“Ruca was the catalyst that led to my marriage,” says Matt Mitchell of St. Petersburg. Matt rescued Ruca, a pitbull, from a backyard breeder in 2008, when she was still just a puppy but nearly dead. At the time Matt had just started dating his girlfriend, who also had a dog, and they would set up play dates for their dogs as an excuse to see each other more. Matt and Maria have since married and have a son Flynn, 2.
“Baxter is the perfect dog: loving, caring, friendly to all four- and two-legged creatures!” says Jim Nixon, embership director at The Dali museum in St. Pete. Jim and his partner, Gerry Connors, adopted Baxter, a 7-year-old Boston Terrier, in 2009 from Pet Pal Rescue. “He’ll give you a big smile, just to hear his name,” Jim says. “He loves nothing more than walking around the house with his blanket in his mouth!”
"I met Elphie at the Humane Society in December," says Christina Stewart, who works at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce. "She hopped right in my lap in the visitors' area and fell instantly in love!"
"Skyler was only 6 weeks old when found on the streets," says Lori McDermott, who splits her time between upstate New York and the Tampa Bay region. "With a vocabulary of approximately 500 words, he understands more than we know and loves all."
"She is a total sweetheart," says Diane Gray, owner of TLC Herbal Therapies in Gulfport. "I am her fourth & forever Mommy." Sophie was the inspiration behind Diane's popular Pet Storm Anxiety Bandanna. "Before my darling Sophie came to me, I didn't know this (pet anxiety) was a problem needing a solution," Diane says. "Because of her, I've helped almost 600 dogs in the past two years calm down in minutes during anxious situations."
"Mimi survived four years in unspeakable conditions in a puppy mill before she came to live with me and found love," says Ann Alderson of Tampa. "Truth be told, love found me."
Katherine Marie met Bella, a full bred Persian, after her previous owner brought her in to a vet to be put down. Bella, then 5 years old and barely 4 pounds, had been abused and the vet spent months treating her so she would be healthy and adoptable, says Katherine, whose own Persian had just died the year before, after she had him for 17 years.
"When I got the call to see if I would adopt her, I told the vet I was not ready and he said to just come in and see her," Katherine says. "I did and it broke my heart to hear her story, so I took her home. I have had her a year and half and she is now the most loving baby girl I could ever have asked for."
Live Local! is a publication of LocalShops1, Tampa Bay's leading advocate for small businesses.