TV! In fact, we have discovered that she loves nature programs, especially those that feature BIRDS! A few weeks ago they had a full-length movie called Bird Migration on PBS, and I'm not kidding, Scarlet sat and watched the whole thing! I had it on in the background, and would leave the room to do something, come back and she was still glued to the TV! It was so funny! Now anytime birds come on television, she is so there!"

Thanks Kim and Bob for giving a shy cat a chance at happiness!

Huey's future was not looking very bright. A two-year-old Hound mix who had been picked up as a stray, Huey waited at the Monterey County Animal Services for his family, but nobody came to take him home. Perhaps he was overlooked because of his injured hind leg: the result of an old fracture that had been left to heal on it's own. Though pain-free, Huey's misaligned bone left him with a pronounced limp in his right hind leg.

Fortunately for Huey, the staff at the Monterey County Animal Services felt he was a wonderful dog that deserved a second chance. When he reached the end of his allotted time and was put on the euthanization list, the shelter contacted AFRP to ask for help. Huey was placed temporarily in an AFRP foster home, and it wasn't long before he found his forever family.

Gina and Ray Loftin had started looking for a new canine companion after losing their beloved German Shepherd that passed away last May.

"We had decided that when the time was right, we would look into adoption instead of buying a puppy as we had in the past. We knew it would be a win-win situation. After reading Huey's story and seeing his cute face on the AFRP website we just fell in love," says Gina.

Gina and Ray met Huey and felt an instant bond. They could see past his physical imperfection and recognize the loyal, gentle soul beneath. His transition into the Loftin home has gone very smoothly. Now called "Harley," he eagerly awaits his daily walks and rides in the car. Saturday morning trips to the dog park are joyfully followed by a jump in the river! After each busy day, Harley promptly puts himself to bed at about 7:30 every night.

"We couldn't have asked for a better experience with adopting through AFRP," remarks Gina. "We look forward to many wonderful years with Harley!"

Harley, like the other 10,000 dogs and cats rescued since 1998, is the kind of animal AFRP is called upon to help each day. Deemed the "least adoptable" at the shelters because of age, a medical problem, or a behavioral issue, these are the dogs and cats that are least likely to make it out of the shelters alive. Thanks to the efforts of AFRP, there are 10,000 precious lives that instead of being destroyed, are happily living as cherished family members.

When Rachel and Roger saw Charley's sweet face on the AFRP web site, they knew they had to meet him, even though it meant a long drive to Pacific Grove from their home in Paso Robles. After all, who could resist those sweet eyes and soft orange tabby coat?

Even though Charley has laryngeal paralysis, a condition that makes it uncomfortable for him to purr like a normal cat, Rachel knew she could provide him the loving, secure home he needed. Charley needed to learn to stop purring when his airway started to become obstructed, and Rachel was willing to help remind him.

Rachel reports that Charley is thriving in his new home and has adjusted well to his new family:

"Charley still purrs, then takes his time-outs, then zooms right back to what he was doing before. It is amazing how he has learned to deal with his condition. It must bother him, but he chooses not to let it get him down. We see him as having a very breezy personality. Charley adjusted quickly to our home and our other cats and gets along with them very well. He is our good time Charley! He has such a carefree attitude about life. Thank you to AFRP for your efforts at saving not only Charley, but all the animals you have saved."

AFRP foster mom Gina chose Tucker, a deaf Chihuahua mix, as her 33rd foster dog. She nursed him back to health, house trained him, and (most importantly) loved him. Amy Davis saw Tucker's picture online, and was immediately in love! Something about his sweet face and the biography about his personality drew her in. She couldn't stop thinking about Tucker and even dreamed about him the night before they met.

Amy writes:

"As soon as Tucker walked through the door the whole family was in love. My two beagles, Remington and Roxie, welcomed him immediately. I have never seen them respond so positively to a dog they had never met. It was like they had known and loved him forever. When my boyfriend met him, it was a match made in Heaven! They adore one another. Tucker was a perfect fit!

I now have the opportunity to start everyday with the most unbelievably joyous greeting from Tucker! He is so happy to start each day...come to think of it, he is so happy about EVERYTHING! He is funny, energetic, SO cuddly, and the most popular little guy you could ever imagine. Every friend and family member loves him so much that I am constantly asked to bring him along (and let him stay!)

Tucker truly is a blessing. He adds an amazing spirit to any room that he enters. He skips when he walks and makes us laugh every day. Thank you Animal Friends Rescue Project for saving Tucker and giving us the chance to love him!"


Abandoned in a cardboard box on a dark and rainy night, Ziggy was rescued and spent several months at the AFRP adoption center, waiting for her forever home. Fortunately for Ziggy, Karen Sheppard was looking for a friendly, mature cat to provide companionship for her elderly parents.

At first Noel, Karen's dad, was not sure he wanted the burden of caring for a pet, since he was also the primary caregiver for his wife Rita, who has Parkinson's Disease. But Ziggy's gentle and sweet personality soon won him over. He decided to rename her "Sophie". Noel writes:

"Sophie loves to be with us. She naps when we nap. She loves to be petted and talked to. Because she is an older, indoor cat she is so easy to care for and easy to please. She has now become the third member of this duo: a true companion. I cannot hear well, Rita can't see or talk well, but Sophie doesn't care. She loves us just the same. She has brought us pleasure and companionship! I would say to any older couple: consider an older cat. Stop by AFRP and see if they have a "Sophie" for you! I think you will be glad you did."

We'll never know how Ziggy/Sophie spent the first 10 years of her life, but we know she'll spend the remainder of her years surrounded by love. Thank you Noel and Rita for bringing her into your lives!

The Levers family were vacationing in the area and chanced upon an AFRP adoption event in Carmel. Their teenaged kids were the first to discover Elf. Elf floored the Levers with his feistiness, charmed them by putting on his cutest prancy walk and quickly snuggled his way into their hearts. The Levers lived in Texas and were in a quandary as to what to do, but soon were making arrangements to fly Elf back to Texas with them!

Gus, as he is now called, was accepted by his furry siblings Charlie (25 lb. Schnauzer) and Ralph (45 lb Schnoodle) without a fuss. Initially unsure as to what he was, they have now realized that he is a dog, even if he's much smaller than they are! Charlie is the boss of the crew, and he tends to keep watch on Gus when outside, making sure he doesn't roam too far. With his cute looks and affable charm, Gus is quite the traffic-stopper - when he's at the airport, people stop and run up to pet him. He was even featured in the town's Christmas parade leading the way in the church youth group entourage.

Sherry is thrilled to have Gus in the family and fondly adds "Gus is very playful - loves to play fetch with toys, loves to be chased (or chase) and is always up for a good belly rub. He minds well and has gotten into our routine - has a bed in the office for daytime napping and his choice of family members at bedtime; however, most nights, he's at the end of our bed, next to Charlie. We couldn't have asked for a better, easier adoption experience and as with our other adopted dogs, couldn't be happier with the results."

Thank you, Levers family, for giving little Gus a second chance at life and for providing him a safe haven where he feels protected and loved.

Charming, friendly, and very handsome, Nike is a three-year-old polydactyl orange tabby who had been slated for euthanasia at the San Jose Shelter before being rescued by Animal Friends Rescue Project. Why? Simply because he was FIV positive.

Bob and Susan Reikes report that Nike has been healthy and happy since they adopted him in March of 2006. Recently Susan sent us an update:

Dear Animal Friends,

What a delight your organization has brought to our lives! We adopted Nike the day before St. Patrick's Day, and gave him the Irish name, "Cushla McCrie," meaning "Pulse of my Heart" in Gaelic, and he truly lives up to that name. Some highlights since he lit up our home:

  • My husband (a.k.a. "the man who doesn't like cats") had been converted! Cush snuggles up on his lap every evening.
  • Our rescue dog, Reilly (a.k.a. the neighborhood cat-chaser) now considers Cush part of the pack and is very protective. Cush repays him with grooming, which the dog tolerates. They were recently caught snoozing in the sun, with Cush draped across the large dog's paws, and have also been caught in our bed - together!
  • The "wonder cat" doesn't scratch furniture, favors silk pillows, yogurt and brushing. A fierce hunter, there are no more bugs in the house! He purrs his way through life and reminds us of each precious moment. Thank you for saving him.

Sincerely, Susan Reikes

Thank you Reike Family for giving an FIV positive cat a second chance!

Sammi and her siblings were products of irresponsible breeding, and were abandoned at a high-kill shelter in Kern County. Fortunately these pups were rescued by AFRP and given a second chance at a happy life.

Sammie was one very lucky pup when she was adopted by Luke. Committed to being a responsible puppy owner, Luke did his homework. He made sure Sammi was properly socialized at an early age to other animals and to people of all ages. He took her to beaches, dog parks, and Sunday walks through crowded sidewalks. She met babies in strollers, children, adults and shop owners who kept doggie treats behind the counter! She was well on her way to being an obedient, well-adjusted dog.

Now at almost a year of age, Sammi has grown to be a nice, medium sized dog the size of an Australian shepherd. She has not only learned all the basic things dogs need to know -- house training, crate training, retrieving objects -- she has also mastered an amazing repertoire of more complicated tricks and commands. She knows sit, lay down, paw, other paw, high five, double high five, and Bang! (play dead).

Luke and Sammie have formed a very special bond. In gratitude, Luke says, "Thank you very much for rescuing Sammi and thank you for allowing me to become her father. She is an outstanding dog and I do cherish everything she brings to my life!"

Kristen and Mike had adopted a dog from AFRP a couple of years ago and periodically checked the AFRP website for updates. They came across Captain Le Feet and his siblings, and it took only one meeting for the spunky little "pirate" to swashbuckle his way into their hearts and home.

Le Feet was a kitten who was fostered with his mom and siblings by AFRP volunteers Barb and Taven. When Kristen and Mike met the purring pirate family, they were in a quandary as to which kitten to take home. With extra toes on his paws, Le Feet knew he was special and kept trying to climb on Mike's shoulder to make his presence felt. Within an hour of taking him home, Le Feet had taken over the house and was fearless despite having two big dogs around.

Kristen and Mike love their new addition to the family. Kristen says, "He is such a loving cat who is either playing or is on someone's lap getting love. I don't think I have seen such an affectionate kitten before. He is the king of the house, wanting to hang out with Mike or I and the dogs all the time (so very un-catlike!) Funny to see how a 6-pound kitten can control a 73-pound dog but he does - from wrestling to napping. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't say, 'I love this kitty' and feel especially lucky to have adopted two great animals from AFRP. When asked by others where to adopt a dog or cat, I immediately say AFRP - your organization is great!"

Thank you Kristen and Mike for letting Le Feet share his treasure chest of love with you.

Lady was a partially blind, 2 year old pit bull mix who, because of the unfortunate reputation pit bulls have, was languishing in a shelter when AFRP took her in. Having grown up with pit bulls during her childhood days, Anna was convinced that pit bulls are a loving breed and wanted to give Lady the forever home she deserved. When Anna saw Lady, it was love at first sight!

Lady, now called Chloe, has made herself right at home and quickly adjusted to the household routine. Her morning starts off with a belly crawl down the hallway before bounding off to wake Anna & Richard's sons - Ian and Jared. It took Chloe a while to unlearn her puppy maxim 'A toy is a toy is a toy' and she now knows the difference between the kids' stuffed animals and hers. Anna has cheerfully accepted the lapdog status that Chloe has bestowed upon herself. When she isn't indoors curled up beside Anna, Chloe indulges herself outside by jumping on the kids' trampoline and sunning herself.

Anna says with fondness, "Chloe travels wonderfully in the car and loves to go for walks. I can't say that everything has been perfect. I still can't convince her to keep all four feet on the ground. The kids have been knocked over on more than one occasion. If nothing else, she is teaching them to be more assertive. As much as she is thick headed and stubborn, she makes up for it in smiles and loveliness. I still feel very sad every time I think of Eli, but I look at Chloe and can't help but smile."

Thank you Anna and Richard for filling Chloe's world with love and demonstrating that pit bulls are just as huggable and lovable as any other breed.

Lucky's name fits him to a tee - nowadays anyway! When he was taken to the Salinas Shelter a year ago he was not so lucky. He was an eight year old "BBD", an acronym used to refer to big black dogs, statistically the least likely to make it out the front door. Eventually Lucky was placed on the euthanasia list and his fate was sealed.

However, sometimes fate takes a different course. An AFRP volunteer happened to be at the shelter that day. She saw Lucky sitting there, looking very sweet and melancholy. She knew Lucky deserved another chance. Arrangements were made to get Lucky into sponsored boarding. Lucky was out!

A week later Lucky was taken to an AFRP Adoption Day at Trader Joe's in Pacific Grove. Giselle and her two daughters, Hayley and Amelia met him, and instantly fell in love. He reminded Giselle of a dog she had as a child. The family wanted a friendly, older dog and Lucky was exactly what they were looking for.

Giselle reports that Lucky fits into their family perfectl. The girls share the responsibilities of his care, and they love going for walks together. One of Lucky's favorite activities is going to Best Pets in P. G. for a bath. Afterwards he is treated to a hamburger. He loves being with his family, and his family feels blessed to have found him. Giselle says, "I don't believe in coincidences. Things happen for a reason."

Thanks you Young family for welcoming Lucky into your hearts and home!

The Crozier family had recently lost their two elderly cats, and had not been serious about adopting again. Until they met Elmer, that is! Completely shaved after being hopelessly tangled in sticky mousetrap paper, the Croziers said Elmer reminded them of a little hairless Chihuahua! Despite the trauma of his past, Elmer had a great, confident personality from the get-go. Because he got cold easily, Elmer would snuggle up with the Crozier's two golden retrievers, and they have become fast friends.

The Croziers relate, "Unbelievably, Elmer grew into a gorgeous, fluffy gray cat with beautiful golden eyes. He is independent, confident, playful and sweet. He's the type of cat that even people who hate cats like. He acts more like a dog, and follows our Golden, Tia, around the yard most of the day. He also scampers around and plays with our house bunny, Chester. Elmer gets along beautifully with our other cats, and is very tolerant of our children as well. What a wonderful cat Elmer turned out to be!"

Thank you Crozier family for giving an "ugly duckling" a chance to blossom in your loving home!

Avery was all of 4 and 1/2 months when Stephen and Alexa brought him home. Sprightly and playful, he was rapidly growing in size and in their hearts. Avery, unlike most kids, loves school and finds his weekly dog-training classes exciting and fun. He works hard and plays hard. He loves the long daily walks that Stephen and Alexa take him on. And the true Californian that he is, he loves romping on the beach and playing catch with Frisbees and balls. He possesses natural and almost intuitive catching abilities and is getting better and faster each day.

Avery also scores highly on the popularity chart. He is frequently visited by his next door neighbor Tucker, a friendly goofy golden retriever, and Dino, a black lab, both of whose company he relishes.

Stephen and Alexa could not be happier with their new love. Stephen says, "Although Avery is still full of puppy energy, he listens very well and has yet to have an accident in the house. We feel so very fortunate to have Avery in our world. He makes our every day lives so bright and he is always willing to share his love and affection with us. We are also so glad that we found him through such a personable, friendly, and helpful organization. AFRP does wonderful things and I'm proud of adopting from such a positive organization."

Thank you Stephen and Alexa for giving Avery the opportunity to blossom into the lovely dog he is and for filling his world with love.

To see Sara, (now called Dolly) enjoying her first trip to Bass Lake with her new family, Jim and Marty, you would never believe that this beautiful yellow lab was scheduled to be put down at an overcrowded animal shelter in the Central Valley. Fortunately AFRP and Lab Rescue worked together to save this dog's life.

Martha writes:

We feel incredibly lucky to have Dolly in our lives. She is the sweetest girl imaginable. We take Dolly to the local dog park every day and she spends the entire time chasing a tennis ball - a true obsession. Dolly loves to ride in the car with her head out the window and her ears blowing in the wind. We bought her a pair of Doggles to wear so she doesn't get any debris in her eyes. She looks just like the Red Baron!

Dolly is amazingly gentle with our 15-year old lab, Otis. Sometimes they sit face to face and kiss each other.

At first, Dolly didn't want to sleep on our bed, but we convinced her that the family bed was a good idea. She now agrees wholeheartedly. We have horses in our neighborhood and Dolly has made friends with them. Every evening she stops and says "hi" when we take her on a walk. Dolly's favorite trip is to our cabin at Bass Lake. She loves to ride in the boat - at the bow, in a "I'm queen of the world" pose. She is also a very strong swimmer and loves to fetch driftwood or tennis balls in the lake.

When we brought Dolly home, we had no idea what a lucky day it was for us. It was also a pretty lucky day for Dolly. Thank you so much for our very special girl.

Christine, a local schoolteacher, was thinking it was time to add a feline friend to the family, which already included a small dog. She saw the photo of William on the AFRP website, and immediately felt a connection with him. She knew adult cats sometimes waiting longer than kittens to be adopted, and wanted to provide a home for an adult cat in need of a safe and cozy home.

Christine says, "As soon as I saw him and spent a bit of time with him I knew I needed to give William a good home. That was in November of 2005, and he is now an important member of our family. At first he was quite timid but he has totally warmed up to my husband and I, and even our little dog. He loves to sleep on the end of the bed each night and lay outside in the sunshine with me during the day. He is a regal cat and likes to be treated as such, of course! I would advise anyone looking for a cat to look at the AFRP website, my dear William has turned out to be a real gem!"

Thank you Christine for welcoming William into your family!

Lobo (far right) is one lucky dog. Abandoned and unclaimed at the Monterey County Shelter, Lobo's prospects were not looking very good. Fortunately for Lobo, AFRP foster volunteer Diana Holland saw Lobo's potential, and took him into her care.

Terry and Sid were heartbroken about the loss of their beloved dog Gus, and had started searching for a new dog companion. When they read the description of Lobo on the AFRP web site, they thought his gentle, sweet personality sounded like the perfect match for them.

They are happy to report that Lobo (now called Henry) is doing extremely well. He's happy and loves his new home and his buddy Sadie. They walk two miles every morning and afternoon to the beach where Henry can chase the ball and frolic with the other dogs. He is eager to please and is well behaved with their family and friends. Their grandchildren love him!

Terry says, "Henry is a sweet, loving pooch and we adore him. Sid and I are very happy we adopted him and he has filled the lonely void when our beloved dog Gus died. He helped us get through our sorrow. We are very appreciative of Diana and Dennis giving their time, home and love to this very special animal and for keeping him for us."

Thank you Terry and Sid for providing Henry with the home of his dreams!

Tangerine's tale would have been much different had AFRP volunteer Camae Pollock not come to her rescue at the San Jose Shelter. Slated for euthanasia, Tangerine melted Camae's heart and she knew she needed to give Tangerine another chance. Tangerine went into AFRP foster care and then to the adoption center. Weeks turned to months without an adopter in sight and eventually Tangerine became the AFRP staff's beloved office cat with her own little cozy corner next to Office Manager Jill Gomon's desk.

Tangerine's luck changed when she was featured in the AFRP newsletter. Kathryn Hermansen was moved when she read about Tangerine and came down to Pacific Grove to see her. Kathryn had previously served on the board of a Bay Area animal rescue group and was only too aware of the sad plight of senior animals.

Tangie, as she is now fondly called, met her six siblings - six cats and two dogs - and hit it off famously with all of them. Kathryn and her husband Bruce, being retired, are home a lot and Tangie gets showered with all the love and affection she deserves. Perhaps reminiscing about her days at the AFRP office, Tangie loves to spend time lying on Kathryn's desk on top of everything she is reading or working on. She also loves to stomp all over Kathryn's keyboard and Kathryn cheerfully allows her this little indulgence.

Kathryn and Bruce find Tangie a joy to have around and a happy addition to their household of former strays and orphans. Kathryn says "Tangie is very affectionate and wants to be wherever we are. She loves to be brushed! We are grateful to AFRP, the staff and volunteers for bringing us together with this sweet, loving girl."

Thank you Kathryn and Bruce for looking beyond Tangerine's age and for providing her a loving, safe and comfortable retreat.

J. J, a Chihuahua/Dachsund mix, had been found as a stray and was taken to the Los Coches animal shelter in Soledad. AFRP Board member Lisa McElmoyl brought him to the Grand Opening of the Crossroads Adoption Center in Carmel along with some of the other dogs from the Soledad shelter.

Stacey and Rene Morales attended the opening and couldn't believe their eyes when they saw J. J. there. They had fallen in love with J. J.'s picture on the AFRP website and were certain that he'd be adopted by the time they got the chance to drive over to Soledad to see him. Seeing him at the adoption center was nothing short of serendipity. They scooped up J. J. before anyone else could and knew they had to take him home with them.

Ziggy, as J.J. is now called, was happily accepted by the Morales' two seventeen-year-old cats and their older dog Benny. Though Benny enjoys little Ziggy's company, he has difficulty keeping up with Ziggy's boundless energy! Ziggy keeps the family entertained on their walks when he runs around in circles at full-speed. His other favorite pastime is playing 'fetch' with his favorite squeaky toy although he hasn't figured out yet that he has to give up the toy in order for Stacey to throw it!

"Ziggy has become such a part of our family and we cannot imagine our home without him," says Stacey. "He is a bundle of energy without being pushy about it at all. He's patient, obedient, loving, snuggly, playful and so much FUN! We are so thankful we found Ziggy and thrilled that you guys are able to do what you do to save lives."

Thanks you Morales Family for your kind intention, for generous spirit and for making a difference in J. J.'s life.

Mary Raymond loves cats, especially white ones. She adopted her white kitten, Casper, after reading his dramatic rescue story in the paper. Casper's mother was rescued by a deaf woman when several teens were trying to hang her from a tree.

While driving to work, Liann Osborne, deaf from birth and also terribly allergic to cats, saw some boys tormenting the pregnant cat. She immediately pulled over to retrieve the poor thing from the rope and tree branch. Mama cat was traumatized but unhurt, and Casper and his siblings were born the next day in the safety of the Valley Humane Society. Liann received the "Bella Award" for going beyond the call of duty to help an animal.

Mary adopted Casper when he was ready to leave his foster home. Eventually Mary began to look for a playmate for Casper. She heard about Dolly, the little white kitten waiting at the Santa Cruz PetSmart. Mary drove from Pleasanton to Santa Cruz, and was immediately smitten with the beautiful white kitten with bicolored eyes. Renamed "Luna," she was soon best friends with Casper. (In the photo, Casper is standing, Luna is sitting.)

Mary says, "It is ironic that a kind deed done by someone who is deaf has resulted in my having adopted a special cat who is also deaf." Liann and Mary became friends, and Liann continues to visit Mary and her special cat family, which also includes two black and white cats, Oreo and Indy. Mary makes them all festive little kitty bandanas to wear.

Thank you, Mary, for sharing your inspiring Happy Tail, and for providing a loving home for Luna, Casper, and the rest of your feline family!

PJ and her partner Monique had toyed with the thought of getting a kitten when Toby, their older orange/white tabby Manx cat whom they had adopted as a 2 year old from the Marina Animal Shelter, passed on.

As providence would have it, AFRP board-member and close friend Lisa McElmoyl emailed them asking if they knew of anyone who would be interested in adopting an orange and white tabby Manx female kitten. Amazed by the coincidence, PJ and Monique were anxious to know more about the kitten and jumped at Lisa's invitation to stop by the AFRP office to meet the kitten.

No sooner had Lisa let the little orange kitten out of her crate, the "visit" turned into an adoption! "Our new kitten was not only the best Christmas present we could have hoped for but the most wonderful New Year's gift as well," says PJ.

Tiki is a big source of joy and amusement to animals and humans alike. She gets along famously with her tailless feline doppelganger as well as her canine companion - a tailless Australian Shepherd. PJ and Monique often wonder if it is a mere coincidence that none of their adopted "four-legged children" have a tail or whether they belong to a secret club!

Thank you PJ and Monique for extending your circle of love and compassion to include little Tiki!

Gwyn says, "Morgan has brought nothing but joy to our lives. She is the most loving cat we have ever met. She hates ceiling fans and loves to kiss noses, fingers and cheeks. We have not replaced, we just have a new addition."

Thank you Gwyn and Brad for reaching out to Morgan and to Gayle for being the bridge that brought them together.

Nikki's owner Denver says, "Thank you AFRP for bringing Nikki into our lives! We applaud your efforts and hope that many more animals find forever homes through your organization."

Betty was a 6 week old pitbull puppy found as a stray in King City. Having had to fend for herself on the streets, she was emaciated and a bundle of ribs when AFRP took her in from the King City Vet hospital and placed her in the loving foster care of AFRP volunteer Christy Rector.

In Christy's care, Betty quickly transformed into a healthy, friendly, playful dog and in 3 weeks had walked her way into the heart and home of Lisa Graham.

Betty now lives by the beach in Santa Cruz and accompanies Lisa to work every day. At work, she is the apple of everyone's eyes especially Bluko's - a big Husky Shepherd mix - Lisa's boss' dog who sometimes comes to work. Their playful wrestling provides ample office entertainment!

Betty is wonderful with kids and helps dispel the common notion that pitbulls are a dangerous breed. In fact she has a timid streak in her and prefers to remain indoors as much as possible. Lisa is giving her all the love and exposure she needs to help her relax so that she realizes that loud noises and strangers are not going to hurt her. "I think that she must have had a really bad experience as a stray. She must have been terrified and those memories are still embedded in her little mind. We are working with her though," Lisa says.

Thank you Lisa for your patience and kindess and Christy for giving Betty the much needed break she deserved.

When her elderly guardian passed away, Princess suddenly found herself in the unfamiliar surroundings of the Crossroads Adoption Center in Carmel. Despite her striking gray and white coat and gentle personality, she was not having much luck finding a home owing to her age. It was clear that she was sad, depressed and missing the loving lap she used to once curl up on.

Meanwhile, 2000 miles away in Chicago, Gwyn and Brad were trying to come to terms with the loss of their cat of 20 years to Chronic Renal Failure (CRF). They both felt that they would never have another pet because no one could possibly replace the cat they lost.

Gwyn's sister Gayle, a volunteer at AFRP, kept e-mailing pictures of adoptable cats to Gwyn hoping one of them would tug at her sister's heartstrings. Although each was cuter than the previous, Gwyn wasn't emotionally ready. Not ready to give up, Gayle e-mailed yet again asking her to look at one of the kittens available for adoption on the AFRP website. Gwyn's preference was for an older cat since they often get passed up for cuter kittens and struggle to find a home. While browing through the website, Princess's picture caught Gwyn's eye and she said without hesitation, "That's my cat".

Before long, Princess was on a plane with Gayle to her new home and a warm welcome. Morgan, as she is now called, is showered with oodles of love and affection (and dollops of her favorite vanilla ice cream on special occasions!)

Gwyn says, "Morgan has brought nothing but joy to our lives. She is the most loving cat we have ever met. She hates ceiling fans and loves to kiss noses, fingers and cheeks. We have not replaced, we just have a new addition."

Thank you Gwyn and Brad for reaching out to Morgan and to Gayle for being the bridge that brought them together.

Life had not dealt the best hand for Honey, a 3-year old Miniature Pinscher who was rescued from the Bakersfield shelter. Circumstances in her life had made her shy and wary and it was not easy for her to find a home where she felt secure.

That is, until Sharon McKenna came into her life.

In the warmth of Sharon's loving home, Lulu found the safety and security she'd been missing and she slowly started to come out of her shell. With each passing day, she became more joyful and confident. Even Sharon's older min-pin sensed Lulu's insecurity and took on the role of a mother to Lulu. The two of them developed such a close bond that they even sleep together during the day on one dog bed.

Sharon feels very fortunate to have Lulu in her life and is thankful to AFRP for saving her from the shelter. She is happy to have been able to provide Lulu the forever home she deserves. "Lulu is a great dog - she's very sweet", says Sharon, who has grown very attached to Lulu. "I think it's because she was a bit of a lost soul when she arrived. Thank you very much for allowing us to adopt her. We love her very much."

Thank you, Sharon, for opening your heart and home to Lulu who now has a family she can call her own!

Here's Nikki's Happy Tail in her own words:

Q: What made your parents decide to adopt you?

A: Mom said she wanted to adopt me because I'm just so gorgeous! I gave her my best pitiful look with my big blue eyes, and that did the trick!

Q: Do you have any nicknames?

A: I've never seen the movie, but my mom and dad sometimes call me "Little Nikki", because sometimes I can be a little devil!

Q: What do you enjoy doing most?

A: In this particular order, I enjoy sleeping, eating (promptly at 6:00 am of course), loving, sleeping, eating, playing, sleeping...and more sleeping!

Q: Share some of your quirks with us.

A: I love to turn upside down for belly rubs, then I attack when they least expect it. What's the fun in just lying there? Also, there is this rug in the bathroom. Whenever my mom straightens it up, I go in and wrestle with it again!

Nikki's owner Denver says, "Thank you AFRP for bringing Nikki into our lives! We applaud your efforts and hope that many more animals find forever homes through your organization."

"The biggest joy of our life," is how Beverly describes the newest 8-month-old addition to the Willitts family.

Beverly and her husband saw a picture of Rusty on the web, and thought he was adorable. With his endearing eyes and sweet disposition, Rusty wagged his way into their hearts when they met him at an AFRP adoption event in Santa Cruz and they knew he was the dog for them.

Despite having been hit by a car and the stress of arduous days in the vet hospital, it didn't take Rusty long to become comfortable in his new abode. Beverly and her husband own a mobile home park in Soledad and Rusty adjusted perfectly to their routine. Besides his doting family, Rusty also idolizes Brenda - the Assistant Manager of the trailer park - who is there every morning, often with her cat.

"He thinks he has two mothers - Brenda and myself," says Beverly. He also loves the attention he gets from his feline siblings 'Sandy' and 'Krissy', and doesn't mind the occasional swat he gets when he forgets they are not his soccer pals.

Recently, Rusty had to undergo yet another surgery to remove the pins from his hind quarters which he has recovered from quite well. Although the hair hasn't grown back completely, Rusty looks great and feels great.

He loves sneaking into bed with Beverly and her husband every morning. "He is in heaven under the electric blanket with us. He doesn't move," says Beverly of her 'Sweet Pea' and 'Short Cake'. "As you can tell," she adds, "he is very spoiled, but what fun we have doing it!"

We can tell, Beverly! And Rusty nods in gratitute when you say, "This is a match made in heaven."

Jack was one of the cats AFRP rescued from New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. An easygoing and friendly cat, Jack shared a large cage with two other Katrina cats for a month at the adoption site at the Crossroads in Carmel.

Barbara was looking for a companion cat when she came into the adoption site last November. She checked out all of the available cats. When she entered the large cage with the three Katrina cats, Jack approached her and lay on his back so she could rub his tummy. They fell in love immediately, and Jack went to his forever home with Barbara.

Barbara is blind, and she says that Jack knows that she is blind. He plays games with her. One favorite game is Hide and Seek. Jack will choose a place somewhere in her house and meow. He remains there and continues to meow until she finds him. Then he will choose another place, and the game continues!

One month before Barbara adopted Jack, her husband died, her daughter moved away, and she lost her eyesight. She says that she felt abandoned, and when she met Jack she could feel that he also felt abandoned. A strong bond was formed between the two.

Barbara says, "We are soul mates, and I will be forever grateful to Animal Friends for rescuing Jack."


It's a cold winter in Idaho but comfortably ensconced in a heated basket by the fireplace is the newest furry addition to Corrine and Jay's family - Penny. Corrine and Jay live far away from California, but when they read about Penny on the AFRP website, a connection was made and they knew Penny was the dog for them. They made arrangements to fly both Penny and Penny's foster mom Lynne to Idaho to help Penny settle into her new home.

Penny had been afraid of men but instantly warmed up to Jay. Corrine finds her "an absolute joy" to have around. "She will be in the study with me," Corrine says, "and then take off down the hall to visit Jay. And then she comes tearing back because she suddenly has to see me. We always have to do the wiggling and licking, even if it has only been two minutes." Penny is also thrilled to have found a barking buddy in Phoebe - her new canine sister.

"When I first started fostering Penny," AFRP foster mom Lynne said, "she had fleas, was too skinny, wasn't spayed, had horrible teeth, had hair missing from her ears, and had a bladder infection. After two months with my sister and me, she was a new dog." Penny used her upper body to move around indoors and used the cart only when going outside. She became adept at maneuvering the cart and was smart enough to judge if she could fit in certain spaces. Because of her paralysis, Penny needed to have her bladder expressed regularly, and several people therefore passed her up for adoption.

From a puppy-mill in Florida to her forever home in Idaho, courageous Penny has come a long way. "My sister and I miss Penny", says Lynne, "but we are happy that she has found a family that loves her and are dedicated to her special needs. It demonstrates that special needs animals don't have to be put to sleep. Penny is a wonderful source of inspiration!"

Thank you Lynne for giving Penny a new lease on life and to Corrine, Jay, and Phoebe for welcoming her into their family.

When Dohee Koo walked into Posh Pets on her way home from work, little did she know that a tiny, cuddly snowball was about to melt her heart. "I was thinking about getting a cat," she says, "even though I wasn't 100% sure whether I was ready or not, so I decided to just look around." There were three or four cats that caught Dohee's attention but Ivory was one of the cats who begged her to pet him. Ivory touched a compassionate chord in Dohee, and she instinctively knew she had found the cat she had been looking for.

"I was surprised," Dohee recalls, "that he started to purr the moment he entered my place. Then he cruised around the house as if he had been here a long time. He felt very comfortable in the new environment." Ivory was christened, 'Som moong chi' - meaning 'cotton ball' in Korean - by one of Dohee's colleagues, then shortened to 'Mongchi'. Mongchi is enthralled by his pom-pom teaser toy (he's on his fourth!) and loves following Dohee around the house. "Sometimes he wants me to chase him," Dohee says. "He runs a bit and then looks at me asking me to chase, so I chase him and he runs away and hides. And then we switch roles. I run and he chases me."

Dohee browsed several Internet sites to learn more about hearing-impaired cats; she learned that they should always be approached from the front and that they have a loud voice. "It took me a while to get used to his loud voice," Dohee says, "but he is my sweet boy whom I wouldn't trade for anything."

Thank you Dohee for listening to little Mongchi's heart and for giving him a safe and loving home!


Jasmine spent weeks at the Watsonville Shelter, unhappily hiding under her blankets. Seemingly unadoptable, her time was nearly up at the shelter. Fortunately AFRP had room to take her into their adoption program, and Jasmine was sent to a quiet foster home to take a break from the scary shelter environment.

"Jasmine was definitely a project," recalls Linda, a longtime AFRP foster mom. "She was not only withdrawn and shy, she was also a little aggressive and would take a swipe at you when you least expected it."

But time and patience paid off, and gradually Jasmine started to relax and trust again. As sometimes happens with fostering, the bond that formed between Jasmine and Linda proved too strong to break, and Linda officially adopted Jasmine in October 2004.

"My husband calls Jasmine my little shadow," says Linda. "She's never very far away from me, and always comes to the door to greet me when I come home from work. She'll never be a lap cat, and she still has her cranky moments, but I love and accept her for the beautiful and unique spirit that she is. Thanks to AFRP, this cat had a second chance to live a happy life, and to enrich my life as well."

Michelle and her husband lost Eddie, a Queensland Heeler, to cancer. Broken-hearted, they eventually decided they were ready for another dog to nip at their feet and herd them around the house. After searching cattle dog websites for rescues, Michelle saw a photo of Cowboy and knew he was the one. The only snag was distance: Cowboy was in Salinas, 300 miles away from Michelle in Thousand Oaks. Undaunted, Michele and her eight year old son, August, made the eight-hour drive to fetch Cowboy.

"When we got home," Michelle says, "I wasn't sure if we had adopted a dog or a spider monkey! He was such a ball of energy, bouncing off of every piece of furniture in the house." He's fiercely loyal to the family and a good protector. He also loves to play and entertains the household by tossing his chew toys around to "kill" them, then bringing the toys to his owners as if it were a proud trophy!

True to his name and nature, he herds the family from room to room, always making sure he has companionship. "But," Michelle says, "he is wonderful and well-behaved when left alone and never destroys things. He's always very loving and a cuddler." Michelle says she bends down and he sits up like a squirrel and puts his paws around her neck for a hug.

Signing off, Michelle says, "Thanks to AFRP for mending our broken hearts!"


Ray Charles, the blind black cat formerly known as Sport, is living up to his name. In fact, he's living up to both his names, says Alyce DiPalma of Carmel, who adopted him last November from the Animal Friends Rescue Project.

Settling on a name was difficult, says Alyce, because Ray is as frisky and lively as he is musically talented. He loves to climb and jump in the enclosed patio, where he enjoys the company of Shiva, the Siamese cat.

And coincidentally, says Mrs. DiPalma, he also loves to play the piano. A toy piano, his favorite plaything, took such a pounding at Ray's paws that it just didn't hold up. "He wrecked it," smiled Alyce.

Despite his playful nature, Ray submits willingly to a daily eye treatment with a solution prepared by a veterinarian. "He lets me clean his eyes," says Alyce, noting that he squints like a child with eye problems.

The chances of adoption were not good for Snowy, a three-month-old Australian shepherd puppy who was born without hearing. Lucky for Snowy, he found a family who had the ingenuity and love to accommodate his special needs. Because Snowy is deaf, he's mostly an indoor dog and must be on a leash outside, for his own safety.

Snowy took to training like a champ, new owner Sally reports, graduating from puppy school with honors. Since then he's learned to respond to hand signals, a doggy sign language tailor-made for him. On a recent outing to the park, Snowy met up with his trainer and her dogs. The area was confined, so Snowy was able to frolic off leash. He made friends with the children playing nearby and was completely sweet and cuddly with them, Sally says. Besides spreading his affection around, he also had a good wrestle with another Aussie. He has honed his fetching skills, too, and now brings the tennis ball back more often than not.

At night, Sally uses a large knuckle bone to lure him into his crate. With a bribe like that, Snowy has decided that sleeping in the crate suits him fine. In the morning, Sally says she wakes up and looks in, only to find him sitting quietly with his eyes open, patiently waiting for her. She lets him onto the bed for a leisurely wake up routine - he's a sleepyhead, she says, perhaps from those relentless games with a tennis ball.

Snowy has never met a stranger. Everyone loves him - no surprise, Sally says - because he's so loving to everyone. He greets one and all with joy and affection, listening with his heart.


Keith Goodrich says he was looking for a feline friend, then one day while browsing at Westridge Mall, he came across Snowball at AFRP's Salinas adoption center located in PETsMART. The all-white cat looked at Keith with bright blue eyes, he says, and that cinched the deal. Snowball became Keith's "Buddy".

Buddy has a wild, quirky personality, according to Keith. He loves to sleep on top of the kitchen cabinets. Although he has every toy on the market, he treats doorknobs and light switches as playthings. Even without opposable thumbs, Buddy can flip on light switches and twist open doorknobs. The only problem, Keith says, is that he forgets to hit the lights and shut the door behind himself. And, quite the prankster, Buddy apparently has opened Keith's bedroom door in the middle of the night and turned on the lights for a ruse awakening.

In his more docile moments, Buddy enjoys curling up and laying on top of Keith while the two watch TV. Not very energy conscious, but "that's my Buddy," Keith says. And he wouldn't trade him for anything at all!

Rio's mom, Gigi, arrived at the Salinas Animal Shelter in an extremely pregnant condition. She was hustled into a foster home and two days later gave birth to ten puppies. One of those lucky puppies went home with newlyweds Anna and Danny Belitski.

Anna says she and Danny had looked for a puppy "to start their family" since marrying last December. When Anna saw Gigi's pups on the website, the wait was over. A week later, they brought home an 8-pound bundle of love and named her Rio. The first night, after a bath and snuggling her up in a blanket, Rio went right to her kennel, Anna says, and only cried one night - a claim new parents rarely make about their human offspring.

Rio, a pumpkin-colored Lab/Chow mix, has now grown to a muscular 45 pounds, but she's still Anna's "little pumpkin". Anna and Danny love coming home to her eager face and cheerful personality. Her tail wags so hard that her whole back end wiggles. Danny, in fact, often comes home at lunch to play with Rio. Balls and rope toys are her favorites, but she's also happy to chase birds. After she retrieves a ball, she takes her owners on a game of chase. When she finally drops it, Anna says, she sits and smiles until they throw the ball again, and again.

Training is going well, too. Rio took to potty training quickly and has learned to sit, shake, lay down, roll over, and "kind of" stay. She is great at "off" with toys and food. Leash training and learning not to jump are works in progress.

In closing, Anna writes, she and Danny can't imagine life without Rio. "The organization and people of AFRP do such a great job. Thank you so much!"


Carmen endured unhappy months in an adoption center and then a respiratory infection before going to a foster home for medical treatment. At first, says her foster mom, Carmen was quite fierce and free with her claws. But, as she settled in, she became the sweetest kitty ever, snuggling up, purring and drooling in great quantities.

After the loving foster care, Carmen was naturally suspicious when her adoptive parents, Celeste and Ilona, arrived to take her to her new home. She was downright cranky, especially when she saw the carrier for the drive to Berkeley. When the three arrived home, Carmen literally flew around the house, Celeste and Ilona reported, and swatted at them when they tried to approach her. They wondered if she would adjust.

With each day, Carmen grew more gentle, loving and lovable. A special gift helped: Celeste bought Carmen a round bed and put it on the bedroom dresser, a place where Carmen seemed to feel safe. She immediately jumped on the bed and looked up at Celeste as if to say, "Is this really all mine?"

Celeste and Ilona now describe Carmen as spunky and affectionate. They saw no reason to rename the all-black cat, because her fiery personality reminded them of the Spanish gypsy girl in the famous opera, "Carmen". The operatic Carmen, similar to her feline namesake, was a dark, strong-willed siren who seduced others with her beauty and dancing. So too this Carmen, who wakes her people in the morning with kisses and greets company of all ages without fear. And, she has even established a "respectful bond" with Sengay, the family's 13-year-old Tibetan terrier, who she sometimes chases in fun.

From time to time, Jean Knott thought about adding a small dog to her household, comprised of daughter Lindsay and their Belgian Malinois, Boomer. Then one day in February she browsed the AFRP website. One look at this darling 1-year-old corgi/chihuahua mix and she was in love.

It was fitting that Lindsay and Boomer met Tazzy on Valentine's Day. Despite the usual first-date jitters (Tazzy was described as shy and not always congenial with other dogs), it was again love at first sight. Tazzy and Boomer literally ran circles playing with each other. As Jean described it, Tazzy nipped Boomer's heels and off he'd go running, then he'd turn and nose her rear and off she'd go, until both were panting so hard Jean forced them to rest! The bond was cemented that night, when Boomer nosed Tazzy into his kennel, where she promptly curled up and went to sleep beside him.

Although called Zoe by AFRP, Tazzy earned her new name - yes, short for Tasmanian Devil - not only because she runs with a dizzying frenzy befitting of her namesake, but also because of her vocalizations.

Tazzy will soon start obedience classes but Jean has given her a head start. So far, Tazzy knows the hand signals for sit, down, and stay. Tazzy's goal is a "Good Citizen Certificate", so she can visit Hospice and nursing homes. With her silky coat and cuddly personality, Jean knows the elderly and ill will enjoy her.

Jean signs off with the following:

"From the bottom of my heart, thanks to AFRP. If our furry friends could speak, you'd all be showered with words of gratitude. You most definitely have ours."

A serious illness in the family forced the previous owners of Blieu and Minky to relinquish them to Animal Friends Rescue Project. Blieu and Minky resided at Posh Pets until their new owners, Keli and Rick Pharoah, adopted the pair.

Keli and Rick report that Blieu and Minky are chatty, loving, and adjusting very well to life in their new home. Siamese cats, once they choose their people, typically become devoted for life, and Blieu and Minky obviously have made Keli and Rick the objects of their affection.

Blieu is enjoying robust good health, while Minky suffers with a recurring respiratory disease that causes her to wheeze and sneeze. (Not a hairball problem, as speculated.) Ailments aside, Minky is very adventuresome and enjoys being outdoors on nice days, even if just to sit in the fresh air. In contrast to Minky, Blieu is much more wary and takes his time venturing to any new places. Both, however bear the dramatic markings of the Lynx Point Siamese, also called Snow Tigers and Colorpoint Shorthairs.

Thank you Keli and Rick for welcoming Blieu and Minky into your home!

Ray Charles, a blind cattle dog mix, was found as a stray. His collar was imbedded so deeply into his skin that surgery was required to remove the collar. The blindness, as it turned out, resulted from irreversible degenerative retinitis caused by severe malnutrition. When his foster mother, Rose, drove him home from the Monterey County Animal Shelter, she assumed she had taken an elderly and blind gentleman into her care, judging from his calm manner and what appeared to be cataracts. But later, on the way home from the vet's office, she discovered that Ray Charles had morphed into a large puppy with lots of muscle and an irrepressible inner Dog.

The first night, Rose reports, Ray Charles opened a door, fell from the attic to the garage, then took himself for a walk on the golf course. After 20 minutes of panicked searching - late at night and in the rain, no less - Rose heard loud splashing from a nearby pond that finally gave Ray's whereabouts up. And that, she says, was one of the "easy" nights.

Since then, Ray has learned to negotiate the spiral staircase on his own. After walking a trail once, Ray can navigate the path on his own, as if radar equipped. And he has resigned his fear of Abby, the resident dog, and shows Abby peace and deference.

Ray's greatest lesson, however, was learning to trust. Rose cites his willingness to fling himself into space when she asks him to jump, and his keen attention to her verbal commands warning him of danger ahead. Rose let Ray sniff the ink drying on his adoption papers, and he was home. (Yes, fostering turned into adoption!)

Thank you Rose for your ever-present grace and love that have helped Ray's inner Dog to emerge!

From her cage at PetsMart, Cosette may not have planned to charm her way into the hearts and home of Audra and Bryant, but that is precisely what she did. Audra, the cat person in the family, was a frequent visitor to the PetsMart Luv-a-Pet adoption center. Bryant, her boyfriend, had always described himself as "not a cat person". But when Audra saw Cosette - the prettiest thing, she says, with soft gray fur and big, thoughtful yellow-green eyes - she knew the time had come to adopt a cat.

When Bryant came to meet Cosette, she seemed shy and sad in her cage. Audra feared that the kitty, then called Mandy, wasn't making a winning first impression. But then, Bryant took Cosette out of her cage and held her on his lap for a few minutes. It was "instant love", according to Audra. Before long, Bryant was calling Cosette his "little princess".

Cosie, as she is called, remained a little shy - or demure, perhaps - on her first day in her new home. Now, she is quite loving and affectionate. Her favorite toy, befitting a princess, is a feather wand. At night, Cosie sleeps ensconced between Audra ande Bryant. By day, she is a great stress reliever and keeps her people laughing constantly with her cat talk and playful antics.

A story book ending: from an animal shelter in Salinas, a princess has found a home, complete with a prince and a fairy godmother. In Audra's own words, "We love our kitty! Thank you AFRP for making it possible for us to meet our Cosie!

Charley was just a few weeks olds when he and one littermate arrived at the Monterey County Animal Shelter without a mom cat. They weren't eating food on their own yet and they either needed to be bottle fed or needed a nursing mom who would take them in.

Fortunately, AFRP was able to introduce the orphans to Sharona, a young mom with 4 nursing kittens of her own. Sharona wasn't thrilled about taking on two more babies and rejected them at first. The foster mom used an old trick of putting a little wet food on each of the kittens. That got Sharona to start licking them and then she took them in and treated them like her own babies.

Suzie and her daughter Samantha met Charley when he was just a tiny fur ball who fit in the palm of your hand. The mother-daughter team have been volunteers for AFRP for the past 7 years helping to socialize cats and kittens.

Samantha fell in love with Charley immediately. He was a total ham and was full of personality. He was cute, he was fresh, and he had an independent spirit. Of all the kitties they had socialized over the years, Charley was the one they decided to adopt.

Charley enjoys going to the beach on a harness, riding in the car, and eating marshmallows and flowers. He adores Samantha and follows her around the house and sleeps on her bed at night.

Charley is now just about a year old. Suzi says he has turned into a humongous cat. He is three feet long - a big, big kitty.

Thanks Suzi and Samantha for giving Charley a loving home and for all your volunteer work over the years!

Charlotte Rae, a one year old Walker Hound mix, had probably been tied up in someone’s backyard for most of her life. She was found running loose in Salinas near the highway wearing a collar with a foot of rope tied to it. She had apparently been tethered somewhere and had chewed through the rope.

Charlotte Rae was very shy in her kennel at the Salinas Animal Shelter, but she was friendly and playful when taken out to the play yard. After several weeks without getting adopted, Charlotte Rae was put on the final euthanasia list. Elaine, an AFRP volunteer who also volunteers for the Salinas Animal Shelter took Charlotte Rae home to foster her and saved her life.

Elaine took Charlotte Rae to a 6 week dog training class before adopting her to a young couple named Heather and Clint.

AFRP recently received this glowing update on how Charlotte Rae is doing in her new home:

“We are writing to to let you know that Charlotte is doing great! She bonded with Clint and I quickly and is her silly self these days. With each day she is getting more used to the routine. Her first weekend was a big adjustment, but she did great with it.

Clint and I are enjoying trading off taking her for long runs every morning. Charlotte Rae loves going to the dog park, the beach, and playing with our neighbor’s 3 Jack Russells!

We would like to thank AFRP and Elaine so much for rescuing Miss Charlotte. We are happy to have her in our family."

Tinker, a healthy three year old cat, was turned into a local shelter after being picked up as a stray. She was beautiful, friendly and healthy. Unfortunately, like many stray cats, her previous owner did not show up to claim her. After her five days of stray time, she was put up for adoption. When she wasn’t adopted from the shelter, AFRP took Tinker into our program to free up space at the shelter for more stray cats.

While with AFRP, Tinker came down with Upper Respiratory Infection (a kitty cold). She went to an AFRP foster home to recuperate, and that’s when her story takes an unexpected happy turn. Susan, Tinker’s foster mom, had fostered many, many AFRP cats. Her dog, Griffen, wasn’t crazy about cats so Susan and her family never considered adopting. Tinker changed all that. As soon as she was feeling better she went to explore the rest of the house and SHE decided she was going to stay whether Griffen liked it or not! They had to work out their differences, but now Griffen and Tinker get along quite well.

Susan recently updated us on how Tinker is doing:

Tinker is one of the most tolerant kitties I've ever been around. She doesn't mind when my 4 year old picks her up and carries her around or when the dog chews up her favorite toy mouse.

She loves to go outside and work in the garden with me, and she absolutely adores shoelaces! One of her favorite things to do is to go out onto the upstairs deck and hang out on the roof where she can survey the whole neighborhood - something that at first drove the neighborhood dogs nuts but which they've now become accustomed to.

She doesn't play favorites and takes turns sleeping on everyone's beds - even taking the top bunk bed on occasion. We love our rescue kitty!

PJ's foster mom said that she was withdrawn when interacting with people and the other dogs when they first got her. She wandered around the yard and the house on her own and showed little interest in anyone else. After watching the other dogs play for a few days, she started showing an interest in toys and was soon playing with the other dogs in the family. Shortly thereafter she became a total lap dog who loved being the center of attention!

PJ was the “belle of the ball” at the Fountain of Woof Celebration last August. There were several adoptable dogs at the event, but PJ received the most attention. She had several wonderful families interested in adopting her, but Archie and Laura were the lucky couple who ended up taking her home.

We recently received the following letter about PJ:

Dear AFRP,
I will never forget the day we met PJ (now named Harley) at the Fountain of Woof fashion show at the Carmel Plaza this past August. She immediately was drawn to my husband - it was absolutely love at first sight. What a lover-girl she was that day and she's constantly perfecting that attribute to this day! Harley has brought us so much joy and has become a loving little sister to Axel and Princess (also dachshunds) - I don't know what we'd do without her. She constantly makes us laugh when she tosses around her pink snake or her monkey. Harley was blessed with expressive looks that truly make me think she knows what I'm thinking. Couple this with her planning skills and she stays one step ahead of all of us. (This "look" of hers usually culminates with pouncing and kisses.) She is definitely a bright girl!

Thanks to Animal Friends Rescue for picking us as Harley's new family. And thanks, especially, to her foster parents, Gina and Chad, for taking such good care of her before she moved in with us. We are truly in love!!

-Archie and Laura

Wonder, a young kitten, was born as a stray and taken to the Salinas Animal Shelter. He had a serious eye infection which left him mostly blind. Matt and Tara came across his photo and story in the Monterey County Weekly and fell in love with him. He’s been a part of their family ever since.

Dear AFRP,
We adopted “Wonder” in October of 2004. He is such a special boy. My husband and I have greatly enjoyed his company these past months. We've changed his name to Stevie Ray. His eyes are doing great. They still get a little red, but I clean them out every day and apply a bit of antibiotic gel on days when that is needed. He has such a sweet disposition. He is very patient when it’s time to clean his eyes.

A fun fact about Stevie is that he devours broccoli. He ran off with several of my florets once and a whole stem another time. We chased him down and I swear to you, as we picked him up, he used those little paws to stuff the broccoli in his mouth so I couldn't get it. The ferociousness in which he wanted that broccoli was incredible. I have never had a cat who liked broccoli like Stevie. But again, Stevie's not like other cats.

He sleeps on our bed and gets along fine with the other cats and our dog. He follows me around like a shadow and loves to play with toys that make crunchy sounds. His most favored toys are those balls made of Mylar, but a ball of paper will do fine. It has been amazing to see him grow and adjust to his home and setting. I am fascinated at the quickness with which he learns and his sense of fearlessness. Watching the ease in which he gets around, I would never think that his eyesight was limited.

We are just smitten with Stevie. Thanks again for providing these services and taking the time to find companionship and warmth for these beautiful creatures. -Matt and Tara

Gino, a two year old stray pug, could not be put up for adoption at the shelter because he was growling and baring his teeth. The experienced shelter staff recognized that this behavior was due to fear not aggression and they contacted AFRP. An AFRP volunteer assessed Gino and he was placed in a foster home where he blossomed immediately and showed his true sweet personality.

In his foster home, Gino was calm, regal, and loving. It was also soon evident that he was already a fairly well trained dog.

Gino was adopted to Kat and Nick last December and enjoyed Christmas with his new family. Kat and Nick recently reported that Gino was doing great, getting along with Chip, his new dog brother and Woodie, the cat.

Thank you to Kat and Nick for adopting G