One seven week old puppy from a shelter; one grown dog abandoned deep in the forest; one six week old kitten destined for drowning; one donkey saved from a dog food factory, then transported across the country to find peace in Vermont; one ten week old puppy adopted from a pound; one young dog rescued from a college dumpster; one battered and bruised adult dog found beside the road; one shivering male kitten picked up on a roadside one cold wintry night; one beleaguered dog removed from abusive owners and under court order rescued from a shelter; another shelter rescue with an incurable neck mass despite extraordinary surgical and medical treatment sadly surviving only ten months in our care; and the long-distance rescue that became our “best dog ever” (just like all the others!) – each of these, not to mention the guinea pig and hamster saved from a research laboratory, or the numerous baby birds that fell from nests and were nursed back to health only to be released back to nature - all of our animals came with a tale of woe and each “died and went to Heaven” (to quote our veterinarian) when they came into our care.

Providing aid and comfort to these creatures over the years has enriched our lives immeasurably. The anecdotes regarding their behavior and idiosyncrasies expands daily. Conversations with other animal caretakers end up in unrestrained laughter as we share the incredible tales of our marvelous companions. We have been blessed with wonderful pets: none has been vicious – mischievous, protective perhaps, but never vicious. Food dishes can be handled at will without fear of being snapped at or bitten. Although we exercised caution whenever a new animal joined our household there was never a time when we could not trust our pets.

Understandably, not every animal companion can provide the experience that we have been fortunate enough to share. Nonetheless, saving the life of an animal in need can be rewarded with a lifetime of devotion from that creature. More often than not, a loving home, filled with caring, patience and kindness, can bring out the best in the rescued animal. When this occurs both the owner and the pet benefit.

There are many animals waiting to find a good home. Kittens, cats, puppies and grown dogs await adoption every day. Each one is unique and, with a little encouragement and a lot of positive reinforcement, can become a welcome addition to your home. Consider adopting a pet for life – today.

Pat Jauch is secretary of Caledonia Animal Rescue Inc., P.O. Box 4054, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819.

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