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Pets Giving Thanks

Most animals in shelters are there because of a little bad luck—usually the result of "people problems"

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Badger was adopted by Kimberly Madden of Yucca Valley, Calif.

  • Atticus was adopted by Joanne Wagner of Salt Lake City, Utah.

  • Cheech was adopted by Maureen Toth of Keyport, NJ.

  • Joon was adopted by Tracy Chadwick of Houston, Texas.

  • Oliver was adopted by Rachel and Tim Hopple of Tiffin, Ohio.

  • Oscar was adopted by Lisa Sheaffer of Yucca Valley, Calif.

  • Raffy was adopted by Alana Veach of Columbus, Ohio.

  • Trixie was adopted by Jennifer Evers of New York, NY.

We all know that shelter dogs and cats make great, healthy pets. Sadly, most animals in shelters are there simply because of a little bad luck—usually the result of "people problems" like divorce, foreclosure, and lifestyle changes.

Here are some stories of pets who were down on their luck, but found new hope and new families. The following stories were submitted by our Pet of the Week enewsletter readers. Scroll through the pets' photos (at left), then read why they are giving thanks for their new lives and homes this Thanksgiving.



Now almost 13 years old, Atticus is an affectionate cat named after Atticus Finch in the novel, "To Kill a Mockingbird." At 12, he found himself being overlooked at a local shelter. He was adopted by Joanne Wagner.

"He was housed in an adult cat enclosure completely surrounded by kittens," said Joanne. "Even in that tough setting he was friendly and affectionate."


Kimberly Madden's son found their dog, Badger, when he was approximately 3 weeks old, wandering around in the desert.

"I am grateful every day for this dog," said Kimberly. Her son moved out of state shortly after Badger came into their lives, and ever since, Badger has been there to supervise Kimberly's safety and the safety of her mother and grandmother.


Cheech was an abused and neglected dog in Puerto Rico whose owner abandoned him in an apartment. Now a happy dog, Cheech is thankful that he's a part of his new family.

"I am so happy he is with us," said Maureen Toth. "He will never suffer again. He is like sunshine."

Find your next pet today and give a shelter pet a chance! Visit The Shelter Pet Project to find adoptable pets near you »


Joon, named after the character from the movie "Benny & Joon" (her brother is Benny), was adopted from the Houston SPCA in 2005. She was found after Hurricane Rita and had been hit by a car (which broke her leg and caused damage to her tail). Lucky for Joon (and her new family), The HSPCA fixed her up, and she was up for adoption. "She has been such a warm addition to our family," said Tracy Chadwick.


Oliver was found in southern Ohio, dragging his belly because of a terrible rash. Lucky for him, he was found by Buckeye Border Collie Rescue in Tiffin and was rehabilitated and neutered. Now living with Rachel and Tim Hopple, he's been "the perfect dog." He lives with three other rescued canines (two greyhounds and a Brittany spaniel mix), and two rescued cats (from a local shelter).


Sir Oscar, 4, was to be euthanized at an animal shelter. This lucky Persian's past is unknown, but his new owners think he had been living on his own for months in the desert at Joshua Tree, Calif.

Oscar has found a loving home with Lisa Sheaffer in California.


Raffy is happy, mellow, and loves everyone, but his story didn't begin that way.

He had been rescued from a construction site, was dirty, and had an upper respiratory infection, yet continued to bathe himself in his cage at the shelter to try and make himself feel better.

"He was so sick, but still chirped 'hello' when I came to see him," said Alana Veach. Now healthy, Raffy has lived with his family for 10 years and is a happy-go-lucky, friendly, plump furball of love.


Trixie jumps on the couch every night, where Jennifer Evers gives her a hug and asks her about her day. This lucky pooch is a rescue dog with a happy ending.

Trixie had been abused and had behavior issues. With some training and help from her new family, she has learned to become a well-behaved part of the family. She is enrolled in agility classes, too.

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