Currently, Kelly has five pets - three cats and two dogs - and they are all rescues. One was abandoned inside a sealed crate in a parking lot, and another was a lost pet as a result of last year's Oklahoma tornadoes. She is also very involved with fostering animals in need and volunteering at her local shelter. I was recently lucky enough to speak a bit with Kelly about her pets and their rescue stories.
Bebe, Kelly's adorable "foster fail" from a local shelter
First, tell me a bit about yourself, your family, your pets, etc. Have you always been an animal lover?
I grew up in a home town where we weren't allowed to have animals - the closest we got were fish, a turtle, an albino frog, and some hermit crabs. But I've been an animal lover my entire life; I was the little girl who preferred stuffed animals to dolls and gravitated towards dogs and cats any time we visited someone who owned any. I'm still that way, in fact! I can't even explain in words the effect they have on me; I guess I just feel a connection that needs no words.
Now I have five pets - two dogs and three cats. Roxy (14) was my first cat, followed a year and a half later by Peanut (13). Several years later came my pups, Piper (5), a Jack Russell/Manchester terrier mix, and Bebe (2), a Yorkie/Cairn terrier mix. Then last fall we added Rainey the kitten (1) to our brood.
Peanut, the cat rescued from a covered container in a parking lot
How did you first get involved in animal rescue? What led you to each of your pets?
Roxy was born to a farm cat in Arkansas and was my first cat that I adopted my sophomore year of college. I had zero idea about felines and always had tons of questions for her vet! About a year and a half later I adopted Peanut from that same vet after he was found inside a covered litter box that had been taped shut. Several years later I bought my first home and couldn't wait to put up a fence so I could have a dog! An acquaintance was fostering Piper, who had been found as a stray, and as soon as we met I took her and her immense energy with me. Shortly after that I became involved with fostering myself through some friends who had grown up doing the same. Bebe was my fourth dog foster who was straight out of Animal Welfare. She almost immediately became a fail, and I actually (nerdy!) refer to her as my soul puppy because we were just meant to be together. Last but not least comes Rainey. Last May Oklahoma had some huge tornadoes, and the rescue group I work with became heavily involved in the reuniting of pets. Of course, that involved some foster work as well, and I took in 8 eight-week-old kittens. Rainey was partially feral and the last kitten left come October and I just couldn't let her go!
I suppose I got involved in fostering because I couldn't imagine not. Once I did, I also realized the scope of how many animals are needlessly put down every year simply because people are either uneducated or too lazy to spay and neuter their pets.
Rainey, the kitten who was once a feral stray due to the Oklahoma tornadoes
Tell me a bit about your pets and their personalities. Do they all get along?
Their personalities crack me up daily; I'm so thankful for that. Roxy has always been a bit cranky and only really gets along with Peanut, who she has more or less grown up with. Meanwhile, Peanut is like Switzerland - he gets along with whoever and whatever I bring in the house, including the dogs. Piper can be a bit grouchy but has grown to like her sister Bebe, who is basically the female dog version of Peanut! Rainey is a bit of a scaredy-cat but loves Bebe; in fact, I like to joke that she's actually Bebe's and not mine.
Piper, the energetic stray foster of a friend who came to stay in Kelly's home
What has been the most difficult thing about owning shelter pets, especially those who may have had trauma in their past? How about the most rewarding thing?
The patience, for sure. Bebe, in particular, had an awful shelter experience. When I went to pick her up as a foster, they literally handed her to me to carry because she was too scared to walk out. It was amazing to watch her do a complete 180° over the first six months - she didn't know what rawhide bones were, didn't understand the joy of being petted, none of it! Now she's as sweet as can be and a 100% fully functioning pup.
Roxy, Kelly's first rescue cat!
What made you decide to rescue instead of buying a pet from a pet store/breeder? What would you tell people who don't understand the importance of adopting?
I've never once looked at buying a pet as a viable option when there are so many in shelters looking for homes. We may not know their backstories, but shelter pets are some of the most grateful, loving creatures on this earth. When it comes to telling others about them, I just speak very openly and try to avoid the guilt side of things, though I do throw out some ugly numbers. Nine times out of ten their eyes are wide open by the end.
If you'd like to learn more about Kelly, her pets, and the gorgeous things that inspire her, visit Design Crush! It really is a beautiful blog - definitely check it out! And a big thank you to Kelly for sharing her pets' stories! :)
If you'd like to share your rescue story, comment or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I always love hearing stories about animals in need finding their forever homes!
Thanks for reading!