contentmentfeatured-contentmentIssue 27

Adopting a New Friend

By Noel Daniel

You never know where you’ll meet that special someone—that someone whose tiny paws can change your whole life.

Although it might be tempting to buy a dog or cat from a breeder, the animals in the shelter have proven to be pillars of support for countless people in the community. Life isn’t easy, and shelter animals understand that. A shelter animal is a pet that can complete your life just as easily as you can complete theirs.

Rosie – Healing Hearts
Cemaia Richardson was only three and a half years old and had already received four heart catheterizations. She was born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome and because of this has been to many appointments including two open heart surgeries. After spending two months in Texas, Cemaia returned home to rest and recover from a collapsed lung. She was battling anxiety and weathering the emotional repercussions of the procedure. One day, her mother—Lisa Richardson—opened the door and a small, fluffy maltese/poodle ran inside. The tiny pup had purportedly been running from another stray dog and was covered in grease and oil from hiding under cars. She was also covered in fleas. The Richardsons gave her a bath, tried to find her owner in the neighborhood, and then took her to the shelter in the hopes that her forever home was looking for her. As it turned out, it was. “Our daughter had already fallen in love with her and asked about her constantly throughout the day,” Lisa said. “It was amazing to see her happy personality coming back when she talked about this dog. We began visiting the shelter to check on the dog and my daughter would sit and talk to her for a while during each visit.” Soon they found that no one had come to claim the pup, and when her stray hold was up and she was spayed, she was available to adopt. And Lisa didn’t hesitate—the small dog, who the shelter had named Tango, was adopted that next morning. “We brought her home and our daughter immediately named her Rosie,” said Lisa. “She was so in love with her dog and was so proud to be an official dog owner. Rosie helped my daughter overcome a lot of her anxieties and was a great conversation starter when she would have cardiology appointments. She always tells everyone about her dog Rosie and this helped her be more at ease during her appointments.” And it’s not just appointments that Rosie helps with—she also helps Cemaia feel better about the scar on her chest from her surgeries. She always had a lot of questions about why she has it and how it got there, and her mother would always respond by saying that she’s brave and that it’s beautiful and something to be proud of.

Then Cemaia noticed the green scar on Rosie’s belly from being spayed and said, delighted, “Look, she has a scar just like me!”

Now it’s Cemaia telling Rosie that she’s brave, and that her scar is beautiful. Lisa wasn’t sure at first if Rosie’s scar would fade over time—but it’s been a year and  a half, and the scar is still there, tying the two young patients together.

What used to be therapeutic, post-appointment trips to the toy and bookstore became trips to the shelter.

“We always try to encourage shelter adoptions and advocate for these amazing dogs,” Lisa said.

Patty – A New Family
It was a cold and rainy Saturday when Patty came to Hollie and Morgan. The shelter held a free adoption day, and the two hurried there to try and find a female Cattle dog—but “Bacon” caught their eye. Bacon was a skinny dog who trembled in the corner, but she looked very like their current dog, Spud. “We decided to meet her, and she was so nervous that she dug

a hole in the grass and promptly fell asleep in it,” said Hollie. “We brought Spud over and he completely ignored her. It was perfect.”

Although the first two days were a little rough, Bacon—now “Patty”—and Spud are inseparable. “They are head over paws in love, and they spend literally all day playing and napping,” said Hollie. “Oh, and she loves her kitty brother, Willis!” Although Patty’s life began as a street dog, she currently lives like a princess. Her and Spud have their own queen-sized bed and get to play and relax at their leisure. Don’t go thinking Spud and Patty are the only blissfully happy duo, however. “She and Spud will walk us down the aisle this November, and will likely gain a human brother or sister in the coming years,” said Hollie. “We are so happy to have been able to save her life, and she has improved our lives in so many ways! Thank you, Stanislaus Animal Services!”

Buddy – A Best Friend Forever 
They said that “Pepsi” was a Yorkshire mix—but this peppy little pup was full of surprises. Renamed Buddy by his new best friends, he’s a terrier mix that fit right into the family. He’s not only a handsome chap, but he’s also one of the smartest dogs they’ve ever seen. He can spin, weave, shake, and so much more. It wasn’t long ago, though, that he had been just sitting in the shelter, waiting for a family to call his own.

After only playing with him the once, twins Shelby and Madison Leonardo knew he was perfect and took him home to their farm. These days, Buddy plays with chickens, horses, sheep, and whatever animal will entertain the frisky fido. And with the amount of toys he has, he’s never bored. But his favorite part is when his family comes home at the end of the day.

Fiona – She Rescued Me 
Jayme Tachella was undergoing treatment for cancer. Her roommate had just moved out, and her family lived an hour away, so she was by herself. That’s when her mother recommended getting a pet to keep her company. “When I thought of a pet, I immediately thought ‘dog,’” said Jayme. “I had always been raised with them, and always said I am not a ‘cat person.’ I was so set on a dog. My mom, however, convinced me that for my current state of strength and health, a dog wouldn’t be the right fit, and to keep an open mind.” When Jayme got to the shelter, above all the other noise, a cat could be heard crying. The cat—named Hashbrown by the shelter—was short, fluffy, and “kind of awkward-looking,” but there was something about her that spoke to Jayme. Once the two got to know each other, they were immediately in love. Hashbrown was playful and spunky, but loved to cuddle. Now, two and a half years later, the newly-christened “Fiona” and Jayme are just as close as day one. “She has her quirks, like laying on her back instead of curled up like a normal cat, and cooing instead of meowing, but I wouldn’t have her any other way,” said Jayme. “She gives kisses on command and is the best snuggle buddy I could ever ask for. I never thought I would love cats, but it took finding a special one to forever change my mind. “I know that when I’m having a bad day, I can go home to her and feel such unconditional love. And I love her, too. I honestly believe she was a key piece in my recovery. I technically rescued her, but I think she saved me more than I saved her. “Thank you Stanislaus Animal Service Agency for taking her in and allowing me to find my fur baby,”

Lokie – Finding A Home
Lokie found himself in a number of homes before finally settling in with his forever family. After Pam Baslee’s nephew could no longer take care of Lokie, he was given to another home. That home also could not care for him, and Lokie was placed in the shelter. That’s when Pam received an impound notice meant for her nephew, and she realized she couldn’t get Lokie out of her mind. After just losing a pet to cancer, Pam and her husband made up their minds to bring Lokie into their lives. They’ve had him for two years now and don’t regret a moment of it.

If you’re looking to adopt a new friend of your own,  visit the Stanislaus Animal Services website,, or their physical location at 3647 Cornucopia Way, Modesto.

Previous post

Get Fit for the New Year

Next post

Captured: Pet Parade!