Zinnia, My Grace

Zinnia Grace (affectionately known as Zinny, Zinnypoo, Zinzin, Rinzinzin, etc.) came into my life at a dark time. It was the depth of February and my long-standing depression had reappeared, full-force. I received an email from the SF SPCA one day advertising free adoptions for Valentine’s Day and decided to look at the website…you know, “just to see…” (I think we all know where this story is headed). I found a few online that I wanted to investigate further in person, including “Flower,” a four-pound papillon-chihuahua mix who had been found roaming around SOMA at the estimated age of 11 months. No chip, no collar, no one taking care of her. Such a small helpless thing on the street.

Zinnia and AmyWhen I entered the SPCA, I saw her immediately and went over to the room she was in with multiple other dogs barking and playing and generally being chaotic. Flower was sitting quietly by herself, and upon making eye contact with me, she came up to the window and lifted her paws up, reaching for me — whining and pleading for me to take her home. And that was obviously that — a couple of “getting to know each other” visits later, with a teeth cleaning and a surgery to fix and chip her, she was mine. And as I was soon to learn, I was hers.

Zinny started off shy. In fact, her name came from an SPCA staff person saying as I was mulling over names, “Well, she IS a delicate flower.” I knew immediately I’d have to stick with that theme because she certainly was….Poppy? Rose? Finally, Zinnia (and the Grace just flowed because what dog doesn’t have a middle name???).

We got home and she immediately curled up beside me while I rubbed her belly. She made no noises, no barking. She was slow to take to food, but after awhile warmed up and began to nourish herself once again, undoing the damage that living on the street had wrought on her tiny body. But her bond to me was instantaneous. We were inseparable.

My depression didn’t lift immediately, in fact it lingered for the months to follow, but it never got worse. I never got to the point of complete and utter despair. I had a small being depending on me, someone who loved me so unconditionally it warmed my heart and soul, and took away my lingering loneliness.

A year later, we’re still figuring things out. She a rescued dog, me a rescued human….working our way through the world, but always at each other’s side. Zinny has many aunties and uncles whom she adores (and in turn adore her), a pack of small dogs she walks with daily, a fiercely independent spirit that amuses me often, and an instagram page, to boot!

Some would look at adopting Zinnia Grace from the street as saving her life, but I look at it as saving mine.

- Amy

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PumpkinPumpkin! “I’ve been at 3 shelters now, trying to find my new home. Hopefully the third time’s the charm! All of the dramatic changes in my life have made me a bit nervous, and I’m looking for a patient adopter who will go slowly with me. Once I get to know you, you’ll see that I’m fun, sassy (my nickname is “The Pump”), and ready to be your best friend!” http://bit.ly/1jIg2bn

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A Rave About Bodie

Bodie (formerly Kringle)This may be a little early to post, but this puppy is worth raving about! He’s almost four months! We adopted Bodie (aka Kringle) on December 26th, 2013. He was a puppy in Macy’s Holiday Windows. We hadn’t planned on adopting a puppy on December 23rd (the day we walked into the store for last-minute Christmas presents) but we had been thinking about adopting a dog for a while.

We already have a dog, a 10-year-old chocolate Lab who is reactive to other dogs. We had been told by local shelters that a puppy would not be a good match for her, given the age and energy difference. This was what we assumed, as well. We would never dream that she could run around the yard with a puppy tailing her, but lo and behold, that’s what’s happening! They aren’t exactly best friends, but our lab has become less reactive on walks. This is a huge milestone for her. Bodie, while annoying her sometimes, is making our lab, Terra, more sociable.

Bodie’s heritage is a mystery that will be solved through a gene test. He could be a handful of breeds, from a rottweiler to a cattle dog to a pitbull to a labrador (his feet are webbed!) Whatever the test results are, we will love him no matter what. We went to a dog show recently and found out about agility competitions, which we are going to test his liking of.

Bodie is super smart, has an insatiable taste for shoes, and is loved by everyone he meets. We hope to introduce him to many more people in the years to come.

- The O’Donnells

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ChloeChloe! “When I arrived at the SF SPCA I had a terrible case of Demodex, which is a skin problem caused by mites. I spent several weeks recovering in a foster home, but I’m all better now and ready to find my forever home! I’ve got a lot of puppy energy and I’m still learning, so I hope to find an active household and adopters who will take me to training classes.” http://bit.ly/1mQVrpC

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Lola the Miracle Cat

Lola KittyI adopted Lola from the San Francisco SPCA. She’s about twelve years old now, and I’ve had her since she was a kitten. Well, except for the two and a half years that I didn’t have her.

One day in 2007, Lola didn’t come home. I posted signs and looked everywhere for her, but she was gone without a trace. I was heartbroken. All of my life I’d had a cat, but after losing Lola I decided that was it, no more cats for me.

The next year my husband and I moved to a new house. The year after that, on Christmas eve, I got a message from a woman named Paula who said she had my cat. Paula was my former neighbor, though neither of us realized it at the time. I had no idea who she was, where she got my number, or how she knew I’d lost a cat.

My hands were shaking as I dialed Paula’s number, but I was trying not to get my hopes up. After two and a half years it seemed impossible. I thought surely this was some sort of mistake, but soon after Paula answered the phone it became clear to me that she really did have Lola. For a while I was speechless. Paula asked if I was crying, I said yes, and then she started crying, too!

Lola appeared on Paula’s roof one day maybe a year earlier, and Paula coaxed her into the house through a window. She never did figure out how Lola got onto the roof. Lola’s fur was matted and dirty and she was very thin, and very scared. Once inside the house she had no interest in leaving again, but she wouldn’t let Paula get anywhere near her.

Lucky for Lola (and me), Paula has a big heart and loves cats. She fed Lola and took care of her, and eventually Lola let Paula pet her and brush her. Paula looked for missing fliers, but by then they were long gone, and so were we.

The SPCA implanted a microchip in Lola, as they do with all kittens before adopting them out. For a nominal fee I was able to register my contact information. So when Paula brought Lola to the vet one day, the vet scanned Lola and found the microchip.

When I brought Lola home from Paula’s house, she wandered around the house for a while, checking out her new surroundings. Up to that point she hadn’t shown any sign of recognition.

I was afraid she didn’t remember me, but then about an hour later she jumped up into my lap, looked me straight in the eye for a moment, and then started purring and nuzzling into my hair, just like old times, as if to say, “There you are! Where have you been?”

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