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Home for the Holidays

The Humane Society of the United States

  • Belle was adopted by Roberta Minerley of Dingmans Ferry, Pa.

  • Culvey was adopted by Melissa Guensler of Fredericksburg, Texas.

  • Emma was adopted by Michelle McCaulley of Corrales, NM.

  • Gladys was adopted by Michelle Kieffaber of Smithville, Ohio.

  • Lexi was adopted by Erica Lamb of San Diego, Calif.

  • Liam was adopted by Jamie Willson family of Gainesville, Fla.

  • Mazy was adopted by Angela Gilgen of Hayden, Idaho.

  • Zeke was adopted by Diane Murphy of Youngstown Ohio.

When we think of the holidays, many of us think of our pets. But millions of dogs and cats will spend this holiday season in an animal shelter waiting for his or her forever home.

The following dogs and cats are lucky. Each of these pets was adopted by a loving family who knew what we know, too—that shelter animals make great pets, many ending up at the shelter through no fault of their own.

The following stories were submitted by our Pet of the Week enewsletter readers. Scroll through the pets' photos (at left), and read how they got to their new homes. Then sign our pledge to adopt your next pet from an animal shelter.


Belle was eight weeks old when Roberta Minerley of Dingmans Ferry, Pa., adopted her. She had been dropped off at the local shelter with her litter mates at five weeks old. "We were told she is golden retriever/Rottweiler mix," said Minerley. "She loves the water."


Culvey and his brother, Roadie, were found living in a culvert by the side of the road. They were only about six months old, and had no food or water when Melissa Guensler of Fredericksburg, Texas, found them. "We brought both of them home, had them neutered, and they have been wonderful, loving pets," she said.


Michelle McCaulley of Corrales, NM, found Emma on a busy road and took her home. Emma escaped underneath two fences on her first day home, but animal control picked her up and called McCaulley. "Luckily I had put a new tag with my information on her," she said. "I think she thought she wasn't wanted. How wrong she was! We adore her. She has been the greatest sister to another little pup (Abby) we rescued. My life wouldn't be the same without her."


Gladys was pregnant when she was taken to an animal shelter. After giving birth, she was painfully thin. Michelle Kieffaber of Smithville, Ohio, adopted her, and Gladys is now a full-figured gal who loves life and gives lots of affection every day. "She's a miracle girl," said Kieffaber.

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


When Erica Lamb of San Diego, Calif., first saw Lexi at the animal shelter, she told her that they would be together. "She kissed me once then ignored me to sniff around. I knew from the first moment that I saw her that she was going to be mine, and this confirmed it. We both have the same personality," said Lamb.


The Willson family of Gainesville, Fla., had three dogs, so they hesitated to adopt another, thinking three dogs were enough, said Jamie Willson. Then they met Liam.

"We fell in love with him, and have been extremely glad we decided to adopt him since the day we brought him home. He is constantly playing with toys, which has encouraged my other older dogs to play more as well. He is a joy, and everyone who meets him loves him," said Willson.


Mazy was a stray found by Angela Gilgen of Hayden, Idaho. "I brought her to the shelter, for I had no knowledge of taking care of a cat, since I was a strict dog person," said Gilgen. "I stopped by once a week for several weeks at the shelter because I could not stop thinking about her. When I finally made up my mind and did a little research, I adopted her … she zoomed out of the caretaker’s arms and into mine."


Zeke was adopted from an animal shelter in Youngstown Ohio by Diane Murphy. "Zeke perches on the steps of our split-level [home] and watches out the windows, just as if he is protecting his flock. He goes on duty first thing in the morning," said Murphy. "He's also family peacekeeper, and if anyone gets rowdy, he steps in and scolds the parties. I love this guy—he's a real blessing."

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