One longing, droopy gaze from a pup through the wiring of their kennel is almost all it ever takes.
All the high-pitched yipping and yapping echoing off the cold cement walls of the shelter seems to fade away, as you and your new best friend have a conversation spoken only through a series of wags and smiles.
Their loyalty, unconditional friendship and general cuteness make us humans susceptible to catching the adoption bug at almost any given moment. And generally, it turns out to be the best weakness we have.
The SICSA Pet Adoption Center in Kettering sees hundreds of these moments every year.
We asked SICSA, which is kicking off an expansion project, so share some of its best rescue “tales” through the years.
Here are a few of those stories, and we invite the community to share their stories .
1. Jeaneene & Heidi
Searching for a new pup to join her family after the passing of her Jack Russell terrier, Jeaneene Crowell stumbled upon Heidi’s photo on the internet and immediately wanted to meet her.
Kennel anxiety and an extremely energetic spirit caused a few behavioral problems for Heidi, but as soon as Jeaneene and her mother met the young German shepherd as she chased balls in the SICSA yard, the mother-daughter pair knew they wanted to make it work.
“They (SICSA) arranged for us a slumber party with Heidi and after a couple days I knew I needed to keep her,” Jeaneene said. “She was so nervous when I got her, she couldn’t wait to get out of buildings, from what I understand she didn’t like being in a kennel ... it was fear based.”
Living on an almost 10-acre farm between Dayton and Columbus, Jeaneene’s home turned out to be a paradise for her spunky new daughter. Jeaneene’s mother, Marilyn, plays fetch — Heidi’s favorite pastime— with her for hours on end almost every day.
Heidi has in fact made many attempts to “teach” the horses on the farm to play ball with her. The horses have not returned Heidi’s enthusiasm, Jeaneene said.
“I’m her playmate. If I’m slow getting ready to go outside, she comes in to get me, sometimes with her ball in her mouth, and she has that look that she knows melts my heart. Whatever I’m doing, I have to drop it to play with her,” Marilyn said.
When Jeaneene arrives home from work, Heidi goes right into "work" mode, ready to patrol the farm in the four-wheeler.
“When I get home, she gives me 5 or 10 minutes to get changed and ready to go and then she’s bugging me because it’s time to do our tours. She goes from ball mode to tour mode,” Jeaneene said.
Heidi, a once harder to place dog, is now just as big of a part of Jeaneene’s family as any other two-legged member.
2. Katie & Twizzler, Tortilla (Leia) and Luke
Katie Miller, a regular SICSA volunteer, adored watching Twizzler, Tortilla and Luke pal-around in the “MEOW house” every time she volunteered at the center.
The best of friends, the three kittens came from different litters, but became inseparable while prowling around the MEOW house. Tortilla was the runt, and after the rest of her litter was adopted, she decided to make Twizzler and Luke her new squad.
Early this year, as grad school research kept Miller cooped up in her home — PJ’s her constant attire — she knew she needed a stress-relieving escape. Once she began volunteering at SICSA, she decided to keep the feline friends together at home with her.
“I grew up a dog person, but once I got out of college, I wanted a pet but couldn’t have a dog. So I got a cat and fell in love,” Miller said. “Cats get a bad rap for not being affectionate, and that’s so wrong. They’re super affectionate, just not overt about it like dogs. Dogs almost stress me out now. When they want attention, they want attention right now. Cats might cry a couple times, but then they’ll just come and sit next to you and chill.”
Sadly, little Tortilla passed away just a month ago.
“It was extremely hard, but we were able to give her a couple months with her best friends in a happy home with a lot of lazer lights,” Miller said.
3. Erin and Richard Glinski & Sassy and Smokey Bear
This heart-warming adoption story begins at the end of another. A major life change forced Richard Glinski to return to SICSA, a bonded mother-daughter canine pair he’d adopted years earlier.
After marrying Erin, the couple decided this past February, that they were ready to expand their family.
Sassy and Smokey Bear were a closely bonded chow chow pair living at SICSA, after their original owners passed away. The senior pups were from different litters, however, they instantly grew attached, and haven’t separated since.
“They’ve been great companions and have become little celebrities in the neighborhood,” Erin said. “Adopting a senior dog was hard for us because we knew we wouldn’t have them as long, but really, it has been a blessing for us … for us going the senior dog route was a great option and people shouldn’t rule it out, it can be a great experience.”
After a lifetime of friendship, Sassy spent her last month with Smokey Bear in the Glinski’s home. One recent morning, Erin and Richard found Sassy had passed away in their living room with Smokey Bear by her side, affectionately licking her face.
For a few days, Erin said Smokey Bear was visibly depressed. However, for once in his life, Smokey Bear is getting to experience the limelight.
“Sassy was the more dominant dog between the two, so now that he has more independence,” Erin said.
SHARE YOUR PET RESCUE TALES
Send your “pet rescue tales” to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line RESCUE TALES, photos of you and your pet and a 200-word story about how you changed your pet’s life and how your pet has changed yours! Please include your first and last name, hometown and a daytime phone number.
HOW TO GET INVOLVED
How to volunteer: sicsa.org/volunteer
How to donate: sicsa.org/give
How to adopt: sicsa.org/adopt
Free ways to help: www.sicsa.org/contribute/free-ways-to-help