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An Abandoned Dog’s New Owner Posts Touching Craigslist Ad

Cathy is now blessed with a loving home, a warm bed, and a family that deeply cares for her. A dramatic contrast to her life before being rescued. Photo via Craigslist.

Cathy is now blessed with a loving home, a warm bed, and a family that deeply cares for her. A dramatic contrast to her life before being rescued. Photo via Craigslist.

Sadly, the popular classified ads website, Craigslist’s “Pets” section is typically overflowing with ads of puppies and dogs for sale, the innocent victims of backyard breeding, free-to-a-good-home dogs that will often end up in the hands of abusers, and the occasional well-meaning pet owner sincerely looking for a good home for a pet they must, for a variety of reasons that to many of us seem absurd, rehome.

But, last week, one dog owner took to Craigslist to write an open letter to the previous owner of a dog she’d rescued 3 years ago.

Cathy, a 12-year old pit bull, had been abandoned in a New York apartment when her owner was evicted. The signs of years of abuse and over-breeding were evident, the years of neglect showing on her lopsided, but gentle, old face.

Here is Cathy’s story, as posted to Craigslist:

On Feb 9th 2011, you were evicted from an apartment at 20 Catherine St and your old red pit bull was seized by animal control and taken to the kill shelter. She was really skinny and had bad skin infections, and had been bred A LOT. She’d even had a Caesarian, judging by the scar. They said at the kill shelter she was 12 years old. She also had a lopsided face and it looked like there were a few cigarette burns on her head/ears.

The sweet, gentle girl, believed to be about 15 years old, is full of life! Photo via Craigslist.

The sweet, gentle girl, believed to be about 15 years old, is full of life! Photo via Craigslist.

I figure you were having a pretty bad time of it, since you were being evicted. I hope things have gotten better for you in the intervening years. Although it’s unlikely you’ll ever see this note, I just wanted you to know that I have your dog and she is doing great.

The AC named her Cathy, for Catherine Street. She was held for cruelty investigation (she was REALLY skinny) then immediately put on the kill list, which is the sort of irony that happens at Animal Care & Control every day. I like old dogs and I loved Cathy’s little lopsided face. A rescue pulled her for me and sent her north.

She gained weight and recovered from her skin issues. Her coat shines now and you can’t see the little round cigarette burn marks any more. We spayed her (her hormones were really out of whack from all the litters she had). She has been wonderful with my young daughter, and our other two dogs. And it turns out she loves to swim! She loves fetch too. If she really was 12 back in 2011, that would make her 15 now but I doubt that as she still will go on long hikes with me, and swim and retrieve balls from the bay until she can barely stand… even though, yes, her face is turning white. She is truly an ambassador for her breed, even people who don’t like pits will stop and pat her as she happily wags her tail. She loves to sleep in sunbeams, and is so happy to go on walks or swims she just wags her tail with every step.

Cathy now spends her days sleeping in sunbeams, swimming, and fetching. Photo via Craigslist.

Cathy now spends her days sleeping in sunbeams, swimming, and fetching. Photo via Craigslist.

She is sleeping next to me as I type this, grunting with joy. In fact, she sleeps on my bed every night. Your dog is an awesome dog. We love her so much. The past three years we’ve had with her have brought us (and her) so much happiness.

If you do see this, we’d love to know how old she is, and what your name for her was. Also please say a prayer for her, as soon she is going to have mammary surgery to remove some small lumps… unfortunately not spaying a dog and breeding her a lot means she is very likely to get mammary cancer, and Cathy has it. Luckily my vet caught it early, so I am hoping Cathy can spend many more happy years with us. She really is the best dog.

P.S. you can’t have her back.

56 Comments

56 Comments

  1. Pammela

    Apr 15, 2014 at 3:29 am

    Hooray for you! There is nothing better than the love of a rescue pup. The look in their eyes that s says thank you for loving me. The warmth of their hearts for just loving them and letting them know that they too are special souls. It makes me so sad to see the stories of abuse to animals of all kinds. I have two senior dogs now. One is going to go to the Rainbow Bride soon due to bone cancer but everyday I look into the beautiful eyes of the pup I took at four months old that had, had 3 or 4 previous owners before me because she was a big (Mastiff Mix)clumsy pup that wet on the floor and people couldn’t be bothered by her. I truly believe that all dogs are special but those that are rescued rescue you. Good luck Cathy. Wishing you many more years of chasing the ball.

  2. Salle

    Feb 24, 2014 at 12:40 am

    Thank you….I am praying for Cathy. Your blessings are not of this earth but you will be remembered. All are God’s creations. Thank you!

  3. Brendalee

    Feb 20, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    There should be more compassionate and loving people in the world like you. You have given Cathy a new life to live. God bless you and your family and Cathy too!!!!

  4. Patty

    Feb 20, 2014 at 3:00 am

    When one rescues a dog, at least two lives are saved…. Loved reading this story!

  5. Bob Shouse

    Feb 19, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    Two words: Absolutely Beautiful……that’s all….

  6. kory chatelain

    Feb 19, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you…..I have a rescue Westie who just brings me so much joy and gives me so much pleasure. I wish everyone could experience the unconditional love a pet gives you.

  7. debbie

    Feb 19, 2014 at 3:18 pm

    God bless you.A few years back our beloved Bob ( he’s a beautiful tiger cat with bue eyes and a bobtail)rescued us. he came from a neglectful backround. b
    One nite we found him lying on our porch wounded by an obvious tangle with another animal.We had to take him to a vet and he became ours after that.Bob has brought us so much joy over the years, but he is sick now and there is sadly little time left.He is the best boy ever and I would do it all over agin.

  8. Rene'

    Feb 19, 2014 at 7:52 am

    This is so beautiful. Thank you for choosing love.

  9. vickie

    Feb 19, 2014 at 7:25 am

    you are a lovely human…dog bless you

  10. pat

    Feb 19, 2014 at 3:41 am

    Thanks to these wonderful people who love dogs, old dogs, save dogs, take good care of dogs, get dogs out of kill shelters and so on! Fingers crossed for the surgery, good thing that the Doc got it at the beginning, wish you many years of long hikes and walks! Please keep on spreading love in this Planet, there’s no other reason we’re here for! Much love from Rome, Pat

  11. Scout

    Feb 19, 2014 at 12:45 am

    Thanks so much for rescuing this beautiful girl and for giving her a second chance and a great life!!!!

  12. Pernie

    Feb 18, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    wiping the tears words cannot say how loving you are 4 years ago my husband and I drove 45 minutes to rescue our black lab sara we were getting a sister for our Shasta bulldog/boxer mix when we pulled up there were 18 4 month old puppys two adult females 1 adult male in a 6×6’cage the man let our girl out she ran and ran finally came to me I reached for her and took her in my arms she pissed all over me I just kissed her and said I will never hurt you I will always always love you we left never looked back the first two weeks was hard but she is our girl and Shasta has a sister also we put up signs all over our city to send people to give the other puppys a home I am a proud loving dog owner careing for my girls

  13. Carol Givens

    Feb 18, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    She is a beautiful dog and you are very lucky to have each other. This is what happens when you rescue a dog– you save them once, they will save you always. You must also be an extremely nice person, I don’t think I’d have been near as nice. God bless the both of you, sending prayers for a long and happy life together!

  14. Carmen

    Feb 18, 2014 at 10:07 pm

    God bless you ,she looks exactly like my old lady Atia who is 8 years old …. These years you gave given her is so special …. Much love to you and her

  15. Diana Giraldo

    Feb 18, 2014 at 9:39 pm

    Million blessings for your good heart. May The Lord punish the abuse

  16. Al

    Feb 18, 2014 at 9:20 pm

    Thank you for giving this poor dog some happy years. She so deserves it. Great thing you did. I wish more were like you.

  17. Stacey & Mike Morelli

    Feb 18, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story…very touching. My husband & I have a very similar story. We had adopted a Sr. Red Fox Lab with health issues from Craigslist 7 yrs ago. Jake was supposed to be between 11-12 ys old. His age didn’t matter, we just wanted to give him the life he deserved even if it was for a short time. All we know about him is that he was in & out of rescues & shelters most of his life. The neglect & abuse he had suffered was apparent but he came out of it fairly quickly. Jake was the most incredible boy & he was our child for almost 5 yrs. He gave us show much joy & wonderful memories that we will cherish forever. Friday, Feb 21st will mark 1 yr without him. We lost him to bone cancer & we miss him every day. It’s because of Jake that we got involved with Labsandfriends.org & presently have 3 rescue labs at home & are active volunteers in the rescue community.

    I too questioned his real age. That would have made him 16-17 yrs old. I’ve always wanted to thank the people who had abandoned him over his life but I never found a forum to do so. His legacy will continue to grow over our lifetime because, through Jake, we have & will continue to save other dogs who deserve a wonderful life. We honor him every day through through the love we give to our 3 at home & every rescue pup we have helped. Thank you for inspiring others to write in & share their story.

  18. Holly

    Feb 18, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    Thank God for kind people like you! Anyone who saves an animal is a hero in my book. I have had nothing but rescues all of my life, and I am well into my 50’s, so that’s quite a few babies! My latest is a poodle puppy mill rescue.
    Thank you for saving Cathy. Please give her a nice, big hug for me. thank you, again, for saving her!

    Blessings!
    Holly

  19. Christine

    Feb 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm

    How wonderful that this beautiful dog was saved and given a good home. =D

    Give Cathy a snuzzle for me.

    Blessings on ya.

  20. Mike

    Feb 18, 2014 at 7:46 pm

    Dear Cathy I know dog’s cant read but I have a good feeling this entire article is getting you a lot of attention….many people in this world Cathy will never understand the beauty and self satisfaction a pet can bring and vice versa……….long ago I was raised with what I consider Gods intent and was taught all living things have a purpose for being alive…..well Cathy that may not hold true anymore….I look at what “Our” world has become and often try to make sense of it to no avail….I just want you Cathy if it’s not that big of a favor to continue to wag that tale and walk proud knowing what true love is and I’ll do my part by going down to one knee every time I get a chance to give out a scratch…. rub….or paw shake to any dog that’s not to busy sniffing what God gave us to share… all my best Mike

  21. J Rosewell

    Feb 18, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    Three of my four dogs are rescues. They give me so much joy. We need to encourage everyone to adopt not shop. Be very verbal about the puppy mill problem. The more people know the quicker we stop this horrific problem.

  22. Diane

    Feb 18, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    I loved your letter and I too rescue old animals, I have 4. I want them to be loved and cared for while they spend time on this Earth. I believe there is an animal Heaven (That’s the reason God had Noah put pairs of each animal on the Ark). When it is time for me to go I want to go where the animals go to be surrounded by love and friendship.
    Thank you for your love for Cathy ! ! ! !

  23. Eilyn

    Feb 18, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I remember Cathy when she was posted. I prayed for her journey to be a great one. And my prayers came true. Thank you from the bottom of my rescue heart.

  24. Cathy

    Feb 18, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Crying as I read this. and especially crying because my NAME IS ALSO CATHY. I long for the day when I can open my computer and NOT see a story about animal abuse or neglect. God has special plans for all those who rescue and adopt. We are a proud family of three HUMANS and THREE rescued labs. They complete us! we cannot imagine their fate had we not stepped in. GOD BLESS ALL WONDERFUL PEOPLE OUT THERE WHO ADVOCATE FOR HELPLESS ANIMALS !! Heaven awaits all of you:)

  25. Steve

    Feb 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    That reminded me of a dog we once had. My son caught a red doberman wondering around on a busy freeway, presumably dumped. She had obviously been over bred as well as her tits were hanging quite a ways. We were afraid they would get caught in something if she jumped over it and so had the vet remove them. My son kept the dog for awhile until he needed to move east and couldn’t take her with him. We had dobermans for quite awhile and still had one, but we took her in. She was a very nice dog and became part of the family immediately. She lived out her life with us and we enjoyed her very much. We still think about her. That’s been about 15 years ago now. Your story reminded me of her.

  26. Susan

    Feb 18, 2014 at 6:30 pm

    Thank you for giving Cathy an awesome forever home. I have a dog boarding business and find rescue dogs are so appreciative of even just the little things. My daughter also just adopted an old black lab from a rescue group in Florida. While Mauser (formerly Mary) also had Mammary tumors from not being spayed and over-breeding she is beautiful to us (we ignore her saggy chest). She is so sweet to my daughters 4 month old baby. She had heartworms too and is going through treatment right now. The rescue didn’t really have the funds so my daughter is paying for it. The good thing about dogs like Cathy & Mauser are they are now enjoying the best forever homes, and even though they’ve been through hell they come out still loving and trusting people.

  27. Delana Tingle

    Feb 18, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    You are a wonderful person to give this dog the home she deserves. I also believe there is a special place for those who mistreat animals to go to after this life, maybe to live the life of a mistreated animal. It takes a special person to adopt an older dog. I am afraid to adopt an older one as their years with us are just too short. I have loved so many dogs and each one was terrible to lose!

  28. shea

    Feb 18, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    your an Angel ,God Bless your soul

  29. Michael Bounds

    Feb 18, 2014 at 6:16 pm

    God Bless! Heaven holds a special place for those who take care of animals!!!

  30. Gwyn

    Feb 18, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    My heart was breaking to hear how she was treated and then abandoned but then learning what a wonderful home she is now in will keep my tears at bay. The only dogs and cats we’ve ever had have been rescues, some because the original family member died or those who were pulled from abusive/neglect situations. They have always been such wonderful animals and there has been no doubt that they have appreciated and loved their new homes and hopefully were able to erase their sad, horrible pasts. Thank you for rescuing and loving Cathy and making the rest of her life the way all animals should feel – as a loved member of a family. God bless you.

  31. Doug

    Feb 18, 2014 at 5:11 pm

    I have several rescue dogs, most abandoned when they were older. This made me cry. With joy.

  32. Sarah

    Feb 18, 2014 at 4:56 pm

    Yeah, I had not heard about the dog fight thing going around. Gave a puppy Chow to a woman & man who said they trained those types of dogs. I had no idea until later what kind of training it was & I suffer to this day from the fear that poor dog went through because of me.

  33. Ashli

    Feb 18, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Thank goodness there are people like you. I have 1 dog from a kill shelter (I adopted her the day she was scheduled to be put down), 1 from a “free to good home newspaper ad” and another that was abandoned at a clinic. How someone can just leave their pet behind is something I can not comprehend.

  34. Stella

    Feb 18, 2014 at 4:08 pm

    Thank God for people like you. Bless you for taking in Cathy and sharing this story with us. It made my day 🙂

  35. Sandra

    Feb 18, 2014 at 4:03 pm

    GOD BLESS YOU! Your a wonderful person and I’m a true believer that everything happens for a reason. God obviously put you and Cathy together for a reason. YOU ARE BLESSED♥ It’s sad to say there’s not many people who would do such selfless acts of kindness. Your baby and family are VERY blessed to have you.♥♥

  36. Rhonda

    Feb 18, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    Thank you for saving sweet Cathy!
    So many pits never even get a chance, especially older ones when they are usually the ones who need it most.
    PLEASE don’t breed or buy: remember the parent’s that get are left behind to suffer. There are a million sweet dogs just like Cathy and my 4 rescued pits waiting for you.

    • Kelly

      Feb 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      Hi Rhonda, I just wanted to reply to your comment as a rescuer myself and someone who also owns a breeder puppy. I agree that there are so many dogs in need and it has definitely given my heart enormous job to rescue numerous dogs (my last came from Ohio – I am in California and you wouldn’t believe what I had to do to get him out of the shelter just before he was euthanized and get him to California from the foster’s place in Ohio). Eli is amazing as are my other rescues. That said, I also got a puppy from a world renowned breeder of Norwegian Elkhounds a week before Eli arrived. There is a place for breeders in this world – without responsible breeders breeds would become extinct. My little one has been bred from an extremely fantastic lineage and we will also breed her. Norwegian Elkhounds are declining in numbers dramatically and breeding responsibly is the only way to keep them around. I felt the need to say this because I am interested in the strength and growth of the breed. They are not super popular and their aren’t many rescues at any given time but I choose to do both and I do not feel bad about it. Sometimes I think we need to remember that reputable breeders are doing a good thing and not lump them in with puppy mill breeders. Even though the breeder had fantastic recommendations for me she still grilled me before giving me the puppy. We are a responsible community and will continue to be so. Hope that makes sense and thanks for considering this view.

      • Penny

        Feb 19, 2014 at 5:11 pm

        Kelly…you are fantastic!! Thank you!

        Decades ago, my parents fell in love with schipperkes…when the breed was new to the US. They adopted the “imperfect” ones because they too need a good life. One had an overbite, the other had a spot of white on its chest…neither could be bred, but they each found a loving home with my parents, and fulfilled my parents’ final years as well.

        ALL dogs & cats deserve our best behavior….we’ve bred them for thousands of years to the point where they cannot survive well on their own, or in the wild. Dumping a cat or dog to take care of itself is the ultimate abuse, in my book!

  37. DEBORAH ROSE

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    We got a puppy off of craigslist and my Brother In law drove all the way to Alabama to get him.He saw what the lady said was his Dad and Mom. Who weighed 5 Lb. both of them. He weights 19 and was probably luck and saved from a puppy mill. We paid for him. We love him early. Just rescue or if you want certain breed do not buy unless you can go pick them up yourself or can find a for sure we’ll known Breeder. We would not take anything for him. Just saying! He could never have found a better home. He will never know how good it has been for him!

  38. Pink

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:54 pm

    I wish there were way more of these stories and less of… oh i “bought” a dog today!

  39. Michele

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    I just figure there is a special place in hell for people that treat animals like that. But there is also a special place in Heaven for you.

  40. Every Greyhound

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    Well done to all the beautiful people who adopt dogs in need. They all deserve owners like Cathy has found so memories of their past become distant ones…

  41. christa hunt

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    Beautiful, just beautiful. God bless you and Cathy!

  42. Ann Filter

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    Thank you for rescuing Cathy & sharing her very inspirational story! It’s so refreshing to know their are truly good people like you in this world who would step up & take the time & effort to nurture & love these unfortunate, adorable, innocent animals! Thank you!

  43. Deborah

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:32 pm

    How someone can abuse & abandon their pet and leave them to starve and die I will never know. I believe someday this person will pay for their cruelty. Cathy truely got a second chance and sounds like she is very happy now. From one pet lover to another I want to say Thankyou. You are a angel sent from heaven.

  44. Janise

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:31 pm

    You are a wonderful person to adopt an older dog. Both of my “Boys” are rescues and I cannot imagine more perfect “sons” for me. They both bring me hours of joy and happiness. Sadly, like Cathy, my oldest did experience some abuse. He cringes with loud noises and runs and hides during thunderstorms and when there is fireworks out. We have created a “safe” place for him to go when that happens….a clean fluffy towel folded up in the bathroom.

  45. Starla

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Thank you…if it weren’t for people like you so many would be killed and they really are wonderful beings that deserve so much better.
    A few years ago I wrote a letter to the editor of the Yuma Daily News; “Two years ago I adopted a tiny Chihuahua from an Arizona rescue group. It had been found running near downtown Yuma on a 122-degree summer afternoon. Her feet were burned from the pavement and she was scared and starving. Shame on you!” I will not go on about the letter other than to tell you she brightened my life more than words can say. I went on to thank them for their irresponsibility – she is one of the loves of my life, I have 4 rescues total.

  46. marie lewis

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    God bless u for being the kind hearted loving person that u r. This dog has a chance at knowing love, kindness, caring now all because of u and ur family. Even if she had only one day of that before she dies she will have gotten to know how special she is and the feeling of being cared for and loved. My only wish is that the world be filled with more people like u. I rescued my ole sweet boy Rex less than a yr ago now, he was dumped off age 14 to fend for himself, when he hit the shelter he weighed only 49 lbs, now he weighs about 80 plus lbs, he doesn’t know hunger or fear any more, he knows love, caring, security and comfort. And for all that i get his unconditional love for me. Like u I feel that is all worth it. Once again God bless u and ur family.

    • Jean Burkhardt

      Feb 18, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Marie Lewis-I read your response about Cathy the dog. It’s amazing how many of us have rescued dogs over the years. I too have had many rescues and I never have regretted it. They seem to know they were saved by us and give us so much love in return. Thank you for saving your Rex-he sounds like a great boy. God Bless you and all the people who rescue their dogs!!

      • Penny

        Feb 19, 2014 at 4:43 pm

        Dogs, and cats, are so forgiving of us stupid humans….and they accept the love & care so quickly & totally. We’ve rescued also, and I’ve found that rescues make the best pets because they’re so thankful…they’ve seen the bad side of life & humans and appreciate the good side soooooo much. Whether they’re a stray that makes it to your door, like so many cats have with us, or comes from a shelter, we’ve done that also, they deserve to live the rest of their lives in peace, with love, a warm home & bed, and good, nutritious food.

        All of us rescuers salute you, Cathy’s mommy!!!

  47. Linda Green

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I cried when I read your post. You did a wonderful thing in adopting Cathy. May she spend the rest of her days with people who love her. God bless you.

  48. Kristi

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:11 pm

    Because I work in rescue I see these stories way to often. your dog is so lucky she had help when she needed it the most. I just wanted to say that it is never in the best interest of the dog to keep the dogs name that the abuser had given the dog. it can bring flash backs of the life they use to have and also have negative behavior come out in the dog. I wish all the abused dogs were as lucky to get such a good life.

  49. Cathy Farmer

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    You are an incredible person! You have given this beautiful creature joy!!
    Thank you for adopting her!!

  50. scharlee hackett

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Thank God above for people like you. I also have 2 rescue dogs. I’m so thankful God led you to this dog.

  51. Dorothy

    Feb 18, 2014 at 3:00 pm

    Just want to say a big thank you for saving this dog and giving her the love all dogs deserve. She may have had it rough for a lot of her life but when she passes this earth it will be with someone loving her and being sad she is gone but will be remembered always.

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