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Welcome back to the Calvin & Susie Blog!

Despite taking a bit of a break to get our new website up and running (take a look around…we’ll wait right here), we managed to make it back in time for one last blog post in 2015.

2015 has been a big year for us. Among other things, we’ve added a lot of new family members (two legs and four!), revamped our website to be as inviting and friendly as we hope you find our stores, and oh yeah, opened a brand new store in Kailua! Needless to say it’s been a busy year — a thrilling and rewarding year — but busy, busy, busy.

And while we’ve had our noses and snouts to the grindstone in at our stores, we did find some time to come up for air and see what the rest of the pet-related world was up to. Inspiring and humbling, many of the pet stories of 2015 reminded us why working toward improving the lives of animals is always a worthwhile endeavor.

So to beat some of the after Christmas doldrums that might be weighing you down before the New Year’s festivities, here are a few of our favorite animal stories from 2015 to lift your spirits and keep your tail “wagging” into the New Year!

American Humane Association (AHA) Hero Dogs

2015 American Humane Association Hero Dog Award winners. Source, Flickr via Creative Commons

This year the American Humane Association awarded several exceptional dogs a Hero Dog award. All different breeds from all walks of life, they are a reminder that dogs have the ability to not only save our lives, but also save our spirits. To learn more about these special dogs, visit the AHA Hero Dog Awards Finalist page. Among the amazing dogs are:

Axel: The German Shepherd who helps Captain Jason Haag (USMC, Ret.) live with and heal from his PTSD and “traumatic brain injury after returning from two combat tours in the Middle East”. Says Captain Haag about Axel, “It’s Axel. Day in and day out, he’s by my side, ensuring that I’m in a constant state of peace and not fear…When I met Axel, he was one week away from being put down, sleeping on a shelter floor. And I was sleeping in my basement with a gun under my pillow. Now I share a bed with a big and furry security blanket.”

Glory: This eight year-old Bloodhound is not just any search and rescue dog, she helps unite lost pets with their families. To date, Glory has helped hundreds of families find their beloved pets.

From Karin, “on Goldie the Pomeranian” as told to the AHA: “When I received the devastating news that Goldie was missing, I spent six nights walking through the area and calling into a megaphone, put up 300 posters and offered a $1,000 reward. Goldie was lost 60 miles away with no food or water–it was more than my family could bear. Our hearts were broken. On day eight, Landa arrived with Glory working 24 hours a day in the rain. At nine days missing Glory found Goldie alive under crates in an outdoor factory.”

Hudson the Railroad Puppy: Some of you may remember Hudson’s name from headlines this year, and previously. As a puppy, Hudson got a rough start. Found with his siblings, their paws nailed to a railroad track, Hudson’s story is that of strength, kindness, and healing. Now wearing a prosthetic hind paw, Hudson doesn’t let his disability slow him down.

He has gone on to become a unique therapy dog who advocates for animal cruelty awareness, “pit bull breeds”, and adults and children living with illness or disabilities. Says Hudson’s human, “We continue to try to teach the children and everyone we meet that just because you’re different, you are still special in your own ‘Wooftastic’ way.”

Rademenesa the Nurse Cat

This caring kitty in Poland is helping sick animals through some of their toughest times by offering some real “creature comfort”. Originally a patient of the shelter/veterinary practice, Rademenesa was brought in with an inflamed respiratory tract at two months old. Adopted by the shelter, Rademenesa now makes it his business to snuggle up to animals that are recovering from procedures. The staff believes that Rademenesa’s compassion and company, help the animals in their care recover more quickly.

For more on Rademenesa (and more pictures), visit here.

Tillie the Washingtonian of the Day

Best friends, Tillie the Irish Setter-Spaniel mix and Phoebe the Basset Hound, were missing for a week this September in Vashon Island, WA. Locals, however, reported seeing a red dog intermittently running onto and off of a property while barking. When dog rescuers followed the “red dog” they discovered Tillie standing guard over Phoebe. Phoebe, it turns out, had fallen into a cistern, and Tillie had gone for help.

Only leaving her side to look for help, it appeared that Tillie had stayed with Phoebe for the whole week. Though hungry and a bit shaken up, both dogs returned home healthy and safe.

Due to her heroism, Tillie was awarded Washingtonian of the Day by Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State.

“During the ceremony, Inslee had Tillie sit next to him as he urged ‘everyone in Washington to celebrate the bravery and loyalty of this canine companion.'” (via The Seattle Times)

Special Homes for Special Animals

Here are a couple stories about people saving animals that warmed our hearts this year!

Tabby’s Place

Tabby’s Place in Ringoes, New Jersey calls themselves a “cage free sanctuary for cats rescued from hopeless situations” for cats “young or old, sick or healthy”. And they mean it. Tabby’s Place has an “FIV-positive suite” for cats who have been infected with felineimmunodeficiency virus (FIV). The virus, which disables or destroys white blood cells in cats, will stay with an infected cat for life and can be transmitted via bites to other cats (humans and non-cats CANNOT contract FIV). If untreated, the virus can make it very hard for cats to fight off illness and infection.

However, as told to Catster Magazine by development director Angela Townsend, ““FIV-positive cats can live normal and healthy lives. Although cats can live with FIV for many happy, healthy years, the condition tends to scare away potential adopters.”

Tabby’s Place hopes to change this. By educating the public, caring for FIV-positive cats, and giving them a safe and healthy place to thrive, Tabby’s Place hopes to show people that FIV-positive cats can be a purr-fect addition to your family.


It’s been quite a year for Marshmallow.

A rescue dog who previously lived at Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption in Mission, KS, Marshmallow desperately needed a loving Forever Home. Aside from the fact that she’s deaf (she came to the shelter from severe abuse) and a pit bull — two things that often stop people from adopting sweet dogs like her — her best friend and roommate Scooby was adopted earlier this year, leaving her literally crying over his absence. In an attempt to find Marshmallow a home, Unleashed Pet Rescue and Adoption posted a video of crying Marshmallow. The media picked up Marshmallow’s story and the rest is an internet happy ending!

Source, Miss Marshmallow on Facebook

Within days of seeing Marshmallow’s sad video, an adopter came forward (a friend of Calvin & Susie’s very own Leah!) and gave Marshmallow a Forever Home. Marshmallow doesn’t cry anymore, and never has to be lonely again in her new home with her new mom, dad, human and fur siblings. You can keep up with Marshmallow on her Facebook page.

Marshmallow in her new home! Source, Facebook

There are a lot of astonishing animals and remarkable people out there. If these stories teach us anything, it’s that anybody can be amazing. It doesn’t matter if you came from humble beginnings, are a “mutt”, or live with disabilities — these “hero animals” show us that greatness comes in all forms. The furry companion snoozing at your side right now be just the hero you needed in 2015.

So from our Calvin & Susie family, we hope your 2015 ends on a positive note, and that you and your four-legged family members achieve great things in 2016!

~Your Loyal Calvin & Susie Blogger

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