Learn to love again: send us your pet rescue stories


TOWNSHIP OF OLMSTED, Ohio – This story is about my kitten, Bella.

After losing my adorable dog Papillon at 14 in 2015, I felt incomplete. We had moved into the Columbia Park development for 55+ years ago and were very happy. But when I lost Rufus, I said what all the parents of grieving animals say … “never again!”

It went on for about a month with no reason to get out of bed. Then I got a message from my cousin, who was a volunteer at Berea Animal Rescue. She said when – or if – I was ready to adopt a new furry companion, to let her know.

I woke up on a Friday morning and suddenly had the overwhelming feeling that it was daytime! I also said to myself, “A cat this time.

Rufus was 14 when he died in 2015. At first, Peggy Wagner said she would never adopt another pet because she misses him so much. (Photo courtesy of Peggy Wagner)

I went to the pet store and bought a litter box, some litter, and a few cans. I had to figure out how to get to the rescue. I left. (It turned out that my cousin was on leave that day.)

Well, after finding my way there, I never realized that they would have a whole wall full of cages stacked four high. The volunteers were so kind, helping me narrow down my choices.

The last row contained a 9 year old cat named Polly. My daughter’s name is Holly, and I wanted a senior cat. A sign? She only weighed 6 pounds, which ticked another box (small and light).

I asked to hold it and they brought it to me. She looked up into my eyes and meowed. That’s when we adopted each other and got her new name – Bella.

It was five years ago … and also the last time I held her in my arms! She is very affectionate, but on her terms. She sleeps next to me every night and is on my lap all the time … on her terms.

Peggy Wagner,

Canton of Olmsted

Do you share your life with an animal that is near and dear to you? Tell us about your pet – all species are welcome – and send us a photo of you two. Be sure to tell us which community in Greater Cleveland you live in. Send it all to Ann Norman at [email protected].


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