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Pet Tips
Pet Care & Behavior Library

ARF knows lives are enhanced by strengthening the bonds between humans and animals, and is dedicated to helping people keep their pets happily in their home.

More
Happy Tails
New Beginning Stories

The stories don't end with adoption – they are just the beginning! If you've ever wondered what happens once a dog or cat goes home, you'll enjoy these tales of ARF alumni starting their new lives.

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April 2021

One of the most important jobs of a volunteer foster family is to socialize the dog or cat they're caring for. However, some animals are more hesitant to trust people.

When Buffy made her way to ARF alongside her siblings, Xander and Willow, she was terrified of everything she saw. Her brother and sister were confident, affectionate kittens but Buffy wouldn't let the veterinary team touch her, and she even hissed at her own shadow. Fortunately, with some time in a foster home, her attitude was about to change.

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March 2021

When ARF's rescue team saw this skinny, senior kitty at a municipal shelter in California's Central Valley, their hearts broke. Violet was in rough shape to say the least. Every breath she took came with a strained wheeze, her eyes were sunken with dehydration, she walked with a stiff gait indicative of arthritis, and blood tests showed signs of chronic kidney disease. Additionally, the source shelter staff even told ARF that Violet's heart stopped during a dental procedure and they had to resuscitate her.

However, all of these medical issues were drowned out by the soft, constant sound of her little purr. As ARF's rescue team assessed her, she leaned in to be pet and rubbed her cheeks up against their hands. Without a word spoken between them, they knew Violet would have a future with ARF.

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February 2021

Hastings is a super sweet, senior pup who instantly befriends everyone he meets. By his gregarious personality, you'd never guess he was found in a harrowing situation.

Just a few weeks ago, a Good Samaritan spotted movement in a rural ditch. Upon closer inspection, he noticed Hastings — nearly unconscious and covered in wounds. His leg was teeming with maggots and had been ripped clear to the bone. It was later hypothesized that he had been caught in a bear trap. By the time Hastings made it to a veterinarian, his leg was beyond repair and had to be removed entirely. But one thing that was completely unaffected was...

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January 2021

It's a big world out there for a kitten — especially one as tiny as Drumstick. Found at just five weeks old, she was dirty, smelly, and completely alone. But most notably, Drumstick weighed in at only 0.56 pounds — less than half of what a kitten her age should be. In fact, this tiny gal was so small that she often chose to sit inside her food bowl while eating, resulting in some very messy meals (pictured).

Kittens this small and frail are especially vulnerable to illness. Additionally, Drumstick was discovered to have more health issues that would need addressing. ARF's experienced foster network and talented veterinary staff were ready to help her thrive

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December 2020

One foggy morning, a railway employee was greeted with an unexpected sight while checking the train tracks. In a dry gutter next to the track was a litter of six infant puppies, eyes still closed, mewling for assistance. The public shelter sent out an SOS for these vulnerable pups who would require a lot of extra care to survive.

ARF's rescue team brought them back to our headquarters and the litter was immediately checked out by our veterinary staff. After receiving a clean bill of health, the adorable puppies were sent to volunteer foster homes along with a very special task: bottle feeding.

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November 2020

While ARF strives to offer a new life to every dog and cat that passes through our doors, the road isn't always an easy one nor is it always a swift one. Take Kirk, for example. ARF's rescue team found this sweet, senior boy at a municipal shelter suffering from a myriad of ailments with no resources to provide him with the extensive medical treatment he needed. Thankfully, ARF was able to step in. 

Our team removed a grade 2 mast cell tumor from his torso, treated him for severe skin allergies, and prescribed him medicine for a painful ear infection. But throughout this whole process, Kirk never lost that adorable smile or that perpetually wagging tail.

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October 2020

When ARF rescued Bobo — a 5-week-old Chihuahua puppy — from a California municipal shelter, he weighed less than two pounds. But there was more to him than just his tiny stature. Bobo listed back and forth in his bed, wobbled with every step, and was constantly falling over while playing: all signs of cerebellar hypoplasia.

More common in cats than dogs, animals born with cerebellar hypoplasia display tremors, jerky movements, and have difficulty controlling their motion. This non-progressive, painless, and non-contagious condition doesn't limit Bobo's health or ability to be a loving pet. But those who don't understand the condition might not give a dog like Bobo the chance to find his perfect home.

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September 2020

When disaster strikes, ARF is ready. As hundreds of wildfires ravaged the California landscape, we received an SOS call from one of our partner shelters in Sonoma County. Our team leapt into action, picking up dogs and cats and clearing space in their facility to make room for pets displaced by the LNU Lightning Complex Fire. One of the cats we returned with was Luau, a terrified tabby with major damage to his right eye.

Our veterinary clinic got to work assessing him, and within three days, Luau was on the operating table for an eye enucleation. The damage was too extensive and the eye had to be removed entirely.

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August 2020

Not every shelter animal's rehabilitation is a swift process. While some dogs and cats only spend a few days or a week in ARF's care, many stay with us for significantly longer. Take Manny, for example.

ARF's rescue team found Manny at a Northern California municipal shelter in late 2019. This 6-year-old orange tabby was noted to be confidently social, extremely cuddly, and even got along with dogs! But due to his gastrointestinal issues, ear mites, and dental disease, Manny's future at the county shelter wasn't looking hopeful.

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July 2020

At only six months old, Dionne and Cher should have been growing, learning, and enjoying puppyhood. Their days should have been filled with pleasant walks around the block, toys stuffed with treats, and naps in the warm, summer sun. Unfortunately, that's not the hand these young dogs were dealt.

Due to neglect as part of an animal hoarding situation, Dionne and Cher entered ARF's facility in rough shape. The duo had lost almost all of their fur due to an advanced Demodex infestation and a secondary skin infection. Both suffered from anemia and heart murmurs. And to top it all off, Cher was discovered to have serious knee issues; a grade 4 patellar luxation to be specific. This means her kneecaps are permanently displaced inward.

Thankfully, these two doggy divas are in good hands at ARF.

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June 2020

Due to the thousands of animals that pass through our doors, the in-house ARF veterinary team sees quite a few unique cases. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we've focused on helping public shelters with animals in greatest need. Isabell is no exception.

By the time this 5-year-old cat made her way to ARF, her skin was an absolute nightmare. An itchy mess, she was swollen with red welts, missing patches of fur, scratching at inflamed scabs, and crawling with fleas. It was difficult to determine where to start her healing process! Our veterinary team dove into action.

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May 2020

Every year without fail, springtime arrives and brings with it a boom of infant cats to animal shelters. While that may sound downright adorable, young kittens place a strain on public shelters as they rally to provide space, time, and resources for some of the most vulnerable lives in animal welfare.

With many spay/neuter and trap-neuter-return (TNR) programs on hiatus due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the country will be facing a larger-than-usual surge of kittens. Micah, a 2-week-old orphan, is a perfect example of what shelters face this time of year.

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April 2020

Despite our nation's shutdown due to the COVID-19 outbreak, ARF's life-saving efforts continue within the shelter in place order. Deemed an essential business, our team has safely made weekly runs to our partner shelters using social distancing and safety protocols. ARF has rescued dogs and cats suffering from complicated or expensive medical cases, which overcrowded, public shelters are having trouble handling during the current pandemic. One of those dogs is Moey, a 2-year-old pit bull mix with a thousand-watt smile. She loves snuggling up on laps, slobbering up tasty treats, wagging her tail so hard it throws her off balance, and rolling around on her back in a nice patch of grass. Unfortunately, Moey does all of these activities with a painful limp.

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March 2020

For those of us who are passionate about animals, there are few things as horrifying as the idea of a pet being shot with a gun. Unfortunately, that's what Robin experienced at less than a year old. When this German Shepherd arrived at a her local shelter, the first thing staff noticed were several recent wounds in her back. It was immediately apparent that something unthinkable had happened to her — she had been shot with a shotgun.

ARF's team rescued Robin, knowing our resources and expertise would go a long way in nursing her back to health and happiness. But upon bringing her to our Walnut Creek headquarters, the team was extremely surprised with her reaction.

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February 2020

They're cute as a button! They're as social as can be! But four scary letters are keeping them from finding the loving homes they deserve: F-e-L-V. Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) is an infectious disease that affects about 2-3% of cats. While not contagious for dogs, humans, or other non-feline animals, cats that have tested positive FeLV are contagious to other cats who have not had a protective vaccination. Due to its effects on the immune system, cats with progressive FeLV have a shorter life expectancy. But at heart, they are just like any other kitties - happy, playful, and ready to bring joy to a new household. That takes us to ARF's adorable litter of FeLV+ kittens, Dawn, Eve, Twilight, and Star.

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January 2020

On a cold, rainy day in San Francisco, a grocery store employee discovered a heartbreaking sight: a pair of shivering puppies taking shelter from the storm in a box. Upon closer inspection, it was determined that the two had been dumped in the parking lot during the night and were very sick. While one puppy didn't make it, the other brave pup just wasn't willing to give up — but she still had a long fight ahead. 

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