Lacy (February 2013)
Lacy was a skinny stray living on the streets of Lago Vista. She had been seen with another dog, possibly her sister, but despite numerous attempts neither one could be caught.
One night someone saw Lacy get hit by a car and disappear into the brush. Because it was dark, the person could not find her, but they did call Lifelong Friends Pet Adoptions to report the incident. The next day, two volunteers went to the spot where the accident had happened, expecting to find a dead dog. Instead, they found Lacy lying in a ravine. She could not walk, so they fashioned a gurney from a Rubbermaid container lid and slid/pushed her up the ravine, got her into a car, and drove her to the vet. Lacy had severe road rash, internal bleeding, and a broken pelvis from the accident. She spent months recuperating at Lifelong Friends, confined to a crate while her pelvis healed and having to be carried outside several times a day. She eventually recovered and was able to be adopted.
Today Lacy lives with a cat, enjoys walks in the woods and napping in the sun. She has never barked at anyone (only when she is dreaming about chasing squirrels). She was already housebroken and walks great on a leash, so at some point she must have lived in a home, but we will never know her story. She recently became a therapy dog for Therapy Pet Pals of Texas and enjoys visiting the residents of a nearby nursing home.
Henry (fka Andy) December 2013
I first saw Henry at the Jackson Galaxy outdoor adoption event. At the time, Henry's name was Andy. Despite that being a recent-former boyfriend's name, I fell in love with him that day.
AS you recall, I went to the car to get my clicker and some various scents, and also watched how bold and relaxed he was out in that open area. That is so rare for a cat! And he was so interested in his surroundings and so curious about other cats!
Background: I had a beloved friendly orange tabby (Mr Purr) for many years who was also relaxed and friendly and I've always loved that combination. But it tool me a long time to grieve and get over his loss, which was the dawn after Christmas Day, 2010.
Actually, I was NOT looking for a cat for my work. I had been doing lost cat search & rescue for a few years and was trained by a Police Bloodhound handler who uses dogs to find lost pets. But dogs often scare displaced cats further away, so I was having better success just using my high tech equipment and careful, methodical searching.
When I met Henry, a light bulb went on: maybe a CAT would be better at finding where frightened missing cats were hiding.
I've been working with Henry for about 8 months now, and he is so smart and wonderful. It's hard to believe he was at the shelter for year--what a sweet and loving gentleman cat he is. I am such a fan of adopting adult cats and hope others will consider adults instead of kittens. There's a lot to be said for a cat who's personality is already known and who is so happy and relived to be in a home of his own.
I still remember the day I bought him home and how he was so funny and excited to check out everything in my home. He rubbed against everything he could find to say MINE!
Our training routine started with target training. I have a background in clicker training (which is basically positive reinforcement) and was voted as one of the top five in the world with horses. First, Henry learned to associate sniffing, then touching targets with his paw. Then we transitioned to him ringing a service bell like you see on hotel desks.
Then we went to him identifying cat fur and following scent trails. I only take him with me on lost indoor-only cat cases in which the cat has escaped recently and the weather is not too hot.
He has found several cats -- one was for a local cat rescue facility (Thundering Paws) in under ten minutes. That story was written up here.
Henry is such a happy and loving cat, and has made such a difference in my life. Just before I met him, I had experienced a lot of loss and sadness; Henry has brought joy back into my life and is such a wonderful companion. He loves riding in the car and is so friendly to everyone he meets. I feel so lucky to have found him!
I will be forever grateful to Lifelong Friends, you and Andrea--all the great hard-working people at LLF who were part of my meeting and adopting Henry!