For as long as I can remember I’ve lived with animals and been responsible for their wellbeing. When I was a child, my chores would always include making the coffee and feeding our cats and dogs. I can still remember sitting on my roof most nights, listening to palm trees sway and the tides change in the quiet company of our two cats Snowflake and Tiger. My love for animals, and my understanding that one of my purposes on this world is to make sure they are cared for as best as I’m able, has only deepened in adulthood. It’s such a blessing to me when I have the opportunity to give a rescue pet a chance at a better life, whether it’s through fostering or adopting them myself or just providing resources to place them in a loving home.
There’s a special place in my heart for cats with special needs, maybe because I’ve had so many chronic health issues and understand exactly what it means for someone to take care of you even when it’s hard. I currently have three dogs and two cats, all rescue pets.
Here are the current members of my rescue family, who have returned the love I’ve shown them in quantities I can’t even measure.
Peanut is my 15 year old chug, or chihuahua pug mix. She’s the undeniable leader of the pack, keeping everyone in line and out of trouble. She fell right into my lap, literally. Access Hollywood asked me to help promote a few adoptable rescue pets, including Peanut. I agreed, and Peanut sat in my lap and shook like a leaf as we filmed. A week later Access Hollywood called to tell me the other two dogs from the segment had been adopted but Peanut was still available. When they asked me to make another post promoting her, I decided to bring her home instead.
When I found Peanut I already had my first rescue dog, a boxer named Cookie. Cookie had been treated poorly in her life and I had been struggling with finding the best way to help her feel loved and safe. As soon as she met Peanut, Cookie started to open up more and our new addition gave her the love and company that I so badly wanted for her life. These days Peanut has become the boss of everything she sees and after so many years I think she’s earned the right.
Lola + Buddy
I first saw a photo of Lola and Buddy in an email from Mary’s Little Lambs Animal Rescue. The message explained that these two had been found on the street together but were going to be split up and sent to separate foster homes. I looked at the way they were leaning on each other in the photo. They’d been through so much and only had each other; they were just two impossibly cute street rats looking for a chance. I felt certain that the two of them had to stay together no matter what, and a few days later Lola and Buddy became members of my family.
Lola has congenital neck problems, which is common for dachshunds. Because of this, she can have trouble with leashes and harnesses, and more often than not she takes her walks from the comfort of a stroller. This pair of rescue pets changed my life forever and fill my home with love.
Many nights before I go to bed I look through emails from pet rescue foundations looking for opportunities to help animals- sometimes I help cover medical costs or rehabilitation fees to get animals to the places where they have a chance at a full and happy life. Reb was a feral cat I was sponsoring; he was receiving medical care so that he could eventually be relocated to a farm. This is often a great way to take care of feral cats; they still get to have their freedom and a purpose but have access to food, water, and veterinary care. One day the vet called me to tell me that Reb hadn’t been eating and they were afraid they might lose him. I came to the vet’s office in pajamas and slippers and took him home with me. He had been wrapped in four blankets because he was swiping at anyone who tried to feed him.
After days of sitting with him in my office, I finally got him to eat some chicken baby food off of my finger. I had been going through a breakup and wasn’t looking for another rescue pet but it was clear Reb was here to stay. For a month straight I would spend time with him every day, just the two of us, gaining his trust and making him feel safe. Finally one day I let my cat Mimi into the room and he sprinted right to her and kissed her. Reb was home.
One morning on a walk a couple of my friends found a little grey kitten in the engine of a car. When kittens get separated from their mothers they need a source of heat and many of them end up hunkering down in cars where the engine keeps them warm. My friends asked me to foster her and I agreed; at 5 animals already I definitely didn’t need another permanent addition. The second Reb locked eyes on her he pulled her to him with one of his paws and started cleaning her. I already knew Sophie would be staying with us. Reb and Sophie are still inseparable and can often be found cuddling in a sunbeam.
There’s something so pure about the bond between people and their rescue pets. They’re an infinite source of love, and I believe an animal knows when it’s been rescued. I’m grateful for every animal that passes through my life. The love they fill my house with is one of life’s greatest gifts.
Many people got to fall in love with Mimi through my social media over the years; she was a much beloved member of my family, and we tragically lost her last September due to health complications. I met Mimi when I was helping out on a show for Heaven on Earth Society for Animals. Mimi was found on the street with a broken nose and ulcers on her face, a former house cat who had joined a feral colony. The team at Heaven on Earth told me that the stress of being in shelter environments, even in nice places, can be hard on animals with health problems. They thought that, because I have chronic illness as well, that we might be the perfect pair. She was right; Mimi was always a blessing and had a unique gift for lifting my spirits every day. Mimi was a very special cat; it was impossible not to fall in love with her. We called her Mimi Vader because her chronic sinusitis gave her a constant rattling snore. Mimi was one of the friendliest cats in the world, always ready to greet new friends with her peculiar purr. She changed the minds of so many people who are unsure about black cats and she’ll always have a place in my heart.
Pet Rescue Organizations I Work With
Adoptions and fosters are up in record numbers as people look for the comfort and love of an animal companion during this time of uncertainty and isolation. If you’re considering adoption or looking for ways to get involved I can recommend these organizations with my whole heart. You can search for adoptable animals and shelters in your area here.