Furry friends that captured hearts
Reader, business-sponsored Pet Pages helped animals in need of homes find new loving families in the region
When Willie the cat's new owners, Kathleen Junge and Jeff Junge of Lyndeborough, went into the Monadnock Humane Society earlier this year, they planned to adopt two other young cats. Willie's playful demeanor, however, convinced them to bring him home as well. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Yellow lab Shiloh and black lab Hunter give kisses to their new owner, Peter Wells of Peterborough, who adopted the two inseparable friends from We are Animal Guardians, or WAG, earlier this year after seeing the two dogs featured together in the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript Pet Pages. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Jilly, a Manchester Terrier and Beagle mix, originally a Texas rescue, experienced her first snowfall earlier this year in New Hampshire. Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »
Four times a year, the pages of the Monadnock Ledger-Transcript are filled with puppy dog eyes. Every quarter since July 2005, the Peterborough-based paper features photos and biographies of nine animals, each from seven area shelters, in hopes that new homes will be found among readers. Each pet is sponsored by an area business or resident, who pays for the placement in the Pet Pages, allowing the rescue agencies to put a face and a name to those animals in need of a loving home.
Every animal lover who reads the Pet Pages (see pages 18, 19 and 22 in today’s edition) , looking into the big eyes of ridiculously cute critters, wishes they could take all of the animals in need of love into their hearts and homes. The reality is that not everyone can care for a pet. But for a number of those animals featured in the Pet Pages over the years, readers from across our region fell in love at first sight and made them part of the family. In what follows, we look at some of the happy unions that have taken place in the last year.
Shiloh and Hunter
One day a few months after the death of a family dog Peter Wells of Peterborough was reading the paper and came across the local Pet Pages showing photos and bios of animal rescues, when he passed over a pair of Labrador dogs featured by We are Animal Guardians, a Weare animal rescue group, and was struck by them.
He put the paper down, came back to it and looked again. He slept on it. And then he told his wife, Karin Wells, that they should call the shelter about the dogs.
Karin was a little leery at first, she said in an interview Friday. The dogs, a yellow lab named Shiloh and a black lab named Hunter, were larger dogs than she was used to. But like Peter, who had fallen in love with the dogs from their photos, Karin didn’t make it past the first meeting without knowing these dogs were destined to be part of the family.
The dogs were older, aged eight and nine when the Wells adopted them, but they have been a perfect and seamless addition to their home during the last six months, Karin said.
“Adopting a mature dog is a wonderful thing. They come pre-trained and loving. They’re instant loyal companions from day one. And it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks,” laughed Karin.
The two dogs had been fostered for over a year, Karin said, because it was difficult to find a family willing to take the two dogs on together — and Shiloh and Hunter cannot be separated. They are like two dogs in a single body. The two aren’t litter mates, born a year apart, but they’re like brothers, Karin said.
“They act like one dog,” Karin said. “When they sleep, they mirror each other. They play together, they get hungry at the same time. They’re not related by blood, but they’re just true companions. To separate these dogs would just be cruel.”
In fact, the only time the dogs have been apart for more than a few minutes is when Peter had to take Shiloh to a specialist vet in Portsmouth to treat arthritis in his shoulder, while Hunter stayed at home with Karin. The day seemed to be normal enough, with Karin working at her desk, and Hunter laying in the doorway, when at 12:15 p.m., Hunter let out a shrieking yelp. Karin rushed to see what was wrong, but the dog seemed fine. That is until Karin tried to convince him to go outside, and then the dog seemed to have trouble walking and standing. But a few hours later, the dog was fine, back to his old self again, running in the backyard and playing catch, leaving Karin mystified.
It wasn’t until later, when she relayed the incident to her husband, that she found out that Shiloh had had to undergo surgery on his shoulder. During an imaging scan, the veterinarian had unintentionally jostled the dog’s bad shoulder, causing Shiloh to cry out. Peter had the vet check the timestamp of the scan and, sure enough, it had happened at the same time as Hunter’s mysterious episode — 12:15 p.m. “It was such a startling story,” Karin said. “But it just proves that they are like one dog in two bodies.”
In 2006, Marilyn Weir of Peterborough adopted a cat named Max from Jaffrey’s Kitty Rescue and Adoption, and the pair have been happily together ever since. But off and on, Weir has been considering going back to Kitty Rescue to pick up a friend for her pet. Then, at the end of the year, she was looking through the Pet Pages, when she noticed one cat that looked strikingly like her Max.
The resemblance was enough to attract her attention, but she didn’t pay it much mind until the next Pet Pages in January. There, once again, was Smokey, who could have been Max’s twin. Weir resolved to go and meet the cat. In February, she finally made the trip to the Jaffrey cat rescue, and met Smokey, who was one of the two cats that occupy the shelter’s front office.
Smokey had been at the shelter for almost a year, dropped off by a previous owner who said she simply didn’t like him. Before landing in Kitty Rescue, he had been through three other homes. Being only seven years old, that’s quite a lot of moving around, Weir said.
A few visits later, Weir was convinced that Smokey was the cat for her and Max, and brought him home on March 8. And there’s no more moving around for Smokey, Weir said. With her and Max, he’s found his forever home, for better or worse, she said. “It took about one day for them to become friends, and they’ve been really good friends ever since,” Weir said of the two cats’ first meeting. “They just get along really well, and that was my only major concern.”
Despite how well they get along, the two rescues are very different in personality, Weir said. Max is very shy, and people used to question whether Weir had a cat at all, because he is very quick to hide when strangers come around. Smokey, on the other hand, comes right up to strangers, demanding pats, and will follow Weir around when she’s vacuuming, an exercise that terrifies Max. “He’s very bold, and not afraid of anything that I can figure out,” she said.
For a dog originally from Texas, Jilly the dog loves snow, said her new owner Sara Carbonneau. Having adopted Jilly in December, the dog got to experience the snow for the first time — and loved the experience, despite being a short-haired dog, Carbonneau said. She and her partner got their new pet a hot pink jacket to wear, and let her have her fun.
Jilly was one of the animals transported from southern states to the Monadnock Humane Society this winter. The South has a huge amount of stray dogs that are periodically sent North, where there is a greater demand, Carbonneau said.
Carbonneau’s partner, Mike Faulkner, volunteers at the Humane Society in a variety of ways, including picking up transports of the new dogs that have come in from the South. Carbonneau decided to go with him and meet the latest bunch traveling from Texas when he went to pick them up in December 2012. And there was one dog she just fell in love with. “She just gives kisses and is the cutest dog ever,” she said. “You look at her and she has these big brown eyes. She just stole my heart.”
Jilly has slid right into their life, Carbonneau said, and gets along with the cats the couple previously adopted from the Humane Society. After four months, Jilly is part of the family, Carbonneau said, and she is beginning to go through obedience and agility training.
Pharaoh, Willie and Niles
Kathleen and Jeff Junge of Lyndeborough walked into the Monadnock Humane Society in Swanzey expecting to adopt two young cats whose photos had tugged at their heart when they were featured on the society’s website. They walked out with three.
Two of them were featured in the paper’s Pet Pages, but it was the online posting that had caught the Junges’ attention.
Kathleen and Jeff had recently lost both members of their animal family, their Newfoundland and their cat, to old age. Having been dealing with animals with infirmities for some time, they decided to fill the void with a pair of young cats from Long Island in New York that had been displaced after Hurricane Sandy.
The two cats were just recovering from a respiratory infection, and were quarantined from the other shelter animals. The Junges looked at the other shelter cats first, but none struck them as theirs until they got to the quarantine room and saw the two cats they had come in for, waiting at the door like they knew their family had come to take them home.
The couple went in and sat down, and Pharaoh and Niles, a pair of black-furred brothers, immediately plunked right down on them, she said. But there was one more addition, one the Junges didn’t expect. A fellow cat, Willie, also quarantined for a respiratory infection, immediately insinuated himself into the cuddles, and made it clear that the Junges weren’t leaving without him, too. “We never thought we’d have three cats, but now, we wouldn’t have it any other way,” Kathleen said in an interview Friday.
Pharaoh and Niles got to come home with the Junges right away, while they had to wait a few days for Willie to complete treatment for his respiratory infection. Right away, the brothers knew they were home, Kathleen said, calmly exploring their new environment before climbing on the Junges’ bed and literally giving each other a hug. A few days later, Willie joined them, and the two other cats welcomed him back into the fold as if they had never been apart. That first night, all three slept together with the Junges, and that’s been their routine ever since, she said.
Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or firstname.lastname@example.org. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.