We’ve all shuddered through terrible stories of animals forced to endure unimaginable abuse, suffering and neglect, and reading about their dramatic rescues is always exciting. But what happens after the dust settles and those news stars find themselves a (hopefully) forever home?
1. Little Roy
You wouldn’t think a prison guard would be a gentle-hearted cat lover, but Roy Ware loves cats, and he worked on a horrible hoarding case in Florida involving almost 700 cats. Along the way, he fell in love with an orange tabby who had every reason to hate people, but instead became his new best friend. While the other cats have been safely adopted out, Little Roy went home with Dad — and they’ve been happy ever since.
This little kitty needed some personalized attention that she wasn’t getting at home, so her owners surrendered her to the SPCA. For older cats, especially surrenders, it can be tough to find a new home, but Honey found her person in an older adult who loves to brush her and spend time with her — and who doesn’t keep any other cats around to compete for attention. Moreover, Honey’s new parent, concerned about the possibility of preceding her in death, made an arrangement with a relative to take over Honey’s care so she’d never have to go back to the shelter again.
Jake was nearly shot, along with his sister, but he ran the other way. Like other pitbulls, he was facing grim odds at animal control, as a “bully breed” showing possible signs of kennel cough, which leads to a certain death sentence in crowded shelters. Luckily for him, he was taken in by a rescue and fostered by people familiar with pit bulls. Poor Jake went to several meet and greets but couldn’t find his people — until he met a couple whom he knew would be his family forever.
This elephant spent 50 years in chains and cried after being rescued by Wildlife SOS, an Indian animal welfare organization. The video of his momentous first steps into freedom has gone viral, but what happens next? He’ll be living with other rescue elephants at a sanctuary where he’ll be able to move freely and benefit from a rich environment, varied food and attentive medical care from elephant specialists who will also shower him in the affection he so richly deserves after 50 years of suffering.
This beautiful cat was caught in a house fire and presumed dead, but four days later, the cat came back. Unfortunately, things didn’t look good for Russell. He had severe burns across much of his body, he was extremely dehydrated and he had grave complications from his harrowing experience. The staff at Animal Emergency Hospital & Urgent Care stepped in to treat Russell and his canine friend Fifi (who sadly didn’t survive), covering all medical expenses with the help of generous members of the public. Astoundingly, despite his severe injuries, he made an excellent recovery.
This horse is a fighter. (Did you expect anything less?) After being abandoned, she was mauled by unknown animals, but a passerby called for help, posting images of her online and trying to get someone to rescue her. The best possible person came along: a vet, who can provide a forever home for Xena and manage the followup care she needs.
Catori was on her way to a slaughterhouse in Mexico when the trailer carrying her and 29 other horses overturned. Seventeen managed to survive, with morning commuters stepping into the fray to calm the horses and get them off the road while Humane Society officials moved to rescue them (unbelievably, the owner still wanted to send them to slaughter) and get them into new homes.
Catori’s story might have ended there, but it turned out that she was pregnant — and she and her foal Moonstruck were among the three horses in their new home to survive a devastating tornado. When a second tornado struck and orphaned a foal belonging to friends, Moonstruck’s adoptees took him in, but he couldn’t settle down — until he found Moonstruck, and true love.