Success Stories

The ARL: Helping to Make Families Complete! - RESCUED: Wilbur! - A Compassion Story: Buzzy! - Goodbye Vacation Home, Hello Forever Home! - Finding a REAL Life: Mandy's Story - Lov-A-Bull: Penelope's Story - An Extra Special Family: Hope and Devlin's Story - From Rags to Riches - Saving Lives, One by One - Picasso is Finally Home! - For the Love of Black Cats! - Shelter Dog Bliss: Bug's Story! - Movin' and Shakin': Winston's Story! - Not Lost For Long! - The Perfect Pair: Bear and Sabrina - Lilla's Happy Ending - From Puppy Mill to Perfect LIfe! - Zeus' Mighty Struggle - Foster Fun: Smudge's Story! - Superstar Beau! - Good Times for Gabby! - One Smart Pup! - A Special Home for a Special Guinea Pig - The Gift of Family: Ozzie's Story! - The Lucky Three: A Story of Survival - Finding True Love: Stella's Story - A Lov-A-Bull Family: Bandit and Clyde - Bonnie's Senior Success - Dozer's Happy Tail! - From Foster Home to Forever Home - What a Year 2012 Was for the ARL! - The Many Rewards of Fostering!Patience, Kindness and Lots of Love! - A Fairytale Ending - Zeus and Athena Want to Know... - Bella Banana Earns Her Name - Love At First Sight - The Training of ScoutA Bundle of Fun: Harley Meets His Match! - A Home for Beulah!- Jackson & Galaxy Find the Perfect Fit! - The Gift of Love for Lucky - Gaining Toby's Trust - A New Home for Chuck! - Socializing Sophie - Good News for Gary! - Morris and Maxwell: The Perfect Pair! - Freedom & Love for Missy! - Showtime for Wilbur!- Foster to Forever for Milli - A Loving Family For Chloe - Pachanga Struts Her Stuff! - A Special Valentine for Maizy - A Life Changing Adoption: Peanut Finds A Home - Gilbert In The City! - Duke Meets His Match!- A Lovely Home for Little Maddy! - Otis Becomes Mister Relaxed! - A Wonderful Life for Walter! - A Happy Home for Drake! - The Three Musketeers! - Hugo & Templeton - A Lucky Day for Max! - Incredible Charlie! - New Tires Mean a New Home for Daisy! - George Gets Cozy - Kammi: A Daddy's Girl - An Unexpected Home for Dallas - From Foster to Forever: Sophie's Story - A "Hoppy" Ending - Home Sweet Home - Queen of the House - Right at Home: Red's Story - A Bright Day for Casanova - Dillinger the Therapy Dog - Finding New Joy: Guster's Story - From Foster to Forever

Do you have a success story to share with us? Please click here!


The ARL: Helping to Make Families Complete!

The ARL has been helping to make families complete for over 86 years now. One rescue dog-loving family has adopted from the ARL not once, but THREE times over the course of 10 years with the ultimate goal of completing their family. The first to be adopted was five year old black terrier mix, Mugsy, in November of 2001. He was kicked out of his home when his original owner went to jail, and was found wandering the streets dirty and matted.

Five years later in March of 2006, the adopters decided that Mugsy needed a companion as he began to age to keep him happy and healthy. So they went to meet a new dog at the ARL and Mugsy showed interest in a five month old white and tan mixed pooch named Vinny. Vinny had come to the ARL after bouncing from home to home, but now that he and Mugsy forged a friendship, they decided to give him is forever home.

Their family was now complete. They lived blissfully along with their two pups for nearly five years until early in 2011 when fifteen year old Mugsy was stricken with cancer and passed away. Mugsy's family was heartbroken, but they knew that Vinny could not go without having a canine companion in his life, so they soon began the search to complete their family once again. They knew they wanted another black, fluffy pooch just like Mugsy, and as they were scrolling through the ARL's website one day, a little black face stuck out at them.

Now residing in Nebraska, the potential adopters immediately called the ARL to inquire about the sweet 1 ½ year old Lhasa Apso/Poodle mix's availability, and quickly learned that she was already pending for her forever family. They chose to fill out an application in the off chance that the potential adoption may not go through and patiently waited with her fingers crossed for a phone call. In April of 2011, the call finally came. The black fluffy pup was theirs. They hurried from Tekamah, Nebraska to Des Moines and picked her up, knowing that their family was once again complete. They decided to name her Arlee in honor of the ARL.


"Vinny and Arlee now complete our furry family and enrich our lives daily. Mugsy, Vinny, and Arlee are treasures in our lives that we have thanks to the wonderful work of the Animal Rescue League. We will be forever grateful."
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RESCUED: Wilbur!

Wilbur was found on a farm in central Iowa without any water and very little area to graze. After being brought to the ARL barn, it was clear to everyone that this dear horse was in dire need of food and medical care. His coat was dirty and rough with his ribs clearly poking through.

After weeks of critical care, the ARL staff was finally convinced that Wilbur would live out a healthy life. Now the problem was finding a home in which Wilbur could live a life full of love. Finding homes for horses is not an easy problem to fix and it takes a lot more effort than finding homes for a dog or cat.

Thankfully for the ARL, some people are more than just adopters. They are rescuers. These gracious souls go beyond giving an animal food and a home - these people bring the animal back from their nightmares and give them a reason to survive while nursing them back to health.

It was one of these rescuers that saved Wilbur.

"Wilbur is doing awesome and we couldn't be happier with him! He has gained a nice amount of weight and has been doing well outside with the other horses. I have ridden him a few times now and he is wonderful and so willing."
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A Compassion Story: Buzzy!

For many people, dogs are more than just pets. They can be companions, best friends and life savers. Buzzy, formerly known as Tikki, was adopted from the ARL in the Spring of 2004 and is all of those things. Diagnosed with a brain tumor two years prior, Buzzy's mom walked into the ARL to find a friend; someone to light up her life. When she met Buzzy, she knew she had found the one. "We were in the play room together and I put my hands down for her to smell and she put her paw in my hand and looked at me like she had picked me". This lucky guardian took Buzzy home that day and knew her life would change.

Buzzy would lift her spirits on the hardest of days. Walking her, seeing her waiting in the upstairs window at the end of the day, and watching her trying to chase squirrels and climb trees always puts a smile on her face. To one lucky adopter, Buzzy is the definition of unconditional love. When Buzzy's mom was in the hospital for about a month in 2005, special arrangements were made so that Buzzy could visit her. She told us, "Buzzy inspired me to keep getting stronger to get home to her."

In March of 2006, Buzzy conquered a medical scare of her own. A local vet could not determine the problem, so Buzzy was transported to the Iowa State Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Ames, and was immediately admitted into the ICU. After many tests were run, Buzzy was diagnosed with viral meningitis, which is very rare in dogs. With rounds of medication and lots of love and affection, Buzzy pulled through.

A year later, Buzzy came down with viral meningitis once again, this time with thrombocytopenia. Then in 2010, she was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, and then with hemolytic anemia, and wasn't expected to live past the next few months. Again, Buzzy surprised everyone, and she is still chasing squirrels, digging, climbing and chewing bones that are as big as she is.

Buzzy is now almost 11 years old, and living a happy, healthy life thanks to unconditional love that she both gives and receives.
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Goodbye Vacation Home, Hello Forever Home!

We all know the feeling, you head off on a vacation - sometimes just a few days, a week or even a month - and have a great time doing whatever it is you want to do. We can all agree that vacations are lots of fun, but there's still nothing like coming HOME and relaxing. For Liz, a Shelter Cat Getaway kitty, she now knows what it's like to be HOME after a 2 month long vacation.

Liz's adopter visited ARL Main just last week and spent time looking at all of the cats in the adoption kennels. She walked away feeling a little bummed because none of the cats she saw had that special "something" she was looking for. It was then that she talked to a staff member about some of the cats that were ready for adoption and in the Shelter Cat Getaway program. She saw a picture of Liz and immediately felt that "something" she was looking for. So, Liz's foster home brought her in for a meet and greet later that week and as soon as the meet and greet was over, Liz went HOME!

This is what her new family had to say about her: "I just wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful Liz. She only hid for a few hours when I brought her home, and she loves the windows where she can look out to watch the squirrels. She also loves the bathroom sink...sometimes she is sleeping there when I go to sleep. THANK YOU AGAIN!"
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Finding a REAL Life: Mandy's Story

Mandy was one of the 88 dogs involved in the Sac County Rescue in January of 2012. Once subjected to living in deplorable conditions and having her eyes removed due to severe infection, she is now a beloved family member and living the high life! This is what Mandy's new owner has to say about her:

"Mandy is doing very VERY well, settling in like she's always been here. Happy and bubbly, exploring the house, trying out all the spots the dogs like to sleep to find her favorite. She leaps up from what appears to be a dead sleep when we mention going outside - and (usually) heads for the door when we ask if she's ready to go in, then supervises that we actually latch the door and waits to have her feet wiped.

Di, our other dog, is trying to teach her to play. She dances in circles, and Mandy tries a little "pounce," a tentative paw swipe, and a jump. Mostly she's just glad to have attention from Di, who wasn't quite sure what to do with her the first few days. When one of us sits on the floor, both dogs snuggle close, usually on either side, but occasionally together. They are starting to stick together in the house as well.

Mandy also likes to stay very close to our heels, especially in the kitchen, so we're learning to look before stepping backwards so we all don't end up in a pile on the floor. She does respond when we ask her to "come," so long as we keep talking, clapping, snapping fingers, etc., to give her a sound to hone in
on. She does just enough teasing and getting sidetracked to let us know she has a mind of her own!"

To view a video of the Sac County Rescue, click here!
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Lov-A-Bull: Penelope's Story

Some may call Penelope a "pit bull" but we call her a "Lov-A-Bull" and for Penelope, impressing her new family was a breeze! Shortly after they adopted her, this is what her family had to say about their new "lov-a-bull":

"Penelope has been with us for a few weeks now, and all we have to say is: AMAZING! She has a way about her that makes you want to smile and laugh. She is very loving and seems to enjoy caring for her humans with frequent "spit baths" and intense high-speed licking.

Penelope LOVES her yard and stopping to smell the lilacs we planted by our deck. A good game of fetch is the first thing she wants to do when we come home from work. Her style of fetch consists of us throwing the toy, then chasing after her, turning it into a game of tag. Penelope's favorite activity is taking frequent walks around town. Everyone she meets is a friend--two-legged or four-legged.

Recently we were visited by our daughter and her Great Dane-Boxer mix, Boulder. With a basic introduction, they were off playing like they were litter mates. It was 3 days of playing, wrestling and some great games of tug-of-war between the 2 dogs. We had many laughs watching them frolic around the yard!

Penelope is a GREAT dog. She has learned so quickly and has taught us how misunderstood the breed is. Thank you ARL for giving this family a second chance to know this dog."
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An Extra Special Family: Hope and Devlin's Story

For Hope and Devlin, what started as a simple need for a new home, soon became a need for an extra special home.

Devlin arrived at the ARL as a stray and although he was just a small kitten, during his medical examination, we discovered that he had suffered an injury to his tail that was causing him a great deal of pain and would need to be amputated. We also learned that he couldn't hear because he was born deaf.

Not long before, Hope had arrived at the ARL, also as a stray. She was just 1 year-old, yet during her medical examination, we found that an old injury to her front leg would also require amputation. Our chief Veterinarian performed both surgeries and both Hope and Devlin were sent together to a foster home where they could recover outside of the shelter before becoming available for adoption.

During their time together in recovery, these special needs cats formed a strong bond - it was as if they could relate to what the other was going through and they soon became inseparable. Because of this bond, we decided to adopt them as a pair and after 176 days since they arrived at the ARL, an adopter stepped forward to adopt the pair that now consisted of 2 working ears, 7 legs, and 1 tail - and endless amounts of love!
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From Rags to Riches!

Lucky was adopted from the ARL in the Spring of 2012 by an experienced horse owner, Jenny, looking to add another to her family's farm. The four year old mare, formerly known as Marilee, had been at the ARL for approximately six months after being seized from a farm in Guthrie Center where she had been neglected and was in serious need of help.

Jenny had been looking for a quiet, medium sized pony that would be up for giving pony rides, riding lessons and lots of loving pats from the many children that came to visit her farm. She searched state wide for a "bombproof" mare of Lucky's size and breed, but kept striking out, that is, until she visited the ARL. Lucky had initially caught her eye, but was wary due to the fact that she hadn't received much training in the past. Jenny and her family decided to sleep on it, then came back the next week and tested Lucky out. Lucky was put through a few paces under saddle, but she seemed a little bit uncertain about being ridden. Even so, Jenny put her doubts aside and decided that her kind spirit and patient attitude was enough to convince her to take her home.

Once on the farm, Lucky immediately bonded with her pasture mate, Pepper. As Lucky and Pepper started their training, it was clear that Lucky was the more mild of the two. She was consistent and reacted well to new objects, people and situations. Both ponies were sweet and had different strengths of course, but little Lucky had won her new family's hearts from that point on.

Today, Lucky enjoys eating carrots and animal crackers and always comes to the fence for the kids to pet when they come out to the farm. Recently, one of the trainers who worked with Lucky this summer, entered her in a local horse show, just for fun. Lucky had never been in a proper riding arena, let alone in a show setting, but much to everyone's surprise, Lucky won champion of her class!


"We are so happy with Lucky." Jenny told us. "We have told many people of her 'rags to riches' story and they can't believe we were able to find such a gem at the ARL. We hope her story encourages others to make a trip to visit the animals for adoption at the ARL before purchasing somewhere else."
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Saving Lives, One by One

The ARL frequently takes in dogs of poor backgrounds. However, despite the abuse or neglect they may have been subjected to in the past, many of them can prosper and blossom into the perfect companion with a little help from a good home and a loving family. For Sadie, this was just the case.

Sadie's new owners-to-be had just settled into their first home when they decided that they were ready to add a dog to their family. Upon a visit to the ARL's website, they came across an 18 month old female German Shepherd, Sadie, and instantly fell in love. Soon after, they decided to visit her at the ARL, where they learned about her neglectful background. Sadie had been a stray, living on the streets for about a month after she delivered a litter of puppies at only one year old, and was not very socialized. When they finally got to meet her, Sadie was skinny, shy and scared, but they knew that they needed to give her a chance. After a few short months of love and training, the formerly troubled dog became a lively, animated and personable member of the family.

Sadie was so friendly and outgoing that her owners decided she needed a friend to pal around with. They once again took to monitoring the ARL website and made several trips to the shelter. Six months after they adopted Sadie, a two year old mixed breed named Maggie entered the picture. Like Sadie, Maggie too came from an unfavorable situation. She was picked up in Southern Iowa with a rope tied around her neck and the length of it dragging behind her. Despite the situation, Maggie was loving and affectionate from the start and made a great companion for Sadie. The two quickly became inseparable, and are often found cuddling on the couch together.


"Six years have passed. We can't imagine our family without Sadie and Maggie. Whether it's exercising, riding in the car, or visiting friends and family, the four of us are always together. They have added so much to our home and our lives."
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Picasso is Finally Home!

The spunky little cat affectionately referred to as Picasso, has finally found his forever home! Picasso has been on quite the journey with us at the ARL, but now he has a family to call his own.

Picasso came to the ARL in the Spring of 2012 as a stray with an adorable little ear deformity. Not long after, staff found that he was not adapting well to shelter life. Administrative staff gave him a temporary home in their offices where he would receive around the clock love and attention, but this guy had a firecracker personality that would be best suited for family life. Picasso was then sent to the Summer Cat Getaway program, where he would wait in a foster home until he was adopted.


As the end of September rolled around and after being featured on the ARL's Facebook page a few times, a family expressed their interest in Picasso. After a successful meet-and-greet, they took Picasso home to be a permanent member of the family.

Picasso is having tons of fun with his new family, and they are loving his goofy personality! Here's what his owners have to say about him: "He has lots of energy, and he's a blast to watch while he does laps through the house kicking his toys around while on the move. We are enjoying him so much."
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For the Love of Black Cats!

Owning a pet is known to help combat loneliness, and for one couple, adopting a kitten turned out to be the perfect cure! After Nicole and Ben graduated from Law School in 2008, Ben took a job in Burlington, and Nicole remained in Des Moines with Sylvester (cat) and Lola (Chihuahua). Far away from his friends and family, Ben soon became homesick. An avid cat lover herself, Nicole suggested that he adopt a cat to keep him company.

They were visiting ARL West to "just look", when a black 6 month old kitten caught their eye. When they asked to see him, the volunteer happily agreed and described him as a kitten with lots of "spirit"; informing them that he liked to try to escape his kennel on occasion. As it so happened, a "spirited" kitty is just what Nicole and Ben were looking for, and they fell in love and took him home.

Nicole and Ben named him Howard, or Howie for short. After Ben took Howie back to Burlington with him, his spirits lifted immediately. Six months went by and Ben was finally able to move back to Des Moines with Nicole. It was not long before that, Nicole had to put down her cat of 20 years, Sylvester, who coincidentally looked identical to Howie. It was a sad time for Nicole and she felt that Howie could sense it. Normally not much of a cuddler, Howie allowed Nicole to pick him up, hold him and hug him without the slightest protest.

Howie's energy, curiosity, and ability to get into all sorts of precarious situations led to lots of great times and gut splitting belly laughs. However, it seemed something was missing, and their Chihuahua, Lola (a fairly tolerant playmate), was getting tired of being pounced on. They soon decided that it was time to get Howie a new playmate. In May of 2011, Nicole and Ben took another visit to the ARL and came home with a 3 month old kitten, also black. They named her Mia, and she and Howie quickly became best buddies and great playmates. They now feel that their family is complete with not one, but two cats.

Nicole and Ben told us: "Both of our cats are the perfect combination of funny, playful, and loving and we wouldn't trade them for the world."
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Shelter Dog Bliss: Bug's Story!

Sandra and Mike know all about the happiness that shelter dogs can provide to a family. They adopted their first shelter pup, a Collie mix named Rusty, in 1999, and never looked back. As the years flew by and Rusty began to age, they decided that adding another dog to their home would help with the inevitable transition they knew they'd soon have to face. In June of 2011, Sandra and Mike made a trip to the ARL and met a sweet, 2 year old Chihuahua/Pug mix named Bug and immediately fell in love. They knew they would need Rusty's approval before bringing him home, so a meet-and-greet was set up for the two to be introduced. Bug and Rusty took to each other immediately, and Bug came home with the three of them that same day.

Bug instantly became a beloved, and spoiled, member of the family! They provided him with a doggie bed of his own, but he insisted upon burrowing into the covers of their bed to doze off each night instead.

Not long after Bug came into the picture, Mike and Sandy were forced to put Rusty to sleep due to old age. Despite the heart wrenching situation, Bug was there for them, giving them a reason to smile. He continues to provide cuddles and kisses when the times get tough, and Sandra and Mike look forward to spending their days participating in Bug's favorite activities; going for car rides, taking trips to PetSmart and sporting his little doggie life jacket for swimming and boating.


"The two best dogs we have ever had were both rescue animals. We would like to help spread the word that adopting an animal from the shelter can be such a rewarding thing to do; for the animal and for the family taking them home. We could not love this little guy more and we are so thankful that we could give him a very happy puppy life."
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Movin' and Shakin': Winston's Story!

The ARL takes in hundreds of litters of kittens each year; caring for them and preparing each one for their new home, and we love to hear about them as they grow up!. Winston, a small orange tabby kitten, was one such kitten. His adoption story begins with a recent college graduate, Maggie, who wandered into ARL South one day looking for an orange tabby kitten. It was just her luck that there was an entire litter of furry orange kittens that day! Winston and his outgoing, playful attitude immediately captured Maggie, so she decided to take him home.

Maggie had recently moved to Des Moines to start a new job, but when Winston entered the picture, she made the decision to postpone her start date so that she could stay home with him and make sure he was comfortable in his new home. The months passed by and Winston and Maggie lived a happy life together. After a year had passed, Maggie found out she needed to move again, this time to Iowa City. She moved in with a friend of hers, who unfortunately happened to be allergic to cats. Refusing to give Winston up, Maggie asked her parents to take him in until she could find a place of her own. Winston ended up living with Maggie's parents for five months, and the separation was unbearable. But finally, the long-awaited moment came when Maggie and Winston could be reunited in a home of their own yet again!

"I'm very happy that I picked Winston and couldn't imagine having a different cat!"
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Not Lost for Long!

Need more proof that the ARL's partnership with the Iowa Lost & Found Pet Alert is helping to save lives? Check out this story! During a recent play date, two dogs became loose from their guardians and couldn't be found anywhere. The guardians quickly went to and posted descriptions of their lost dogs and the location they were last seen.

Later that day, a man brought two stray dogs to the ARL that had tried to cross the road in front of his car. After looking the dogs over, our staff checked and found the lost dogs listed! We quickly called the dog's guardians and the families were reunited!

Both dogs were able to sleep in their own homes thanks to the ARL and!
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The Perfect Pair: Bear and Sabrina

In 2009, an 8 month old Black Lab was adopted from the ARL into a great home. His family named him Bear and although he experienced some pain due to a lack of muscle and an old vertebrae injury, he overcame his physical hardships and enjoyed playing with his family and his Golden Retriever roommate!

In 2010, with heavy hearts, the family had to put down their Golden Retriever. They knew they wanted another dog, but decided to look outside of the Golden Retriever breed because they knew that none of them could ever compare to their beloved pet. So earlier this year, the family decided that they wanted to adopt another dog, and were leaning toward a German Shepard they found at the ARL.

Unfortunately, none of the dogs, including the German Shepard, 'clicked' with their family and lifestyle. That's when they spotted a Lab mix dog that was determined to get their attention.

The family took her outside to play, and then into the hug room where they sat on the floor. The Lab mix dog immediately laid down beside them and put her paw in their lap. The family had decided that she had chosen them.

The dog was quickly adopted and named Sabrina. After spending more time with her, they now believe Sabrina actually does have some Golden Retriever in that "Lab mix" part of her after all! No matter what though, Sabrina was perfect for them.

Today, Sabrina is working hard on her basic skills with help from Bear. The two are best of friends and love to play together -- it looks like these two ARL Alums were meant for each other!

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Lilla's Happy Ending

Lilla, a Pomeranian puppy, came to the ARL because her previous owner could no longer care for her. Lilla was quickly put into a foster home and was introduced to a family friend of her foster parents. They immediately fell in love with Lilla and soon decided to give her a forever home!

Less than a month after being adopted, she was sitting and laying down on command and had also reached her ideal weight! Lilla now loves getting attention from anyone she meets and LOVES to be outside. She spends a lot of her time just sitting and watching traffic, walkers, runners, and the kids at the daycare across the street. Best of all, she never barks at anyone!

Here is what Lilla's family had to say about her:

"We cannot believe the happiness she has brought into our home; we are a family once again after 8 years without the love of a rescue dog. Life is good. Thanks to the ARL for your commitment to finding good homes for good dogs."
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From Puppy Mill to Perfect Life!

Benny was rescued from a puppy mill and brought to the ARL in bad condition. He had been stuck in a tiny cage with no human interaction and he was dirty and flea ridden.

After being cleaned up at the ARL, Benny was still a very scared puppy. He would lie on the floor too scared to even move. That's when Benny was spotted by an active volunteer who immediately opened her home to him as a foster puppy.

At first, Benny was too timid to do much of anything. He was too afraid to look out the glass patio doors and much too scared to be picked up. So, his guardian patiently sat on the floor with Benny until he was comfortable enough to sit in her lap - what a big step!

Then the day came when it was time to take Benny outside to the backyard for the first time. He was scared, but his guardian would hold him and walk around in the yard. Eventually, Benny became brave enough to stand in the grass (something he had never seen or touched before)!

After showing him much love and patience, today Benny is a happy, confident puppy and has been adopted into his forever home! Benny now loves to cuddle, take naps and play outside with his two sister dogs. His favorite hobbies are to chase squirrels and carry around sticks!

Benny is living the perfect life in his forever home where he can feel safe and loved and will never have to be scared again!
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Zeus' Mighty Struggle!

In the summer of 2011, Zeus was found in a plastic bag on the side of the road with two of his brothers. They were in very poor shape, but luckily they were picked up and brought to the ARL to be cleaned and checked over by the medical and behavioral staff.

When the kitties were almost ready for adoption, Zeus was featured on the ARL Facebook page with a description about where he was found and what he and his brothers had been through. A local family saw this post and had been thinking about getting a cat, but could never seem to find the right fit... until they saw Zeus.

As soon as Zeus was available for adoption, the family ran to the ARL and gave him a forever home!

Zeus is now living a great life with his guardians and their two other cats!
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Foster Fun: Smudge's Story!

When Smudge first came into the ARL, she was a completely un-socialized and scared kitty. The staff decided that the best course of action would be putting her in a caring foster home.

When foster homes have other cats, it is encouraged that the guardians put up baby gates to keep the cats from interacting at first. Smudge's foster home had another cat named Blue, who was very curious about Smudge when they brought him home. One day, the two cats started to interact through the gate that was put up to separate them. They slowly got to know each other and soon enough, Blue decided to jump the gate and meet Smudge face to face.

From that day on, the two ran and played with each other and even shared toys--an ideal foster situation!

This progress was welcomed because Smudge was a clingy lap cat, but when she made a new friend her personality grew bigger everyday! No longer scared, Smudge became socialized by leaps and bounds!

Her foster family had this great story about her stay:

"At one point, it had been about 20 minutes and I hadn't seen or heard from either of them, which made me highly suspicious. I found the two of them under the bed playing in the plastic bins where I keep my boots.... there were boots EVERYWHERE. When I looked underneath, there were two sets of eyes staring out at me. If they had fingers, I think they would have pointed at each other!"

Smudge has since been adopted into her forever home and is doing very well! If you are interested in making a HUGE difference in the life of an animal in need, please consider fostering through the ARL. A temporary commitment on your part will mean the world to one lucky animal and foster homes are needed now more than ever! For more information, click here!
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Superstar Beau!

Beau the Beagle mix was adopted from the ARL in 2004. Last summer, his guardian suffered a heart attack while working out on the family farm.

Thankfully, he was found and treated soon enough that he didn't suffer any damage. Soon after, the Iowa Heart Center decided to use his story in a commercial, which included the entire family. Beau stole the spotlight! He was very calm and well behaved throughout the entire commercial.

Since then, Beau has been helping out on the family farm by herding cattle. At night when all the work is done, he likes to hang out with his best friend Laney, who is a Pomeranian.

Here's what his family had to say about Beau: "Beau is a huge part of our family. We could not have asked for a better dog."
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Good Times for Gabby!

In October of 2011, 18 horses had been found neglected by their owner in Guthrie County. It was the fourth time in just a year that the ARL had been called in to help with yet another case of poorly cared for horses.

Out of those 18 horses was a yearling named Gabby who was sick and scared. She had been living on the 8 acres of land without food or veterinary care for a very long time.After Gabby had been nursed back to health by the staff at the ARL, she was put into a foster home. Her foster home loved her so much that they decided to adopt her and give her a forever home!

Here's what her family had to say about her progress:"She is doing great, definitely acts like a yearling, but she is happy, happy, happy. As you can see, she is still best friends with my mare. She was left home alone for the first time a couple of weeks ago when we took the horses to Ames for a saddle fitting. We were worried about her, but we came home to a sweaty, yet calm, little girl!"
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One Smart Pup!

Have you ever felt like your dog is the smartest dog ever? According to Ashton's family, he is!

After being adopted from the ARL, Ashton quickly made himself comfortable in his new forever home. This included making new friends in his neighborhood and becoming a well-behaved puppy. After his family worked with him for only a half hour, Ashton learned the verbal commands for sit, lay, sit up, drop and come! It only took him five tries to learn how to shake, and just six to learn to roll over!

Here's what his new family had to say about him: "We want to thank you for letting us adopt this extremely smart, loving and energetic puppy!"
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A Special Home for a Special Guinea Pig

Sometimes, the animals in our adoption areas are overlooked because of their breed and age, while other times it might be because of their color or special needs. Regardless of why they may spend more time at the ARL than a similar animal, we firmly believe that as you walk the adoption halls, every single pet in every single room or cage deserves a loving home that can provide basic needs and care.

For Tia, the small, blind Guinea Pig, it was going to take a special family to give her the life she deserved. We knew Tia was likely blind, but we also knew she loved attention and would make a great pet for a family who could understand her needs. What she found was just that, and her adopter sent us this note about Tia in her new home:

"Tia has been an absolute loving and wonderful new addition to my family and I love her to death. She gets along great with her pal Gizmo, too! I just wanted to say thank you for all you do and your amazing love for animals. My daughter now has her heart set on adopting a hamster from the ARL within the next month! Thanks again!"

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The Gift of Family: Ozzie's Story

What could possibly be a better gift than the gift of adoption!? For one special little girl's 9th birthday, she received a beautiful Basenji mix named Ozzie--and Ozzie received a warm, loving home.

Ozzie was so excited to finally have a home that he constantly ran around to make sure everyone he now loved was still around! Ozzie's owners may have found his newly discovered rambunctious attitude only a little bit exhausting. So, after a little bit of searching, they discovered the a wonderful solution, the calming collar found in the Animal House Store.

Now a little calmer, but just as loving, Ozzie has become one little girl's best friend. His guardian sent us this update:

"He has always been such a sweet little boy who gives lots of loves. He does this thing when he meets someone new and when you come home and he sees you again. You have to lean down and let him smell your face, hair, and ears. Then he gives you the most wonderful hug. We are so happy that we have found this calming collar because now he is the dream dog we went looking for. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH ARL!!!! We are so much in love with Ozzie and couldn't imagine living our lives without him."

It seems as if this birthday present turned into a gift for the entire family!
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The Lucky Three: A Story of Survival

It was a day that Iowan's fear, when the skies suddenly darkened, the clouds opened, and a tornado made its way to the ground in rural Sac County. When the dust settled, a man discovered a mama cat and her six kittens on his farm, but sadly only three of the kittens had survived the storm. Unable to bottle-feed and care for the lucky three, he drove the two hours to the Animal Rescue League of Iowa (ARL) in Des Moines that very day so they could have the chance at a new life that their mama and three siblings would not have.

Archer, Diza, and Tandy, as the kittens were soon known, spent the next several weeks at the ARL being nursed back to health by our talented medical team. When the day finally came that they were ready for adoption, they were spayed/neutered, microchipped, vaccinated, and placed in adoption. But the journey wasn't over for these three.

Over the next several days, they waited for the right family to choose them. Archer was the first to go home, exactly two months after he and his sisters were brought to the ARL. It took another 9 days for Diza and Tandy to be adopted, but it was worth the wait because when their new family laid eyes on them, they decided to adopt them both!

The three kittens made it through all odds, and are now prospering; living happy and healthy in their forever homes.
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Finding True Love: Stella's Story

Stella, like many kittens who find themselves at the ARL, was picked up as a stray by an Animal Control Officer in the cold of January earlier this year. She was just 4 months old but luckily, seemed fairly healthy considering the conditions she was found in. After waiting her stray hold time, she had her spay surgery and entered the adoption kennel to await her forever home.

It was later that same day when her future adopter ventured to the ARL to take a peek at a fluffy white kitten she had seen on the ARL website. Her fiancé had been keeping an eye out for a white kitten and they were sure this one would be theirs. However, after playing with the little white kitten, they decided they wanted a slightly older cat, one with just a little less of that kitten energy and playfulness! That's when they saw Stella, a precious grey kitty who, still under the influence of her anesthesia from surgery, was purring like crazy! They decided to see her again the next day (since she was fresh out of surgery, no visits were allowed) and when they came back, they fell in love and decided to take Stella home!

This is when the hard part began. Stella was the couple's second cat, and their resident cat, Kibby, tended to be somewhat of a D*I*V*A. After talking through the cat introduction process with ARL Staff, they knew that a solid introduction of the two cats would be key in EVERYONE'S happiness. So, they took their time, followed instructions on how to patiently introduce cats, and after a month the two cats were living peacefully together. (Side note: We can't stress enough how important this slow introduction process is! A bad first impression can last a lifetime, so make sure to ask how to properly introduce your new cat!)

"Stella is the funniest cat I know. She is very vocal and isn't afraid to tell you when she needs some attention! Her nickname is "Monkey" because of her fondness of climbing, and she is a lover of all things, ESPECIALLY treats. We couldn't be happier with her, she has been a joyful addition to our lives!"
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A Lov-A-Bull Family: Bandit and Clyde

Sometimes, one Lov-A-Bull is just not enough! One adopter found this out after adopting her first Lov-A-Bull from the ARL in June of 2011 from a litter of 8 week old puppies. She and her son named him Bandit, and it seemed that for this family, life just couldn't get much better. That is, until one day, Bandit's owner was looking at the ARL Pit Crew's Facebook page, who had posted a photo of a Lov-A-Bull that was about the same age as Bandit. His name was Clyde, and he had been adopted approximately a year earlier, but had recently come back to the ARL because his owner could no longer take care of him.

The story tugged at Bandit's owner's heartstrings, so she decided to look into Clyde's story a little bit further. Upon learning more about Clyde's background, she found out that Bandit and Clyde were siblings, and quickly decided that the two should be reunited.

The potential adopter set up a meet-and-greet so that Bandit and Clyde could get re-acquainted. It was no surprise that the two Lov-A-Bulls took to each other instantly, and soon enough, Clyde was able to go with his brother to his forever home!

"Both the dogs and my son and I have never been happier. They both bring us so much joy. Almost a year later, both boys are back together and thick as thieves."
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Bonnie's Senior Success

Bonnie came to the ARL after her owner had passed away. Bonnie was 10 years old, very overweight and painfully shy. We knew right away that she would need to be in a foster home until she was adopted.

What better place to be fostered than in the ARL office?! For several weeks, Bonnie was too frightened to leave the ARL staffperson's office and too shy to really meet anyone new.

A potential adopter had come to meet her and was deciding if she would be a good fit for her already full home. That's when an e-mail just like this one came across her inbox featuring Bonnie. She took that as a sign and decided to adopt her!

Shortly after, her new owner sent us an update: "Bonnie is getting settled in nicely! She's gotten comfortable very quickly. She stayed under the bed for the first 24 hours, but then I moved her towel and lamb to the sofa in the room where she's staying and now she hangs out there. She's a very loving cat and doesn't mind being held like I thought she did. I am enjoying her so much!"

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Dozer's Happy Tail!

Dozer is a dog that for most, needs no introduction because so many people have been rooting for him the past few months.

He arrived to the ARL several months ago and as all of the dogs around him were being adopted, Dozer was overlooked. The ARL staff and volunteers took him on TV and radio, promoted him in the newspaper and online, yet still, no one adopted Dozer.

He quickly became a volunteer and staff favorite, initially because of his kind demeanor and playful spirit, but then gained more and more attention from the public because of how long he had been in adoption without a family of his own. No one could figure out why. Thanksgiving had come and gone and Dozer spent it at the shelter.

Christmas was approaching and Dozer began to deteriorate. You see, some animals do not do well in a kennel day in and day out; some need a family more quickly than others and Dozer had waited as long as he could.

The ARL behavior and medical staff were growing concerned and Dozer began losing weight and his anxiety increased. Time was of the essence to find Dozer a home.

But then, on December 11, a family came into ARL Main looking for a dog and there was Dozer. The young kids had a choice between a puppy and Dozer, but the kids wanted Dozer.

News quickly spread of Dozer's adoption and everyone celebrated in his happy ending. Having read his over 200 well wishes on Facebook, his new owner posted some photos and this note to all of his fans:

"I wanted to say thank you. We were overwhelmed to read all your lovely comments for Dozer and I read them all to him. He is our first dog and we believe he truly is the best dog in the world and love him so much. What an amazing caring community you all are, sending you many many blessings in return for your kindness and prayers. A huge thank you to the ARL, it was clear he was loved very much while he was there."
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From Foster Home to Forever Home

The ARL's vast network of foster families plays a major role in our ability to save more lives! Foster parents may provide temporary housing to animals for a few days, or for several months, and sometimes, foster homes turn into forever homes. For one foster, the bond she felt with her foster cats was so strong that she decided to adopt them.

This foster parent became a "cat person" when her son passed away and left her his three feline companions. She fell in love, and was devastated when one of them became ill and she had to make the tough decision to end his suffering. Not long after that happened, she decided to start fostering cats through the ARL's Shelter Cat Getaway program. One cat in particular, five year old Precious, caught her attention with his loving demeanor. He also got along well with her two cats so she decided to make Precious a permanent member of the family!

A few months later, she took in another Shelter Cat Getaway kitty named Grace. Grace was about a year old and she seemed to really enjoy Precious' company; she followed him around everywhere hoping for a chance to play, but always ready to snuggle. Although the foster mom had not planned to adopt another cat, she couldn't bear to separate the two, so just like Precious, Grace became a permanent member of the family!

Precious, Grace and the two resident cats are now living a great life together. Precious enjoys relaxing with his people and getting petted, and Grace continues to be an active young gal who always puts a smile on her family's faces!

"I'm grateful to the ARL for giving Precious and Grace a chance for a forever home, and I'm very lucky that forever home turned out to be mine."
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What a Year 2012 Was for the ARL!

As we forge ahead with plans for 2013, we would be remiss if we didn't first look back at the great victories for animals in 2012. Here's just some of the things we accomplished:

•2012 started out with a rescue of 88 dogs from deplorable conditions in Sac County.
•Over 717 owned cats, 190 owned dogs, and 77 owned Pit Bull Terriers were spayed/neutered, microchipped and rabies vaccinated for FREE through the CatSnip, DogSnip and PitStop programs (spay/neuter assistance programs for people in need).
•Over 2,000 volunteers dedicated their time and talents for the animals.
•Over 17,199 animals found a safe-haven through the doors of the ARL.
•The Shelter Cat Getaway program helped place 163 cats into their forever homes while giving them a break from the shelter.
•The ARL was awarded Best Non-Profit, Best Local Website, Best Facebook Fan Page & Best Do Good-er by Cityview for 2012.
•The ARL was awarded the Business Record's "Best Non-Profit" award.
•The ARL partnered with the Pet Project Midwest to launch, a lost and found pet search for all of Iowa.
•ARL behavior specialists published For Love of Dogs and For Love of Cats, the first books to be published by an animal shelter.
•Animal House, the ARL's retail store, started carrying BOGO Bowl dog food. For each bag purchased, BOGO Bowl donates one back to the dogs at the ARL.
•ARL adoptable pets were featured in a national DIY Magazine.
•The ARL was honored with a prestigious 2012 Top-Rated Award by GreatNonprofits, the leading provider of user reviews about nonprofit organizations.
•We launched a new website and new mobile apps.
•Fundraising began for a new horse arena with plans to break ground in 2013.
•We adopted cats and dogs at a free or reduced rate to 114 senior citizens through the Pets for Seniors and Pets for the Elderly programs.
•In August, the ARL celebrated our 86th Birthday!
•84 dogs and cats were adopted during our 2nd "Fall in...LOVE! Adopt-A-Thon".
•The Award-A-Bull program, in partnership with the national Animal Farm Foundation, awards the ARL with $150 for every "pit bull" who receives their AKC Canine Good Citizen (CGC) accreditation. 12 Lov-a-Bulls completed the difficult, 10 point test in 2012 to receive their CGC!
•Our 4 "Adoption Partners" (South Des Moines Veterinary Clinic, Jett & Monkey, Brown Dog Bakery, & Grand Avenue Veterinary Hospital) adopted out 109 cats and dogs at their locations.
•In November, the ARL assisted in rescuing 6 horses from Union County.
•Peaches, an adorable little filly, was born at the ARL (her mom was from Union County rescue).
•The ARL was one of 10 shelters in the country chosen to implement the Pets for Life program, a program dedicated to bringing pet help resources to areas of need in Des Moines.
•The TLC Foster program expanded immensely with over 229 foster families in 2012.
•Thanks to our tremendous adoption partners and foster homes, we were able to care for a record number of animals through the month of June. Over 1,000 animals were in our care at once.
•The month of August broke our previous records with 812 lives saved.
•Our daily adoption record was broken on Sunday, August 19th with a total of 52 adoptions.
•We started 3 new annual fundraising events: The Doxie Dash, PetCasso and the Alumni Pawty.
•The Raise Your Paw Auction, presented by Adventureland, celebrated its 20th year (as did ARL Executive Director, Tom Colvin).
Dinozo was named Grand Marshall of the Angie Anderson Memorial Dog Walk.
•Tia Torres, star of the hit TV show "Pit Bulls & Parolees," spoke to a sold-out crowd at the ARL in March as a part of a conservation series with the Blank Park Zoo.
•The ARL Running Club was formed.
•We had many memorable adoptions; Dawn (dog), Picasso (cat), Leda (dog) and Shaggy (horse) to name a few!

We hope this list makes you a proud supporter of the ARL, and we urge you to continue your support and help us do even greater things in 2013!
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The Many Rewards of Fostering!

For one foster parent, it wasn't easy letting go when her foster kitty, Dexter, got adopted. Months later, she found that it was all worth it when Dexter's new family sent her an update. Dexter had adapted very well to his new home, and even found a best friend in his new family's young son. Dexter's parents sent a few photos of him enjoying his new life. "I really missed him," said Dexter's foster mom, "but getting these pictures really warmed my heart and made it all worth it."

"As hard as it was letting him go to a new family, I'm glad I did it." After Dexter got adopted into his forever home, his foster mom was able to take in another special cat that needed a break from the shelter. "We don't always get to see our foster kids in their forever home, but in this case I can see how happy Dexter is and glad that he has a little buddy with just as much energy as he has to share his life with."

Are you interested in becoming a foster for the ARL? To learn how, click here!
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Patience, Kindness and Lots of Love!

For some shelter pets, the transition into a forever home can take a little time. When one family made the decision to bring a dog into their home, they found this out first hand. In the fall of 2011, this family visited the ARL with the intention of giving one lucky dog a home of its own. Having adopted a cat, Winston, from the ARL two years prior, they figured this adoption would be just like the last; a breeze. When they came across a senior Beagle named Frank, they knew that he was the perfect fit for their family.

They took Frank home and quickly realized that they were in for a challenge. He was shy and unsure of the humans that he now shared a home with. He slept all the time and rarely even got up to eat! For many weeks, he remained skittish and doubtful. Weeks turned into months, and Frank continued to be somewhat un-trusting of his new family. His adopters' hearts were breaking, but they knew there was only one thing to do: give him all the love that they could and hope that one day he'd come around.

Nearly a year after finding his forever home, the day finally came when Frank accepted his status as a pampered pooch. He now embraces his loving family and returns the endless kindness they have shown him. He and his best friend Winston can often be found sharing his favorite arm chair.


"He's no longer skittish, and he gobbles his food without hesitation. He's still not the cuddliest dog, but he has learned to trust us completely. He certainly enjoys leading a laid-back life in front of the fireplace!" Back to top.

A Fairytale Ending! 

At the ARL, we believe that all animals should be treated like royalty. Pumpkin, a beautiful white kitty adopted from ARL West in 2011, found his happily ever after with a wonderful family after spending four months at the ARL. Now, just 2 years later, he is living a life fit for a king. With the constant companionship of his human family and his new feline brother and sister, Pumpkin fits right into the life that he has always dreamed of! His daily activities include being carried around everywhere and sleeping in his guardian's bed. He also loves to give kisses and has been a great help in teaching children the responsibility associated with being a pet guardian. Pumpkin has also helped to teach this family that when you adopt a pet, he/she will be your companion for LIFE! Pumpkin seems very happy in his forever home! Back to top.

Zeus and Athena Want to Know...

We dare you to resist this Ador-A-Bull pair! Zeus and Athena were adopted from the ARL at separate times and have bonded beautifully with one another in their forever home. We receive updates from their "mom" regularly and they often come back to visit us and show us new tricks they have learned (knowing that our retail store, Animal House, always has delicious treats waiting for them)!

From Zeus, Athena, and all of us at the ARL, Happy Valentine's Day! We encourage you to devote a little extra attention to your pets on this special holiday - and we will make sure to do the same for the hundreds of animals in our care! Back to top.


Bella Banana Earns Her Name!

You might be surprised to hear how many people think we only care for dogs and cats here at the ARL. Little do they know, we can have turtles, chickens, horses, rabbits, birds and even the occasional iguana in our care at any given time! Although those types of animals may be fewer in numbers, they mean just as much to us and we love to hear about them as they make a name for themselves in their forever homes.

One lucky pet who has done just that is Bella Banana (formerly known as Nellie). Bella was adopted from ARL South (inside Southridge Mall) early in 2011 as a sweet young rabbit. At the time of her adoption, she had already spent 6 months at the ARL, waiting for that perfect family to fall in love with her. Bella's family changed her name, and soon adorned her with the middle name of "Banana" thanks to her love for a bite of banana. Her family told us, "We could tell she was spoiled by the staff at ARL South because she would pout if she didn't get her morning head and ear caresses. Initially she was as stiff as a board when held but is now relaxed and comfortable in our arms."

"With time she has become much more relaxed. She will even let me lay her on her back on my lap to trim her nails. Every morning she rattles her hutch door along with the rest of the bunny family anxious for her greens and carrots, and to be let out to run around."

The wait to find her forever home may have been a little long, but we are so happy for Bella Banana and her lucky family! Back to top.

Love At First Sight

Almost every day we have visitors walk into our locations with no intention of adopting a pet; they just come to visit with the animals, drop off donations or shop in our Retail Store, Animal House. Many times, those same people end up walking out with a new best friend. As you know, we can go on and on about the benefits of adoption for both you and the animals in our care, and about the very special relationship formed from a human-animal bond. But, we would rather you hear it first-hand from excited adopters! In the case of Mila, she found that the most meaningful pet-guardian relationships begin unexpectedly.

Mila (previously Pickles) was just recently adopted from the ARL early last month. When her new "mom" walked into ARL West, she proclaimed that it was, "love at first sight." Mila's new guardian came to us on a whim, browsing ARL West without really having considered bringing home another pet (she already had one cat at home). Yet when she met Mila, she knew it was meant to be. After catching her eye, the first thing Mila did was give her a kiss and let her rub her tummy. Even though her new guardian had no intention of adopting a pet that day, the connection between her and Mila was too strong to pass up.

Now in her new home, Mila has fit into the household like she was always meant to be there. She is best friends with new roommate, Percy, and purrs constantly!

Congratulations to beautiful Mila and her new family! Your story helps us all to remember the amazing strength of the human-animal bond, and how sometimes, it just cannot be ignored! Back to top.

The Training of Scout

We all have different personality types, and sometimes we forget that animals also vary in temperament and character. Like all of us, if pets don't learn the difference between "right" and "wrong," they'll often form bad habits. Many pets in our care have been through positive reinforcement training classes with previous owners or from devoted volunteers while at the ARL.

For Scout, a 4 month German Shepherd mix adopted from the ARL in 2011, her somewhat wild nature intimidated a few visitors looking to adopt a puppy. When perspective owners would visit her, they were advised about her energetic nature and the need for training classes. Thankfully, her adopters were up for the challenge. Being "experienced" dog guardians, they knew a thing or two about dog training, but never in their wildest dreams did they expect potty training a puppy to be as difficult as it was for Scout!

After attending the Puppy Kindergarten classes at the ARL, they saw great progress could be made through dedicated training. The best solution they found to calm Scout down was through exercise, such as long walks around the block and playing fetch with her new family.

Her adopters told us, "She is the most adorable, lovable, clever, energetic dog anyone could hope for, even if we found out we weren't half the 'experienced dog owners' we thought we were!" Congratulations to Scout and your lucky family! Your story shows that with love, energy, and dedication, training and behavior obstacles can be overcome! Back to top.

A Bundle of Fun: Harley Meets His Match!

When Harley was adopted from the ARL, his new guardian thought he was probably a Beagle/Lab mix, maybe with some Basenji or American Pit Bull Terrier mixed in too. What she found, was that the breed or mix made no difference in how she felt about Harley - he turned out to be a great dog and companion! He loves to play with toys, and consistently has 10 to 15 toys scattered around the house, always playing with at least one! He loves balls, especially squeaky tennis balls and he also loves to run outside - he's quite fast!


Harley's adopter told us, "Rescuing Harley is the best thing I've ever done. I moved 2 hours away from my hometown a few years ago, and adopted him about 6 months after the move. Now, I can't imagine my life without him - he is my family away from home! I talk to my mom often, and she always asks me to visit because she misses Harley. I think she misses him after visits more than she misses me!" Back to top.

A Home for Beulah!

Found abandoned in the woods, struggling to survive, Beulah the Bloodhound Mix was thankfully rescued by the Animal Rescue League and adopted by her new family in 2011. While Beulah was in our care, we discovered that she had severe food allergies, so she really was rescued just in the nick of time - before she could have had a life-threatening allergic reaction. For a dog who was put through this terrible scenario, alone and starving in the woods, Beulah has a sweet, puppy-like temperament and her guardians describe her as a dog that "loves EVERYTHING!"

Now in her safe, forever home, Beulah's true colors have began to show through. Her family believes that they could not have asked for a sweeter dog! Beulah attends doggy daycare twice a week where she has made many friends, both canine and human. Beulah is extremely social. She knows how to take the cues other dogs send when indicating that she's being too rough and will lay down to let them know she isn't intimidating. She'll play with anyone and anything - even bugs! She's great with kids and she is patient with those who may be a tad nervous around dogs.

Congratulations to Beulah and her loving family! We're glad that such a great dog was found, healed, and is now on her way to a great life in a forever home! Back to top.




Jackson & Galaxy Find the Perfect Fit!

Some of you may remember two very special cats that were adopted from the ARL not too long ago; Jackson and Galaxy. These two kitties came to us very unsocialized and spent a few months in our Shelter Cat Getaway foster program – a program that gives adoptable cats a “vacation” from the shelter. Their foster parents worked with them a great deal, building up their confidence and reducing their shyness, getting them ready for their forever homes. Recently, their new family sent us an update...


“We just wanted to let you know that both Jackson and Galaxy have come so far in the past few weeks, and are both doing great! We couldn't be happier with the kittens we adopted from you. Thank you again so much for taking such great care of them until they could come home with us.

Jackson has taken to sleeping next to me every night, and some mornings he likes to help our alarm clocks wake us up. We have gotten Galaxy to purr a few times, but mostly we get satisfied grunts out of him! He is still a bit more skiddish, but when he wants, he comes around to get some loving. We found a feather toy that fills many of the evening hours with fun. Sometimes they will even play hide and seek with it. As soon as we put it away, Jackson hunts for it!

We wanted to let you know how well they are both doing. They have made us so happy!” Back to Top.


The Gift of Love for Lucky

Lucky was adopted into her forever home as a Valentine's Day gift for their daughter. Although they knew that a kitty would bring her more joy than a card or a box of chocolates, they did not know how much love they would receive in return from Lucky.

Adopted from the Ankeny Petsmart ARL, Lucky gave her new guardians a big embrace the second they met her, jumping on their shoulders and purring happily. Since then, she fits right in with her new family and makes a point to snuggle and show affection every day. She won over their hearts with her sweet, outgoing personality. Her family claims that, "she even makes those who don't like cats, like her!" Congratulations to Lucky, and her "lucky" family! Back to Top.

Gaining Toby's Trust

Toby, a rat terrier mix, had a welcome home party that began with a bang - literally! The night that he was adopted from the ARL, a bad storm blew through town, leaving his new home powerless and without electricity for a whole week. Yet to his new owner's relief, Toby was tough and not afraid of a little thunder and lightning.

A little untrusting at first, due to mistreatment from a previous owner, Toby has really opened up to his new owners by showing his love with obedience and kisses. He has gotten over his shyness and will even jump on his owners' laps when wanting to cuddle.

Since coming to his new home, Toby has toughed it out through a Grade 3 heart murmur and has even learned to face his greatest fear - the car. He loves to "sing" along to the radio, run around a local park, and snuggle with his owners on the couch every day. His owners describe him as having a "mind of his own," never doing what they expect and always making them laugh! Back to Top.

A New Home For Chuck!

Chuck, the 3 year old Labrador, was adopted from the ARL when he was only 10 months old. In his previous family, he was well loved and socialized - making him ready for his adoption into his new home. Shy and reserved at first, he soon opened up to his new family and began to form the everlasting bond that occurs between a dog and his/her "people".

One activity that brought Chuck and his family closer together was by enrolling in ARL training classes. After his adoption, his guardians soon learned that he had severe separation anxiety when they came home to find a chunk of their brand new mattress torn apart! From then on, Chuck's family dedicated time to gain his trust and show him the support he needed to feel comfortable in his new home.

Chuck's guardians describe him as the "smartest dog we've ever known," and he's even coined the term of "escape artis"t for his knack of squeezing out of his crate when no one's looking. He loves to play Frisbee, run around the dog park, swim, and LOVES having his tummy rubbed. He makes friends with everyone he meets and will play fetch with anything. His owners say, "We're so glad we adopted him!" Back to Top.

Socializing Sophie

Once known as one of the "shy" dogs at the ARL, Sophie the Beagle mix (previously named Orchid) only needed a new home and a loving family to open up and share her true social, energetic personality! Before joining her new family, it was advised to adopters that she was a dog that needed "gentle, patient people that would show her that the world is not a scary place." Little did her new family know that all it took was some TLC before she overcame her quiet tendencies and showed her true colors!

Her new guardians soon found that it only took about 5 minutes in a new home for Sophie to figure out that the world, indeed, is not a scary place. Also in her family are two 100+ pound rescue dogs and Sophie immediately established herself as the "queen" of the house, not intimidated by their big size or their big barks!

Her new home is in the country with a pond, and her family told us that she absolutely LOVES to swim. With the help of her new family - both the people and the pets - Sophie has begun to learn more and more about the true meaning of friendship and family. SUCCESS! Back to Top.

Good News For Gary!

Sometimes, adopters travel far and wide for the pets they hope to bring home with them. In the case of Gary the Guinea Pig, his new family traveled all the way from Kansas to adopt him into their Guinea-friendly house! Just a few weeks ago, we received an update from Gary's adopters, saying he was a great traveler, and has found his place perfectly within his new family.

"On the ride home, Gary almost immediately he took to the hay provided and then later napped in his blankie for the remainder of the drive. The very next day we introduced him to Genofeve (our other Guinea Pig) and immediately they fell in love. They are nearly inseparable and Gary just loves to talk constantly. We've been introducing organic greens and bananas to his diet, and last week it was carrots and celery. He loves his new home very much. Thank you all for making this adoption possible!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.

Maxwell and Morris: The Perfect Pair!

Maxwell and Morris were adopted from the Animal Rescue League in 2012 as two kittens from the same litter. Since their adoption, they have been living a charmed life with their family! They enjoy bird watching and socializing with visitors, and also finished third place in the Kittens USA Magazine's annual "Cuddly Kittens" contest. Their picture was published in an issue of the magazine!

Their adopter told us, "They are now over one year old, but we still refer to them as our “kiddens.” Maxwell and Morris love to scrap and play with each other, and at night, they sleep in our bed on the pillows with us. Thanks ARL for our famous kittens!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.


Freedom and Love for Missy!

Missy, an adorable Shih Tzu puppy grew up in a small, confined kennel until she was brought to the ARL at the age of 1 1/2. She was not house-broken, had never walked on a leash, and was very shy. After being adopted into a wonderful home and shown a lot of love and TLC, Missy now rules the house and loves to be with her people! Recently, her family sent us an update on how Missy is doing with her new "nephew".

"In January of this year, Missy and I flew to San Francisco to meet my grandson. I wasn't sure how she might be around a baby, since I have no children in my home, but she absolutely loved him and was quite motherly toward him! While I was assisting my son-in-law with the preparation of dinner, I happened to look around the corner and here she was sitting with his pacifier in her mouth and his toy next to her! When Jackson started to cry in the other room, she picked up the toy and took it into my daughter.

Missy and I are certainly enjoying each others company and look forward to many years together." SUCCESS! Back to Top.

Showtime for WIlbur!

The ARL Rescue Ranch has adopted out numerous horses, pigs, goats and other barnyard animals since it started. One lucky ARL Alumni horse, Wilbur, now lives the life of a champion after being adopted into a loving family.


Recently, Wilbur's family told us that he had just completed his first schooling horse trial (a 3 day event) in Kansas, where he placed 5th out of 11! This is what they said, "This was Wilbur and I's first horse trial and it was very well. His dressage score was right in the mix of everyone and after a double clear in both stadium and cross country we ended up moving from tied to 8th to 5th out of 11. The group we competed against was very seasoned and I couldn't have been happier with Wilbur. Everyone loved him and he has definitely found his calling in eventing--he loves cross country! He is just the best!" SUCCESS! Back to top.

Foster Leads to Forever...

Sometimes, our devoted foster homes are the best publicists for the pets in our care. In the case of Milli, it was her foster home that lead her to her forever home!

Milli's foster family has been temporarily taking care of ARL pets for the last four years. They have fostered almost 100 pets during that time (what an accomplishment!) and Milli was the first one to be adopted by her foster family's good friends. Milli's new family drove 2 hours to meet her after her foster family called to talk about her. After spending about 3 weeks in her temporary home, her foster family knew she was just the dog for some family friends of theirs, and sure enough, they thought so too!

Congratulations to Milli and her new family, and thank you to her foster home for playing match-maker! SUCCESS! Back to top.

A Loving Family For Chloe

Chloe, a 12 year old Persian kitty was adopted from the ARL's Main location in April of this year. While she was here, we discovered that she had pretty severe allergies and would need to find a family that understood her needs.


Her family recently sent us an update, and said her allergies are under control and that she is doing great in her new home! "Since her adoption, we changed the litter to hypoallergenic, food to gluten free and limited ingredients, and she also gets bottled water. She shares our home with three other cats. She is so loving and happy. We are so happy we found each other!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.

Pachanga Struts Her Stuff!

Pachanga (previously named Chocolate) was adopted from the ARL in the winter of 2011 and her adopters recently sent us an exciting update!

"She took to the game of polo right away and loves the sport! Just last week (only a year after starting her polo career) she earned the Best Playing Pony award at the Twin City Polo Classic benefit game in front of a large crowd of thousands. She also helped my husband earn the MVP award. We love her dearly and people can’t believe she came from the ARL!" SUCCESS!. Back to Top.

A Special Valentine for Maizy Rae!

On Valentine's Day this year, a special family visited the ARL in hopes of finding a new kitty to love. They carefully searched the adoption kennels and met with a few cats, but did not feel a spark with any one cat in particular.

Before they left, they noticed the "Kitty Cold Ward" - a room devoted to adoptable cats who are recovering from kitty colds. The family asked to visit with some of those cats, and that is when they met Maizy Rae (formerly named Cola) and fell in love. They told us, "we knew she was the one."

After talking with ARL medical staff members, they knew what medication Maizy Rae would require in order to get over her cold, and then took her home!

They recently sent us this update, "The second we let her out of the pet carrier she knew she was home. She loves playing fetch with herself flinging toys across the room with her teeth and paws, then chasing after them. She also likes to play with her brother while he plays trains and cars. She loves to cuddle and gives kisses. Maizy is the smartest cat I have ever met! We couldn't have picked a better match for our family!" Back to Top.

A Life Changing Adoption: Peanut Finds A Home

Peanut’s new family found themselves at the ARL after suffering from the heartbreaking loss of their German Shepherd. After realizing that they could not go another day without a dog in their life, they visited the dogs in the adoption kennels, where they met Peanut. As they watched her with another family, it seemed as though she never stopped looking at them, like she could sense their great desire to meet her. When the time came to finally meet, both Peanut and her new family fit together perfectly, and Peanut went home.

Although Peanut was adopted to fill a void left by another dog, she soon showed her new family that she was unique and special – especially in the ways she bonded with her new “dad”. Regardless of what furniture or item she ate or destroyed those first few years, her dad remained patient, and showed her the same unconditional love and support she bestowed on him. After 4 years with her family, Peanut has conquered her trust issues, and has become best friends with another ARL Alumni dog named Nani. Now, a trip to Costco means more dog treats than people treats in the cart! Peanut and Nani love to bury their treats under pillows and in the couch cushions – so a new rule for the family is to check under pillows before bedtime! According to the family, Peanut has changed their lives, and for the better. SUCCESS! Back to top.

Gilbert In The City!

With the help of the ARL, Gilbert found his forever home last November and just recently made a big move to Chicago! His family didn’t expect to fall in love when they visited the adoption kennels at the ARL, but as soon as they met Gilbert, they knew it was meant to be.

His new family recently shared their story with us: “Gilbert has been the perfect addition to my life. All he wants to do is cuddle, play, and sleep in the sun. He also loves to win over people that say don't like cats (and he has won over every single person he has met!) When people ask me to describe him, I just tell them he's like a dog, but disobedient.

Videos of him playing with and grooming Nora (our new dog) were recently discovered by a Toronto based production company, and are going to be used on a show about unusual animal relationships! Gilbert has truly been a godsend, and I can't thank the ARL enough for rescuing this incredible cat!"

You can find video of Gilbert and Nora here! Back to top.

Duke Meets His Match!

Duke, formerly known as Locke, was adopted from the ARL's Main Shelter in June of this year. Although he initially struggled quite a bit with separation anxiety, he is enjoying life with his new family and best friend, another Boxer! This is what Duke's family told us, "Duke struggled with a lot of separation anxiety but after some music from and some patience, he is doing great. We are still working on reducing his leash aggression but are making progress. He is a wonderful boy and is a great companion to my other boxer, Rio. Thanks for all the hard work you guys do!" Back to Top.

A Lovely Home for Little Maddy!

You'll hear us say it time and time again, most cats do better with a buddy! Aside from the positive behavioral and health benefits of having more than one cat, you'll also notice that cats may have a secret social side that magically appears once they have a friend around to play with - which promises to be quite entertaining at times!

Luckily for Maddy, a petite little orange and white kitty who found herself at the ARL, her new family already had a buddy waiting at home for her!

Her family recently sent us an update, saying that Maddy and her sister Lilly are a perfect match! "We had been looking for the perfect companion for our kitty, Lilly, but just weren't able to. Then we heard about ARL in Des Moines and decided to take a look. Out of all the kittens, one little orange girl caught our eye. She reminded us of our first kitty together, and her name was Lilly-Ann. It seemed like a sign! So we adopted her and brought her home with us. She has been the perfect addition to the family, she even adores our kitty Lilly. It was funny just how quickly she acclimated and how puppy like she can be, following us everywhere and giving lots of kitty kisses. Almost like it was always meant to be. So thank you again. We love our Maddy girl!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.

Otis Becomes Mister Relaxed! 

So far this year, the Shelter Cat Getaway (SCG) foster program has helped over 175 cats take a break from the shelter. For many of these adoptable cats, new forever homes have been found thanks to the program! Otis, formerly Gary, was adopted through the SCG program earlier this year and his new family recently shared an update with us...

"I wanted to let you know how much we enjoy Otis. You can see from the photo of him on our cat tree that he feels quite comfortable in his surroundings! And once again we have a cat that enjoys sitting on a stool and looking out the front door. We had a tuxedo cat (similar in looks to Otis) years ago that always enjoyed sitting on that stool, but we had not had one since that felt comfortable on it. Thanks again for connecting us with Otis!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.

A Wonderful Life for Walter!

Walter, previously named Stache, was adopted from the Animal Rescue League in March of 2012. His family already had a beagle named Romey and a 12 year old Siamese cat named Bubba who needed a companion at home. Upon visiting the Main Shelter, they saw Walter, who was still quite thin after being rescued as a stray off the streets, and fell in love. The family took Walter home and after a successful integration, the two cats became best buds!

Walter's family recently sent us this update, " The first night we let him out of confinement, he found all of Bubba's (mostly ignored) toys.  It looked like a toy bomb had gone off.  Now Bubba joins in and plays too.

The cats sailed through their adjustment period with one another, established their pecking order and territories, and now they are buddies.  Walter has to test Bubba's dominance from time to time, but  Bubba exibits the patience of an older cat who loves his companion.  Even though Walter is not very dog tolerant, he and Romey have managed a truce that works well for them.

Walter has filled out and he is very strong with long legs.  He has such long legs that he can stand up and scratch his ear with his hind leg. We call him the rabbit! We want to thank ARL for the opportunity to adopt him, he's just a great cat!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.

A Happy Home for Drake

Sometimes, it takes an extra special home to give certain pets the love and attention they need to thrive. For Drake, a Beagle who spent the first few years of his life in a puppy mill, one loving family has devoted time and patience to make sure he lives the life he deserves.

Drake was adopted from the ARL in May of 2010, after being rescued from a puppy mill and having been returned once after his initial adopters decided they could not keep him due to potty training issues. His forever family recently gave us an update, "He is a sweet little dog.  We have another male beagle and a fenced-in backyard, so Drake fit right in after a few weeks. Drake loves his noon-time Greenie almost as much as he loves his "mom." This photo shows what a happy little doggie he is now!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.


The Three Musketeers!

“Foster Failure” is a very loving term we use here at the ARL that refers to our foster families that fall so in love with their foster pets that they just can’t give them back. Callie, a cute little tortoiseshell kitten, happily turned her family into a “foster failure” this spring as she blended perfectly with the 2 bonded buddy cats already in her home.

Callie was one of three kittens who needed a little extra TLC before they were ready for adoption this summer. Although all of the kittens got along great in the foster home, it was during the last week of her stay that Callie started spending more and more time with the 2 resident cats than her siblings. Her family recently told us, “As someone pointed out to me, that’s when Callie chose us. She let us know she wanted to stay. She almost seemed to have a determination to especially win over Sophie (our resident cat). Callie would sit back and watch Sophie and seemed to know just the right time to cautiously approach her.”

“On August 9th this year I became a “foster failure”. I went from having 2 bonded buddies to the Three Musketeers. My concerns about a third were completely unfounded. It just took the right third to make everything work. Where Titus and Sophie (my resident cats) were almost always in sight, I now often don’t see any of them and when I search, they are usually all three in a room hanging out together. They all play together and take turns chasing each other. Callie has actually even been a positive influence on them. Titus and Sophie are much more active than before and where Titus would often get up and leave if Sophie came to cuddle with him, he now seems to enjoy cuddling with his sisters. I really kind of set aside the idea of adopting a third once I started fostering and when friends suggested I was going to end up being a “foster failure” fostering kittens I would tell them no/never. I guess one really should never say never because if I had stuck to that thought we wouldn’t have our third little ARL blessing, Callie.” SUCCESS! Back to Top.

Hugo & Templeton

Just a little over a year ago, a lucky dog named Hugo was adopted from the ARL by a loving family that was looking for the perfect match for their cat, Templeton (also an ARL alumni). This pair proves that cats and dogs CAN get along and be the best of friends! Their adopters recently shared their story with us…

“We adopted our cat Templeton (originally named Noku) as an adorable nine-week-old kitten from the ARL. We remember bringing him home and seeing his curiosity immediately take over as he began to explore the new space. We loved getting to know his unique personality and discovering how intelligent he is. He quickly taught himself how to open two doors in our apartment – one sliding and one with a push-down handle. He also put a great deal of effort into attempting to open the kitchen cabinet where his food was stored, but fortunately was unsuccessful! Templeton enjoys playing with water, dipping his paws in the running faucet and having no reaction to a spray in the face when he’s misbehaving. Even in winter, he meows at the door of our balcony until we let him out to go trekking through the snow, pushing the mystery substance around with his paws. He also loves playing fetch. Yes, just like a dog! He is a playful, loving cat, and we're so lucky he's ours.

Because I grew up with dogs, I was very eager to find Templeton a friend. After an impromptu visit to the ARL in December 2012, we realized we had found him. This beautiful black and white pup was so sweet, giving us endless kisses. My fiancé and I looked at each other and said, “We’re getting this dog, aren't we?” I brought Hugo (originally Travolta) home the next evening. Hugo is such a joy, he is absolutely one of the sweetest dogs we've ever met. He greets everyone he meets with kisses and tail wagging and receives so many compliments. Hugo has a crazy amount of energy so we spend a lot of time outside playing fetch. It is by far his favorite activity and the first thing he wants to do when we get home from work. He's ecstatic about going hiking in the woods with us, too. He's such a smart dog; we're always looking for new ways to challenge him. We're fortunate to have such a wonderful pup.

When I first brought Hugo home, I spent a couple hours trying to keep him separated from Templeton in our one bedroom apartment. It didn't take long before I gave in to their desperate desires to meet one another. They have become great friends over the last year. They play together every day - Hugo trying to get Templeton to chase him, and Templeton batting at Hugo with his paws. They spend a good amount of time cuddling near each other, too. Last May, our pets traveled across the country with us to our new home in Seattle. Templeton has enjoyed exploring the new space, while Hugo loves exploring the mountains and playing frisbee at the park. We're still trying to convince him that the rain isn't so bad; hopefully the raincoat we got him will help! We couldn't imagine life without these two. They are a constant source of sunshine, energy, and love.” SUCCESS! Back to Top.

A Lucky Day for Max!

Max (known as Maxwell while at the ARL) found his forever home last summer at ARL Main. His family recently told us that he runs the house! They told us, "He thoroughly enjoys taking longs naps and LOVES chasing shadows on the walls! He’s always pouncing on us as we walk by his hiding places and chasing his red dot (laser toy). Max loves to cuddle up on a nice warm lap or on a soft bed. We would not trade his fun and lovable attitude for anything!" SUCCESS! Back to Top.


Incredible Charlie!

Charlie (formerly known as Diesel) found his forever home through the ARL this past June. Although we knew how great of a dog Charlie was when he was in our care, his family recently confirmed that he is in fact an incredible dog! They say he has been the best addition to their family! They told us, “He is a sweet, gentle, loyal, funny, brilliant, obedient boy who loves spending time with his family, playing with friends and swimming at the dog park - and begging for food. :) He also recently passed his therapy dog test, and will begin his therapy dog work soon - bringing his own brand of doggie joy to others.

We love him more than words could ever express. We feel so blessed to have him in our family. Thank you, Animal Rescue League!” SUCCESS! Back to Top.



New Tires Mean a New Home for Daisy!

At the end of May in 2013, Daisy (Formerly known as Princess) met her forever family thanks to new car tires! Lucky for her, her new family was getting tires put on their car down the street from the ARL West location (on 22nd Street in West Des Moines) and decided to make use of the wait time by visiting with the adoptable pets. Although Daisy was “the strangest dog they had ever seen” with a big head and short legs, she instantly won them over and is doing great in her new home!

Her adopters recently told us, “When I called to learn more about Daisy, I was told that there were already 3 pending adoption applications on her. But, the ARL staff encouraged me to come in and meet her anyway and fill out an application just in case.

When I met her, it was love at first sight. I saw that big head and short little legs and I was hooked. I actually called my mom on my way back to work and I was crying my eyes out and praying that we got to take her home. As luck would have it, got the call to come and get her as the other applications had fallen though! I picked her up after work and our lives were never the same!

She has been an amazing addition to our little family and we get very excited to see her everyday when we wake up. She is a precious dog and gets along with all other animals... even our guinea pig!” SUCCESS! Back to top.

George Gets Cozy

"I had recently lost my long-time companion, a Jack Russell named Fergie, and was missing having a pet in the house.  I am getting older and walking a dog in the winter in Iowa was holding me back from getting another dog.  I had been missing having a cat, but Fergie would not have let a cat in the home, so I decided that it was time to have a cat again.  I started to look for a cat on your website, and one day saw a picture that talked to me, and the description sounded like just what I was looking for: a lap cat - loving and playful.  George has been all that I could have asked for and more.  He wakes me every morning to play under the bed covers and have breakfast, talks to me constantly (they left that part out of the description), and has given me so much love and joy!  Thank you ARL for bringing my wonderful George into my life!"  Back to top




Kammi: A Daddy's Girl

The connection we have with our animals is a bond like no other, and often times we feel as though our pet has chosen us.  When Kammi's guardians came to the ARL seeking another cat, they knew Kammi was the one as soon as they laid eyes on her.  "Last October for my husband's birthday we stopped at the ARL because you were having one of your special adoption weekends.  We already had a two year old male cat named Cody, but he has always been a mama's boy.  My husband wanted his own kitty, and he really wanted a black cat.  My husband looked and kept standing in front of Kammi's kennel.  He then asked to hold her.  It was love at first sight.  She just curled up in his arms.  We brought her home and introductions eventually happened; big brother Cody was not thrilled.  After a few days though, they became best buddies.  Now they will snuggle together and have fun playing with each other. Kammi is definitely a daddy's girl. She has him and the rest of us wrapped around her little paw."  Back to top


An Unexpected Home for Dallas

It's not unusual for our pets to "find" us when we are least expecting it.  That is just how it happened for Dallas and his people.  It didn't take long for them to realize that Dallas was exactly what they needed.  His adopters told us, "It was so much fun watch him evolve after we brought him home! He is one of the sweetest, most lovable dogs I have ever had. The day we came to the ARL, we had no intentions of adopting, we just came to "look". The first time we saw him, we immediately wanted to take him outside and then one thing led to another and Bam! We've got Dallas! He is so stinkin awesome! I feel so sad for the people who lost him but so happy for my kids and me.....we'll have him for the rest of his life. I'm a true believer that rescue animals rescue people too! He's just what we needed and we are what he needed. Thank you so much for saving him!"

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From Foster to Forever: Sophie's Story

Sophie came to the ARL scared to death. After some time here, it was decided that she would benefit from our Shelter Cat Getaway program. Sophie went to live with her foster family, and she was adopted right from her foster home to her forever home. It didn't take Sophie long to settle right in to her new, loving home, and the bond between her and her guardian continues to grow.

Her forever home recently shared with us, "In less than a week she went from being completely terrified of me to wanting to cuddle up with me as soon as a sit down on my couch. This past Friday I was able to pet her for the first time. It seemed to have opened up the door for her to trust me, because later that night she jumped up on my lap to be pet again, and shortly after that she laid down next to me while I was watching a movie. She is still building trust with me but we have come a long way in a very short amount of time. "

The Shelter Cat Getaway program gives our cats a chance to get out of the shelter and enjoy the in-home life they deserve.  During this time, the animals have the opportunity grow and let their personalities shine.  Sophie's adopter also said, "Please thank Dorthy and Donald for caring for Sophie in their home; they definitely were major contributors in helping her develop trust in people. I don't think she would have progressed this fast without them."

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A "Hoppy" Ending

Many of you remember the Davis County rescue.  On Friday, February 21, 2014 the ARL assisted Davis County authorities in the rescue of nearly 300 animals, represented by nearly 30 different species.  Within that rescue were two rabbits, now known as Black Beauty and Snowflakes. 

Their forever home recently shared with us, "I am a veterinary technician at Ankeny Animal and Avian Clinic, so I deal with death on a daily basis. Two days before the adoption of our bunnies, we had to suddenly euthanize our Cocker Spaniel "Charles Broccoli" that I rescued eight years ago. He was my first 'baby' and was with me through everything, including the birth of our daughter. Now Jayden is five and, clearly a mini me, loves all animals.

We were devastated by the loss of Charles. Then I got the call. We had been waiting to take our new bunnies home for about a week. It just happened to be the perfect time: distracting us from a time of grief. Charles absolutely loved his bunnies. It was almost like he was saying it was ok; here are two more kids to love.

Even though we miss him more than imaginable, the addition of 'Black Betty' and 'Snowflakes' has made the grieving much more bearable.

They both finally love their veggies (they weren't too sure about them at first), treats and even playing with their 'sister's' toys! They are amazing furry kids, and we are lucky to have them."

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Home Sweet Home

"Thank you for giving my husband and I the pleasure of adopting Rowdy. He was at home as soon as he came home with us, chasing squirrels up trees and checking out his own large fenced in back yard. He looks forward to the neighbor's young children coming home so they can chase each other up and down the fence line. Rowdy is giving tons of kisses and love and he is getting tons back. Thank you again for all you have done for Rowdy."


Queen of the House

Last summer, Tiger Lily, formerly Roseanne, was at the ARL waiting for her forever home. She was seven years old and hiding under a rug in one of the display cubicles during a very busy adoption event. Her adopter recently shared with us, "Everyone was concentrating on the kittens and younger, more outgoing cats. It was love at first sight on my part, although Tiger Lily wasn't having a good day. She had come from a one cat/one person home and obviously wasn't enjoying the adoption process. I took her home that day. Tiger Lily was going to be the queen of the house, and she make sure I knew it. I named her Tiger Lily because she is white as a lily and fierce as a tiger. She growled at and bit both of us. It took several months before she decided we were okay, but finally she accepted us. Now she sleeps on my bed all night, lets me pet her without biting, and voluntarily hops up on the footstool to drape herself over my legs and take a nap while I'm reading. She likes Jazz, and they play chase up and down the stairs followed by sleeping together on the middle of the bed. Tiger Lily still likes to sleep under a quilt or blanket and will meow and pat at the quilt until I hold it up for her to get underneath. If I can't find her, I look for a bunched up quilt. She also answers to 'my white sugar cat' and has become a very sweet kitty. I just wanted you to know how glad I am that she came to live at my house. I adore her."

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Right at Home: Red's Story

“It was supposed to be just another routine visit as we pulled up to the ARL barn, but as I stepped out of the truck one horse in particular caught my eye.  He was a tall, beautiful, leggy, chestnut, thoroughbred gelding named 'Red'.  As a vet student, a chant ran through my head, 'you do not need another horse, you do not need another horse, you do not need another horse' but I couldn't help steal glances at him as he floated over the ground.  It was at that point I began asking all about him, and throughout the next few days all I could think about was the horse I had quickly fallen in love with.  So what did I do? I called my boyfriend and told him I had found the 'perfect' horse for him!  A few days later, my boyfriend met Red and was immediately won over by his inquisitiveness and charm.

After the adoption was complete, we loaded him into the trailer. He did not hesitate to follow me, nor did he nicker to his fellow stablemates.  He seemed, in my opinion, to know that his luck had changed and a new life awaited him; he seemed eager to move on. Once at the farm, Red marched into the barn like he had always lived here and walked into his stall, knowing he was finally home!  Within two days of arriving at our farm, Red seemed settled in and quite at home.  He quickly became best friends with a 23 year old horse named Joe and he got along with the rest of the horses like he had always lived with them!  Red had only one little problem; an unusual fear of chickens!  Yes, chickens.  The remedy for this entailed holding one of the hens and allowing Red to sniff her several times. With the help of his intense curiosity, he soon conquered his fear.  

Red seems to excel at pretty much everything and has been doing quite well with his trainer. Red has advanced to ground driving and has even allowed the trainer on his back a few times! The whole training process is going great and Red is an incredibly smart horse that loves to work (and is no longer afraid of chickens).  Little did I know that one trip to the ARL would change my life, and his, forever.  We couldn't be happier!”

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A Bright Day for Casanova

On Saturday, June 7th, we held the Jordan Creek Adopt-A-Thon.  With a storm brewing, we hustled to get everything set up and the animals ready.  Just as the event started, the sky opened and it started raining cats and dogs.  Dispite the rain, people were lined up and waiting to take home their new pet, and we were able to set a new ARL single-day record of 77 adoptions!

Among those 77 pets was Casanova, a little kitten.  When his adopters saw him, they fell in love within minutes.  They knew right then and there that they needed to take him home and make him a part of the family.  His forever home shared, "We were taking him home to two more cats who are eight and 12 years old.  We were nervous as the others were older.  Our 12 year old fell in love with him within minutes, but towards the end of the day Nova was more energy than he was use to.  They have been best buds since, playing and snuggling.  The other one is slowly coming around we are sure she will see the same thing as the rest of us."

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Dillinger the Therapy Dog

It has been said that dogs are man's best friend, and many people find that to be true.  They are there for you through whatever life may throw your way. Besides being a great companion, Dillinger was adopted from the ARL recently and has become a very important part of his adopter's life as a therapy dog.  His adopter recently shared with us, "I am a former soldier diagnosed with PTSD after a deployment to Iraq.  I was speaking to my therapist, who said it would be good for me to have a therapy/emotional support animal.  When I found Dillinger, it was an immediate match.  He was already so intelligent and could easily take on the role of therapy dog.  He goes with me practically everywhere, doctors appointments, shopping, everywhere.  He can sense when I'm getting an anxiety attack and whines and tries to pull me away from the situation.  He lies on the couch with me when I'm having a rough day and plays when I'm not.  He never really leaves my side!  He has become an instant member of my family and my best friend.  Also, since I walk with a cane, due to issues from the military, he has learned to go directly for an elevator or stairs and to steer us away from any situation where my mobility would be an issue."  SUCCESS!

We would like to thank Dillinger's adopter, and all soldiers and veterans, for serving our country. 

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Finding New Joy: Guster's Story

Losing a pet is never easy. With heavy hearts you tell them goodbye and think to yourself, “Will I ever be able to love another pet the same?” The matter of the fact is it won’t be the same, each pet is different. They each have a unique personality and are as much of an individual as you are. You know you will find another, not to replace the one you laid to rest, but to bring the joy of their companionship back into your life. When you find your next pet and bring them home, you can smile knowing you saved another life.

An adopter, who has adopted several ARL Alum, recently shared with us, “One day in 1995, my husband and I were at the ARL looking for a cat.  Our cat, at age three, had just passed away due to a heart condition we were unaware of.  I saw a beautiful Maine Coon and asked to see him.  He was nice, but well, I could see my husband was not interested.  I asked him if he saw one he liked and he said yes a three year old big, black cat.  I groaned, another black cat, but we met with him.  As soon as he was in my husband’s arms, Blacky put his head up under my husband’s beard and purred so loud I knew we were lost.  He came home with us.  Bo Bo, as we named him, had quite the personality.  He could purr and snore so loud that we would have to turn the TV up.  He liked to jump up on me when he wanted attention, and he always wanted attention.  He figured out which door to reach up to the handle and let us know he wanted out; he preferred the great outdoors to his box.  My husband accommodated him in the winter by shoveling him a path.  In May 2013, 20 year old Bo Bo passed away.  Thank you Ankeny Animal & Avian Clinic for your compassion on a difficult day.

But this isn’t just a story about Bo Bo; this is a story about Guster, our new, yup, big black cat that we brought home from the ARL in September of 2013.  Guster, as we named him, has met all his friends at the vet’s and he is settling into his forever home nicely.  He took a little while to accept me, but he fell in love with my daughter and is her best friend.  For being 13, he is very busy finding toys I haven’t seen for years and tosses them up into the air and knocks them around the room.  He likes to sit and look outdoors; if my daughter goes out, he goes out with her.  He is very polite - if he wants to get into your lap, he pats your leg.  If he is hungry, he stares at you till you get up.  He is still a little scared of storms, but with patience and treats, he will get to trust us even more.  He recently came and curled up in my arms and treated me to a purr for a little while.  So I might be getting on his nice list.  I look forward to many more years with our Guster, thank you ARL!

I lost my beloved Mr. French just this past month, I got him when he was six weeks old and he was 20 when I lost him.  Again, the vet was wonderful to me.  I am still a little heart broken, but I know I will find a new kitty when I see him, or maybe them.” SUCCESS!

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From Foster to Forever

Our Shelter Cat Getaway program has helped many cats by giving them a break from the shelter and letting them enjoy the life of living in a home. Pheobe, formerly known as Jane, went from her SCG home to her forever home in December 2013. Her adopter shared with us, "She is doing very well. We all love her so much. She is such a sweetheart, and has adapted well to her new environment. It took a while for her and Lilly (our other cat) to come to terms with each other's presence, but they are doing pretty well now.

I am a very early riser (always the first one up at 4:30 at our house). Phoebe is my constant companion in the mornings. She sits in the bathroom while I get ready for work and has 'morning coffee' with me. She has found some favorite spots in our house, too, including a rocking chair, that is now termed 'Phoebe's chair', and the linen closet. Phoebe has definitely found her 'forever home'."

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