The bond between parent and pet is powerful no matter how a pet was obtained. But many owners of rescued pets claim to have a connection that transcends the typical experience.
Pet adoption, whether from a history of neglect, abuse, or abandonment, is a journey that is often uncertain, slow, and difficult. Rescue pet parents feel a responsibility to build up their new pet's trust, give them opportunities to enjoy life, and protect them from any future harm.
When it comes to homeless dogs and cats in the United States, we clearly have a problem. As many as 70 million dogs and cats are estimated to be abandoned in shelters in the USA alone. The issue is pervasive and complex, and with rising costs across the boardaffecting food, shelter, and even veterinary care, we can assume that this problem will only continue to get more dire.
The truth is, even well-meaning pet parents may find themselves in a situation where they feel rehoming their pet is the only option, particularly without resources available to help.
Luckily, many homeless pets are taken in and given second chances. In honor of National Rescue Dog Day, we spoke with some proud rescue pet parents on the Figo team to hear their stories.
Adriana and Buddha
Claims Administration Associate at Figo
"I have a rescue dog and his name is Buddha. He’s 9 years old, going on 10 next month and I adopted him at 7 from Humane Indiana. I saw his picture posted on their page while on my lunch break and I went to go see him the next day. He was rescued from a shelter and had been adopted from this rescue twice: once by a family, then returned a month later and adopted again by the same family and returned again. He had anxiety, was reactive to other animals, and was a senior. That didn’t matter to me.
I met him and instantly fell in love with him. I brought him home the next day and promised I’d give him the life he deserved. He’s taught me patience, consistency, and responsibility. He’s opened up so much since the day I brought him home and is the absolute best boy! He might not have had the best past but I promise he will always have a great future! He’s loved by everyone and is my “secretary” while I work from home."
Darshi and Canyon
Customer Experience Associate at Figo
"I have wanted a dog since I've known what dogs were.
My first encounter with rescue was when I was 10 years old. My 5th-grade class chose 5 lucky students to go volunteer with the shelter for a few hours on a Saturday. I made sure we were the first ones to arrive and very boldly told the lady at the front desk "I'd like to walk the biggest dog you have!" She came out with Lucy, a 2-year-old, very high-energy black lab. I took her out to their yard and I was sold. I needed my own rescue.
After hearing "no" and "they're too much work" from my parents right up until I moved out for school, I was finally under my own roof, ready to adopt my own dog. Enter, Canyon. My partner and I adopted Canyon from a local shelter in May of 2021. He was shy, scared of the big city and all its noises. Over the past year, he has grown into the most loving, caring, loyal, and handsome young adult. The beauty of rescue, to me, is that you never know the personality you're going to get.
Will they be food-motivated? Toy driven? Will they eat sticks, or just want to nap all day? When you choose to rescue, you forgo the answers to questions like these and instead say, "I don't care, I'm going to love this little dog no matter who they are". There is so much to be said about the importance of rescue and the amazing work that shelters are doing, but for now, I'll just say this: I can't imagine a life without my rescue dog, and I can't remember my life before him."
Mario and Joni
Art Director at Figo
"Waste Management found Joni in a birdcage that was left in a dumpster in Fresno, CA. She was extremely scared of loud noises, people, and, unsurprisingly so, garbage cans. For the first few months, we had to be extremely patient, slow-moving, and cautious with the noises we made around her because she was treated so horribly before she came to us. She wouldn't let us pet her or be too near, but little by little we gained her trust, and now she is my shadow. I cannot imagine a day without her by my side.
Before we adopted Joni, I had been extremely depressed. We had lost our 15-year-old husky Sophie (also a rescue pup) to cancer a few months before. I had structured my entire life around her and her needs- feeding, medications, comfort, etc. Every day was planned around Sophie. So when she was gone, I suddenly had no real purpose anymore. I didn't have to wake up at 5 am to carry her outside anymore. I didn't have to spend hours prepping her special diet and hand feeding it to her.
We decided to go to a shelter meet-and-greet to see if I could possibly be ready. We went to the event, and all of the dogs were romping around and barking, and there was one single dog that was sitting quietly on her own in the corner. Our Joni. She just looked like she was waiting for me. I had zero reservations, and we took her home that day! She got my life back on track, and we helped her learn to be loved. It has been 3 years since we adopted her, and although she doesn't like garbage trucks still, she is a completely confident and fun-loving gal!"
Bridgett, Honey, and Mushroom
Director of Marketing and Communications at Figo
Photo by Jamie & Eric Photography
"I love my pets so much! While she's not a dog, we adopted our cat Mushroom in 2015 from a local rescue. She was first adopted in Chicago by another owner who then moved to LA, but she got lost there. Through the magic of microchipping, the Chicago rescue found her and actually flew her back here! We adopted her the day after she hopped off the plane from LA. Our dog Honey was found outside of a gas station in Memphis, Tennessee, and then she was transferred up to another Chicago rescue. She had just had babies and had been diagnosed with heartworm, so she was in bad shape and very scared and anxious.
For both of them, it was a gradual process of getting comfortable in a new home and trusting us. They're both still pretty food insecure and love to eat anything you put in front of them. A pretty cute trait that we think stems from both of them being strays at some point in their lives is that they always want to be close to home. We can leave the back door open and let the pets sit on the patio in the sun, and never worry about them running away. They just want to be close to us!
It has been beautiful to see how they have both blossomed from the animals we brought home to the loving, confident, happy creatures they are today. They remind me to stay in the present and their constant attention and cuddles keep my heart so full. When I think of things I’m grateful for, they’re always at the top of the list."
Samantha and Heidi
Claims Admin Associate at Figo
"My fiance John and I rescued Heidi on 1/7/2022! We were a temporary foster home for her and when we were given the option to adopt, we could not say no!
She came into our lives at the perfect time. John had recently had to say goodbye to his family cat of 20+ years and Heidi was right there to bring some peace and comfort. She is so loving, kind, funny, and just an overall blessing in our lives. Our kitty Jasper has bonded to her so well and we could not be more grateful.
We love our little family!"
Kelley and Britta
Business Development Coordinator
"This isBritta, my first ever dog! I adopted her in 2012 from Little Legs Rescue in Connecticut. She got carsick on the way home, so I took her to the vet, which introduced me to my veterinary technician career. I ended up going back to college to be a vet tech and was in the field for 8 years before starting with Figo. She loved car rides and going to work with me at the vet hospital.
She also LOVED people, so I would always have her tag along when I went out so that she could make new friends. Britta passed away this past October from heart cancer and her life really did forever change mine!"
Lizz Caputo is a Content Strategist at Figo, animal enthusiast, and owner of a rescued senior American Bully. Her hobbies include checking out new restaurants in her area, boxing, and petting dogs of all shapes and sizes.