Relationships

An Unexpected Story of Love at First Sight

An Unexpected Story of Love at First Sight

Last year, on an ordinary Tuesday morning, something magical happened…

It started with a text message. My husband, Ross, is a civil engineer. Specifically, he works on bridges, which he sometimes has to climb over, under, and even into. (Sometimes he even sees scorpions.) The work is often in rural places with poor reception, so I don’t usually hear much from Ross when he’s traveling. This was especially true last December. I had finished my Ph.D. in English six months before, but I couldn’t find a job, and we didn’t love our living situation. It was a tough time. Neither of us was reaching out much.

So, I was surprised when one evening my phone started blowing up with texts from Ross, who was on a work trip in north Texas. When I opened my messages, I found a dozen photos of a big-eared, calico kitten. By itself, this wouldn’t normally surprise me. I’ve never met anyone more obsessed with cats than my husband. But these photos seemed to be telling a more involved story. There was one of the kitten on the bridge, another of the kitten in Ross’ arms. The kitten rolling on the ground. The kitten in the work truck. I called back as quickly as I could.

“Hello?” Ross answered, sounding happier than he had in months.

“Oh, my gosh,” I said. “Tell. Me. Everything.”

It happened like this: Ross and his coworker were working on a bridge in the middle of nowhere, miles away from anything. Ross was down on the riverbank looking up at the bridge when he heard a soft squeak. Then he heard it again, a little louder — could it be? Sure enough, across the bank, there it was. A kitten, barreling towards him.

As Ross described the next few moments, I pictured time slowing to a crawl, Chariots of Fire-style: I pictured Ross, scrambling up the bank. Ross, running across the bridge, shouting “It’s a caaaaaat” at his startled coworker. Ross, throwing his engineering notes into the air as he ran (this last part may not have happened).

Once the kitten realized Ross was coming, it ran up the bank to meet him, and they fell into each other’s arms like characters at the end of a romantic comedy.

“And then what happened?” I asked, waiting for the part where Ross tells me we’re keeping it.

Ross said that the kitten stayed with them the whole day. They got him some food and, while they drove from one bridge to the next, the kitten fell asleep in the car. And at each bridge they inspected, they let the kitten out so he could follow them around while they worked.

But then Ross reminded me: he still had a full week on the road. He couldn’t possibly keep the kitten with him all that time. Instead, he and his coworker had dropped him off at an animal shelter in Paris, Texas, a tiny town 300 miles away from our home in Austin. Ross said the goodbye was horrible, but at least the shelter staff seemed excited. They didn’t have any other kittens, they told him, and they were sure they’d find him a family right away.

“That’s great,” I said, but really I was thinking back off, Paris. This kitten already has a family.

I knew what I had to do.

I eased Ross off the phone, trying not to show how nervous-excited I was. “Oh my gosh, would you look at the time? LoveyoumissyouBYE.” I found the shelter’s number and called.

And that is how I found myself in the car the next morning at 5 a.m., on a mission. Five hours, multiple podcasts, and more than one missed turn later, I burst through the shelter’s doors. “Hi-hello-I-left-a-bunch-of-messages; I-think-you-have-my-kitten?” We walked past a seemingly endless line of barking dogs and into the cat room.

Then, just like that: 3.1 pounds of hope was purring against my chest.

After we visited the vet, Unnamed Baby Boy Kitten and I headed home. And every night when we talked on the phone, Ross reminisced about the kitten. I was so afraid of giving the secret away, I made faces in the mirror to distract myself.

Miraculously, I didn’t let the cat out of the bag. On the contrary: one week later, when I finally heard Ross’s keys in the door, I plopped the kitten into a box that I had wrapped. Ross opened the box, and when the kitten hopped out it was love at second sight. They’ve been inseparable ever since.

We named the kitten Grendel, after the lonely monster who haunts the forest in Beowulf, an Old English poem I used to love teaching. Sometimes we wonder how he came to be under a bridge in the forest. The most plausible story — that he was abandoned — is too sad to dwell on, so we like to say he was raised by a family of squirrels.

After six more months of false starts and disappointments, I finally found a job that allowed us to move back to D.C., a city we both love. Things eventually got better, as things always eventually do.

Grendel is one now, and still at least once a week Ross will talk about how he found him in the forest, and I’ll talk about how I drove 600 miles to bring him the rest of the way home. More than that, though, our sweet, dopey, grown-up kitten — plucked from a riverbank just because Ross was in that particular place at that particular time — reminds me that beautiful and surprising things can happen even when you feel lost in the woods. Maybe especially then. That’s how most fairytales start, after all.

And we all lived happily ever after.

The kitten on the bridge.

The kitten in Ross’s work truck.

The kitten driving home with Haylie.

Happy at home!

Do you have any pets? How did you come together?

P.S. An open letter to dogs, and 12 reader comments on love.

(Illustration by Alessandra Olanow for Cup of Jo.)

  1. We have a lovely cat too. We rescued him from the shelter after his last owners moved house and abandoned him. He is the sweetest thing in the world and the moment I met him, I instantly fell in love. It took my partner a little while but he is also very much in love with him. We can’t see our lives without our little fur ball.

  2. Cindy says...

    best story ever!

  3. Emma McVey says...

    Our beloved rescue Maine Coone has a similar beginning as part of our family. My now-husband and I were dating at the time and getting ready to move-in together. We were going to bring his cat from home (staying with his parents) named Mamet with us to the new house. He was heartbreakingly killed two weeks before we moved when my husband’s mom accidentally let him outside.
    Fast forward to a week later, at this point I had resigned myself to a cat-less period of time while my boyfriend grieved. I was cleaning out his old house with him when he came into the kitchen and said “I have to run a quick errand”.
    I thought he was going to the grocery store, but he came back with a 1-year old, 23 pound Maine Coone cat named Sampson. He saw a post on the next door app about him and immediately fell in love. He is one of the best parts of our married life and he now has a little sister cat named Ann Perkins.

  4. Mary says...

    I LOVE this story!!!!

  5. Cassie says...

    This is so beautiful! <3 So happy she went to get him and surprise her husband! What a story. Animal love is the best.

  6. greatblueheron says...

    our beloved now-five-year-old cat has a similar origin story- my then-boyfriend, now-husband and i were on a BIKE camping trip in the south. the first night, we camped in a state park campground and an adorable, calico kitten was in the campsite- playing with the tent strings, purring when you touched her. but we were biking, and there was no way we could take a cat with us. we knew we would be back through the same park on our way home two nights later- and sure enough, the cat was still there. when my husband walked into the woods to look at a bird, the little cat followed him, and the next thing i know, he’s carrying the little purring ball of fuzz. we got our gear packed up, drove to the nearest town to get a cat carrier, and that cat fell asleep as soon as we got in the car- purring in her sleep as my husband drove and i petted her with one finger through the cat carrier for 5 hours straight.

  7. Lucy says...

    This story reminds me of the time I almost got a cat. I’d gone with a friend to a pet store (don’t judge) near our office because she’d fallen in love with one of the sweet kitties in the window. She kept going back to fawn over the cat but couldn’t decide whether to pull the trigger as her living situation was in flux at the moment, so she finally asked me to go help her decide. While there I happened to stop in front of another cage with a gorgeous kitty, and the cat inside reached through the bars with its paws and clutched my hand, literally pressing my hand against the bars and purring up a storm. I swear it was saying “take me home with you!!”

    Unfortunately my own living situation did not allow pets at the time so I couldn’t get the cat. But I thought about that sweet kitty for a long time afterwards and hope she eventually found a good home.

  8. About 4,5 years ago, I overheard a conversation of a co-worker during a cigarette break who was talking about a stray kitten she’s been looking after temporarily. Obviously the mother cat’s been ran over by a car and this 5 weeks old baby was in a bad shape (with all the lice etc) but she can’t take her home as she had 4 cats already. I, who never had any pets in her life, found myself blurting out “I’ll have it” without even seeing the kitten. She wasn’t sure whether I could or could not look after a kitten, said alright but added “Seriously, you haven’t even seen it. She’s so skinny, her ears are so big and her furs in her face looks like a scar and I’m not even talking about how sickly she seems. Are you sure you don’t want a ‘pretty’ cat as a first pet”. I said “Nope, I want her” and she was all my co-worker said she was. Now 4.5 years later, she’s the prettiest cat I’ve ever seen and also light of my life (with her “adopted brother”, of course).

  9. Kerry says...

    18 years ago, at 22 years old, I saw some kittens in the window of a pet store below my apartment. I couldn’t get them off my mind, but I had never had such a huge responsibility before. I eventually cleared it with my roommates and went to pick out a kitten. She stood out from the bunch by climbing all over her siblings to get to my arms.

    She was my constant companion through my young adulthood, into my thirties when I married and had two kids. She was afraid of the kids but came out instantly the moment they went to bed, for snuggles, and climbed into my lap every day when I worked at my desk.

    We had to say goodbye last week. It was a hard decision but she was in pain and wasting away and we didn’t want her to suffer. It was a beautiful goodbye and she was so loved at that moment.

    Reading this brought me back to those first few weeks and months of the joy of having a kitten. She was so incredibly precious!

    Enjoy the lovely years ahead with this adorable kitty!

  10. Judy says...

    I was heartbroken my shadow my heart my love Parkin had died. He was my cocker spaniel of 16 years and I truely believed that no one could understand my pain until I looked past myself and saw my other cocker spaniel baby named holly , and saw her suffering. They had been together for years and now she was lonely, I felt I wasn’t ready for another dog but someone told me of a cocker spaniel that was dumped by a breeder because he was too large. My partner at the time was against this idea. I decided to just take a look…. well how can you just take a look at something like that and walk away. “ Sam the man” that was his kennel name was in the car in two seconds flat. The rest is a nightmare. Holly and Sam didn’t get along . Sam refused to come into the house. And I just cried for Parkin. And the boyfriend just said I told you so. Sam was a confused soul with much love to give. He stayed outside for 5 days even though the door was open. Then one day he just walked in. It made me cry. He took years to go to the toilet on grass…. image a lovely park, lots of grass and a path, he’d do it on the path😆 I never understood how to play with a toy or a ball. But he ran like the wind, he swam like a fish and he rolled in smelly disgusting things. Sam was love. It’s true what they say about a rescue dog . That they are really grateful for what you have done for them. A stranger was watching us once and said that dog really loves you and you know what I really loved him too.

  11. Jessica says...

    My husband was on his way from picking me up from the airport. I had decided to take a detour from a work conference and happened to be flying home on the 4th of July. It was raining and saw this “pinecone” in the middle of the road. It moved so he pulled over and the “pinecone” immediately climbed up into the engine of our car. After chasing him around for a while, he finally got him out. When I landed my husband texted me that he had a surprise for me. Whenever he says he has a surprise for me I always ask if it’s a puppy. This time he said “something like that.” I got out of the airport and he hands me this tiny kitten in a towel. Kitten season is 9 months out of the year in our town and there are lots of cat colonies. We tried to rehome for a week or so but everyone was at cat-pacity. This 1lb kitten bonded with our 100lb mastiff so we figured we will keep him because he won’t survive the shelter. And that’s how we got our Moose the cat.

  12. Phoebe says...

    AH THIS STORY. So many feelings.

  13. Briel K. says...

    Ahh this is such a sweet story! <3

  14. Julie says...

    I can’t even tell you how much I loved this story. Our 2 cats are family to us. Your cat was meant to be yours <3

  15. Lena says...

    This made me tear up. It’s so sweet!

  16. Sara says...

    Love love loved this. Really sweet and heartwarming.

  17. Alice says...

    This story may have just about gotten me over my decades long hatred of Beowulf.

    almost.

    • J says...

      hahahahaha. As an English major forced to take a Medieval lit course, I feel your pain :D

  18. KY says...

    I didn’t expect this! The best I’ve read in a while. So much love! Made my day!

  19. Rosalyn says...

    As the world turns more and more terrifying, I need these kinds of stories to keep me in love with it. Thank you so much for sharing and including pictures!! He is so beautiful, I’m obsessed with his paws!

  20. Judy says...

    I had seen a stray cat in the area for many months and one day I came home unexpectedly and found it sleeping under a bush in my front yard. It was in bad shape and clearly feral and ran away as soon as it saw me. I spoke to my vet who told me it would be euthanised if local authorities found it. So I set out to catch it. Having never had a cat it was hard. I left out food for weeks ( which was eaten) a nice bed which was ignored. After four months the cat waited patiently for me to open the front door and greeted me with a hello waiting for dinner. One day I had big garden gloves on and it came close enough to me that I grabbed it and brought it inside. It tried to kill me. A bath, worming was traumatic for both of us. I forgot to mention I had two wonderful dogs who had never had contact with a cat before. So I spent the next four months in the bathroom with it ,allowing it to touch the dogs on the other side of the door. Then one day tragedy happened it got out. The cat was gone. Two days later I was greeted by two excited dogs who showed me a ball of fluff, the cat was back. I quickly went inside with the dogs. And as if nothing had happened the cat walked in the house. The children had obviously worked out their differences and the cat had found its home. The cat was a she and her name became princess mary. In her missing 48 hours she became president. She had 3 children, 2 went to the same home and one remained with me and his name was Sid vicious and he was the love of my life. He died of stomach cancer. Princess mary is now 17. She is independent, feisty and loving when she wants to be. So don’t ever give up on a feral cat, they can give you so much love.

  21. allison says...

    Thank you for this beautiful, and beautifully written, story. Happy tears.

  22. Bobbi says...

    Love this!

  23. Claire says...

    Our Cat Odysseus had a buddy named Sammy from a few blocks over. They would hang out on the deck and just chill out. Sadly, we had to put poor Odie to sleep, after a congenital heart defect caused a clot that was lodged in his spinal cord. We were devastated, and came home from the vet very, very sad. Sammy kept coming back, and hanging out with us on the deck. He got more and more comfortable with us, and would even sit in one or the other of our laps from time to time. One afternoon, our next-door neighbor’s sister was outside, and insisted that Sammy was the cat that lived at their house, plodded into our yard, grabbed Sammy, and put him in their house despite my protests that although he’d lost his collar, his name was Sammy and he lived a few blocks over. I grabbed my husband and we walked around the neighborhood to report the cat-napping, and found that the same week that Odie died, Sammy’s owner had died as well, and he had been living under his old house.
    Well, our neighbors came home to find that their cat had been home all along, and now there was a strange cat hiding under one of the beds in their house. They freed the little scamp, and after staying away for a few days, Sammy was back on the deck. Slowly he started coming inside, and eventually became our little dude.
    He is the most affectionate cat I’ve ever met, and I feel so lucky that Sammy filled the hole left by Odie for us, and we filled the hole left by his previous owner for him.

  24. Alison says...

    Awww!! All these beautiful stories here fill up my heart. My dog and his brother were tiny little puppies when they were rescued from under an abandoned trailer in a rural trailer park in Alabama. My husband woke me up in the middle of the night to see the photo of these two cute puppy faces on the dog rescue website and there was no going back. We met them a few weeks later after their cross-continent flight and a bath, and they were so inseparable that my in-laws adopted his brother so they could visit each other all the time. 9 years later we are still making up stories, complete with accents, imagining Simba’s adventures traveling the world before he came to be our good boy.

  25. Grace says...

    I’ve had my cat Ira for three weeks now. He’s a handsome black cat who hides from strangers, needs cuddles twice a day (but no more!) and is already filling my heart with so much love.

    It’s funny. I always identified as more of a dog person; cats and I just did not get along. The one time I cat-sat for a friend in college, the cat either ignored or tormented me by peeing on the couch, howling in the middle of the night and not coming back inside in the evening. It’s no surprise then, that earlier this year, as I was trying to save my fiancé’s and my relationship with shiny new things (let’s have a baby! let’s buy a condo!), a cat was not part of the mix…

    Back up to the summer before, when my fiancé was away, my best friends, John and Simone, and I were at a cottage during their babymoon (yes, we are that close). I was playing the role of mediator as they argued about whether to keep their cat once their twins were born. Simone won and Ira stayed, but as the months passed, Ira spent more time in the closet hiding from the babies and John and Simone had less time for him.

    Around the same time, my fiancé and I acknowledged that we had changed and could no longer make each other happy. We broke things off and begun the hard, slow process of uncoupling. I also changed jobs, apartments and, after a wonderful trip to Berlin, am considering changing cities.

    Amidst all these scary changes, I’m embracing familiar comforts, including as much time as possible with old friends and family. A few months ago I was over at John and Simone’s house. John was cleaning the Baby Breza (we always joke about how our cleaning and visiting schedules are synched) and Ira was meowing loudly. Mike teased, “Maybe we should have given him away…Grace, you don’t want him do you?!” I’m not sure why, but I said yes. We all thought about it a bit more, no one changed their minds, and, after I got back from my trip, Simone came over for the weekend with Ira.

    After an hour underneath the toilet, he decided he liked my apartment and me. We’ve been at home together ever since. It’s funny how something I never wanted has made me so happy when the person, my fiancé, who I thought could make me happy for the rest of my life couldn’t anymore.

  26. Silvia says...

    This made my day…What a great story 🥰

  27. Nina Lewis says...

    What a story…can’t wait for the book, lol!!

  28. Emily says...

    Oh my goodness! This is the best story ever! I got teary-eyed!

  29. Rue says...

    Our dog came from a breed-specific rescue. The director of this organization is amazing at personality-matching dogs and humans. You fill out an application about what you imagine your day-to-day life with a dog to look like, and then you meet several dogs they think fit that description. Our dog is the *perfect* match for us. The director held his profile and didn’t make him publicly available because she was so sure he’d be the one for us. He was the first pup we met at our “meet and greet” session, and I basically held him the whole time, even while meeting other dogs. The director said, “You know, you don’t even have to meet the others if you don’t want to.” I wasn’t going to turn down the chance to say hi to some dogs, but I knew from the instant he came into the room.

  30. Lorena says...

    ❤️❤️❤️ Crying, in a good way. Our cats were two rescue kitty sisters – it’s been seven ❤️years.

  31. Elizabeth says...

    I found my dog Zeus at the local animal shelter, where 7 out of 10 dogs are euthanized (adopt, don’t shop!!!!). He was in a pile of puppies, and he was the only one who would wake up to play with me. I had to pay sixty bucks in cash, sign an agreement to have him neutered, and then I promptly went to spend about $300 at PetsMart–haha! Almost 12 years later, and he’s the best friend I’ve ever had. He’s still in great health, and I just thank the stars that I wandered into the animal shelter that day to feed and pet the dogs, but ended up leaving with one of the loves of my life. <3

    • Chris says...

      Twenty years ago while driving home, my wife and i we in a argument and not talking. We came thru a park at 2 am and i spotted a dog loose on the side of the rode, and i said just that” i think thats a dog” my wife immediately said where? turn around, i did and she saw us pull up and immediately fell on to her back and wanted her belly rubbed. I open my door to oblige then i opened up the back door of the car and she jumped in. I was a Apartment manager and couldn’t keep i thought, we try for three weeks to give away this beauty who had a shoestring around her neck and large ticks all over.
      God had other plans, i bought about a year’s time telling people at my building she was my sister FBI dog and needed to be socialized, then the best happened i found a house to buy( which we didnt think we could do) at a sheriff sale. And the rest was history. 16 years with my first amazing dog named Gypsy who never need a collar or leash she never left my wife’s side or mine if she wasn’t in the room.

  32. Tess says...

    I cried. Thanks ❤️

  33. Lindy says...

    I met my beautiful cat Annabelle when she found me grilling in my yard. She was so thin and starving. I fed her and she came daily for 2 weeks. Then in petting her stomach I noticed she was a Mommy. I believe someone dumped her off in the country because of her pregnancy. She took me to a huge brush pile in an empty lot, gave a weird meow and up popped 2 little heads. It took me 8 weeks but I finally got them all. They became my lovely pets. I recently had to ease my last girl Shelby’s pain and send her to the rainbow bridge. She was 21 years old and only ill for 1 week, but they gave me a lifetime of love and happiness. I miss them all so much but cherish the memories.

    • Judy says...

      I’m crying right now as I know your pain xox

  34. Kara says...

    Sobbing!! I love this sweet story so much.

  35. Sandra says...

    Aw Annie your comment made me cry! This is a beautiful wish.

  36. Heather says...

    I love this! We have 2 dogs and our daughter’s cat right now….all have a story attached! When my daughter was 14 she went on a mission trip to rural Tennessee. The house they were helping make a wheelchair ramp for had puppies. And no No-Kill shelter. She begged us for 4 days before my husband relented and let her bring the puppy home with the idea that we would take him to a no-kill shelter here. She arrived with the cutest tired, dirty and flea-ridden puppy. $400 and a bath later we had ourselves a puppy! Turns out to be the best dog ever. That was 8 years ago! When our daughter was in college she and her best friend rented an apartment and the first thing she wanted was a pet. A dog was out of the question due to her work and school schedule. She loves cats but the apartment complex said the cat had to be de-clawed. No way was I doing that to a kitten. We agreed she could have one if she found an older cat that was de-clawed. Took her 2 hours! This August, after graduating from college, she moved to Orlando to work for Disney. She can’t have the cat where she currently lives so she asked if she could leave her here. So, of course, the cat falls in love with my husband! Follows him around, kneads his stomach, basically moons over him. We are all a little miffed at this. Luckily the Jack Russell Terrier we adopted 12 years ago loves me! I jokingly call him my 3rd child. We went to a party at a friends lake property and came home with a puppy. We haven’t regretted our choices once!

  37. Mel says...

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful, heartwarming story! Reading this and seeing Grendel’s adorable photos has been the highlight of my week! :) I love how furbabies really do bring a family together even closer. My now two-year old tabby, Junipurr, also came into my family’s life in a very unexpected way – I am convinced she conned me into adopting her :D – and she is hands-down the most wonderful unexpected blessing :)
    https://www.instagram.com/junipurr_/

  38. Margaret Forsey says...

    I met the cat love of my life in an interesting way. I lived in a Halifax basement apartment with a big backyard. On one of the first warm days of Spring, I took a nap with the window open.
    While I was sleeping, a young cat jumped into the window and curled up on my belly, purring! I put up signs around the neighbourhood but no one ever claimed her. So she moved in with me! My first pet of my own as an adult and the most wonderful companion. I named her Sadie Whitecoat. Sadie was a mystery. She had obviously been a stray for awhile….she had little fur dreadlocks…… but right away she was comfortable in my home, and VERY affectionate with me. I loved her so much!

  39. Sue says...

    Love this! My husband loves cats, but always wanted to keep our limit at 2. One day he was on a walk in the neighborhood and saw a woman dumping an 8 week old kitten. He intervened telling her he’d take the kitten off her hands if she’d drive them back to our place. He came in loudly proclaiming we weren’t keeping him – he was going to find him a spot in a shelter. That lasted roughly 24 hrs. 2+ years later and Geddy is the bestest big boi ever, and we’re a 3 cat household!

    • Whitney Perry says...

      Rush fans, I presume!

  40. Hilde says...

    ❤️❤️❤️

  41. MJ says...

    Ok this is the sweetest story ever and that’s just the nicest thing to do for your husband! BUT this cat lover got psyched to see a little calico baby and I think that’s a tabby. Haha

    • Jenny says...

      Yes! I thought the same thing. I scrolled down to the photos at the end and was like…wait a second…not a calico. Haha.

    • Katie says...

      Definitely not a calico! I got confused right away when they started referring to the kitten as ‘he’ and calicos are nearly always female. Lovely story, though!!

  42. Annie says...

    I can’t stop crying! My son is a cat lover, and I hope when he grows up he will end up with someone who will drive 600 miles to get him the cat he falls in love with.

    • Cherie says...

      How sweet💗

    • Gwennan says...

      Oh Annie, I was already crying , but now I’m sobbing. All good though :-)

  43. Kim says...

    Beautiful, romantic and kind all at the same time!

  44. Michelle says...

    WELL! Ya just turned a not so cat person into a teary eyed cat lover. This is the sweetest story. Thanks for making my day and for such a sweet reminder.

  45. Katie says...

    I am so not a cat person, but this story won me over big time <3

  46. Dena says...

    I loved this and I also want to say that I noticed you’re wearing a giraffe onesie in the last picture. I noticed this because I also have a giraffe onesie thanks to costume matching with my son! Happy Halloween :)

  47. Lucy says...

    Yes, yes, the story is wonderful. But . . . THAT ILLUSTRATION!!!

    Was Allesandra just grinning the whole time she painted it? It looks like one huge smile of a family portrait.

  48. Gosh! This is the cutest story I’ve read in a while!

  49. Ramona says...

    We are not pet people, but this is truly a sweeeeet story! So happy for you! 🥰

  50. Adrienne says...

    LOVE! I’ve read the story three times and keep coming back to look at the pictures. Thank you for such a wonderful reminder of joy, love, hope, the magical power of animals – all of it. :)

  51. Abbey says...

    I’m not one to tear up over kitten adoption stories, but this is so simply and perfectly written. Thank you for sharing! (I’m done crying, now smiling :) :) :)

  52. Sarah says...

    Our sweet angel of a dog, Homer, died a couple of years ago in September and I vowed to my husband we’d have to wait a LONG time before I was ready for another pup. By early November I was already scrolling through rescue sites. I’d send my husband screenshots and he’d tell me I was crazy. A few weeks later I saw the picture of a dog I couldn’t stop staring at. He was a Basset mix, caramel in color and skinny as a rail. Even so, his tail was wagging so fast in the picture, it was a big blur and I just knew that was our dog. That next Saturday, I dragged my family to go see him at a rescue event. It was immediate love for all of us. The dog leaned into me SO HARD I knew he was telling me to take him home. I looked at my husband and he said “This dog needs us and he needs us now.” Roy the Basset mix has now gotten rid of his heartworm, bald patches, and visible ribs. He is a couch-sleeping, bacon-eating cuddle bug. While he had never been inside a home before ours, he managed to quickly figure out how amazing pillows are. One of our family’s favorite nightly rituals is to watch Roy arrange the pillows on the couch for his maximum comfort. I’m so glad he’s ours.

    • May says...

      Awww! This made me grin so hard :-)

    • Susan Levitch says...

      Love this story. Lucky Roy

    • Elizabeth says...

      Love to you over the loss of your sweet Homer <3

      It's not surprising to me that you were looking for a puppy soon after that. I think people who feel a true companionship with dogs (or cats) will always have that love to give…it doesn't go away just because we lose a friend. It's good to take time to grieve, if that's what we feel we need. But sometimes having another animal companion around to pour all that extra love into is just what we need.

    • Judy says...

      You never replace a loved one you just find room for one more💖

  53. Tiffany Ensign says...

    I love this story SOOO much! I too have a husband who loves his cat.
    My husband eats yogurt everyday and no matter where Maeve is in the house, she can hear the yogurt lid opening and she comes running. He fixes her a little bowl and everyday they eat their yogurt together. It’s a very sweet bond.

    • Hattie says...

      Tiffany, same with us. When our Lilly smells any dairy products (yogurt,
      cottage cheese, milk) she comes running and waits until she can lick the spoon. I think it makes her coat shiny.

  54. emily says...

    Don’t mind my tears at my desk over my lunch…. This is beautiful and I really needed a story like this right now. Seasons of struggle can bring beautiful things.

    Your tabby boy is just darling. <3

  55. KW says...

    We went to the store for bananas. We came home with bananas and an 8 week old puppy, who transformed our lives in the most wonderful ways. You never know what else may sneak onto your grocery list.

  56. Tammy Thiele says...

    Thank you for the good cry in my latte! Sending this to all my friends that might need a good cry as well. This is the sweetest thing I have read in a long time.

  57. Ren says...

    I love this so, so much. I had 2 rescue siamese cats of my own and once my husband and I married, he turned into the sappiest cat-person ever and now is the one getting up at 6 to feed them and takes his hoodies off to make “cat nests” for them. When we save them, they save us. Thanks for another wonderful post – x

  58. Laura Maldonado says...

    I found our dog in the same way I found my husband, the internet! I use the NextDoor app to look for furniture and at the time was receiving a weekly email from the service. There in the free section was my dog, overgrown blonde hair, an overbite, and big brown eyes. We weren’t looking for a dog at all but one look at her and my heart knew. Our lives are so much better with our girl. She’s the second best thing I found on the internet after my husband!

  59. This is so sweet I can’t even take it! My cat (Jasmine Samuel Pants) and I have been together for 11 years and it was definitely love at first sight when I met her at the shelter.

  60. rose says...

    I love this story so much!! {Just deleted the all caps haha}. I don’t have any pets yet but am in an airbnb right this minute whose owner found her adorable sweet, ultra silky, maine coon mix kitten ALSO IN TEXAS. What’s going on in Texas I wonder? Now he lives here in Boulder.

  61. Angela says...

    I’ve never had the opportunity to pick out a pet, they always seem to pick me. I am truly a dog lover, but consider myself cat-curious. Right now our furry family includes my 13 old man (dog) Sampson, a soon to be 2 year old puppy, Arlo, and our new kitten, Merlin. I found Arlo while driving to work a year and a half ago, darting into traffic on the highway , covered in ticks, full of worms, and obviously out on his own for awhile as he was covered in scars and scratches. I put him in the front seat of my car and called into work to explain my situation. I had no idea he was a Catahoula Cattle dog and would grow so huge and full of love and personality. The timing wasn’t right since we were soon moving and building a brand new home, but he was exactly what we needed. He is a terrible dog and was nearly dropped off at the Humane Society MANY TMES, but he is really cute and cuddly, and so, so good with our kids. I smiled just this morning as I heard his nails click down the hall from my son’s bedroom, coming to tell me good morning, after realizing I was awake for the day. I love the way he loves each of us, but let’s be real- he is MY dog!

  62. Charlotte says...

    Best love story ever!
    We adopted Molly from the shelter nearby, after I convinced my then-boyfriend I really really really wanted a cat (he didn’t). And then the typical guy thing happened: he loves Molly almost more than I do.

  63. N Rogers says...

    That is so sweet! What a great story.

  64. Joanna says...

    Wow. Thanks for making me cry today! I am pregnant with pneumonia and I didn’t know how much I needed this story until I clicked it. THANK YOU for sharing this

    • Kristin says...

      No fun! Wishing you a quick recovery and an uneventful remainder of your pregnancy!

  65. Jeannie says...

    Aww this is such a sweet story. I love what she did for her husband. Definitely brought tears to my eyes. :)

  66. kelsey says...

    Just a guess but I think I figured out why women all over the world are rightfully weeping over this story: weren’t all the BEST books when you were a kid about rescue kittens or surprises, and all the better if both? This is like the grown-up version. Just Pulitzer worthy.

  67. Federica says...

    My dad’s hobby is flying on his ultralight plane and he has a hangar in the countryside of our village where he keeps it. Next to the hangar, there is a farmstead with a fenced area, where the people living in the farmstead kept this dog: half Labrador half something else we have not yet figured out (but from the size of his head I would say a Rottweiler), in a beautiful chocolate color.
    He was all alone all day, he only saw his masters once a day when they brought him food. Every time my father went to his hangar, the dog would greet him barking and waving his tail, he even escaped from a hole in the fence and go to him. My father used to be a bit scared at first – he is a big dog – but soon discovered the dog only wanted to play and cuddle! It had become a ritual for him to go say hi to the dog and even bring him food.
    So it comes a day when the people from the farmstead tell my father they are looking for someone to give the dog to because they are selling the land and will not have a place for the dog anymore (!!!). He immediately said “I’ll take it!” and brought it home. Well, Jack (that’s the dog’s name) is the sweetest dog I have ever met and I am so happy that he came into our lives!

    • rose says...

      . . . sighhhh!

  68. Katrin says...

    Oh my god this made my day. <3

  69. Sarah says...

    I just love this story! It’s exactly what I needed to read today <3

  70. Denise says...

    I saw my Max on a rescue page. He was 12 years old with a heart murmur. He was immediately MY dog and I called the rescue several times, leaving messages. The next morning I drove to the shelter where he was located and picked him up. I had brought a good size pen in the back of my SUV filled with pillows and blankets for his 2+ hour ride home. He immediately started fussing, so I pulled over and brought him up on the passenger seat. As soon as I started driving, he walked across the console and plopped himself down in my lap and went to sleep. He was finally home <3

    • Ana D says...

      <3 <3 <3 <3 <3

  71. ANDREA says...

    Also, a reminder that animals are typically happier and easier to handle in multiples. Especially with cats, I’ve found that the cat is happier with a companion and also easier on the owner. There is a shelter initiative called Pets Need Pals. I agree!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      good point! haylie and her husband had another cat at home already, so they have two now. the other is called Creature!

    • Andrea says...

      Joanna—Your two kids might need two cats! ;)

  72. WMom says...

    Thank you for the happy story! Perfect way to start the day :)

  73. Kelly says...

    Love this story. I really needed this story. I just got turned down to get a Goldendoodle yesterday because I didn’t act quick enough. To drive all that way to surprise her husband was wonderful.
    We all need to do these kinds of things more often.

  74. Sarah says...

    Thank you for this amazingly adorable story that I just happened to *need* to read right this very moment. Not because I found the perfect kitten and don’t know what to do, but because a couple of months ago I was laid off from my job, and have been having a really hard time. This story was an uplifting distraction from job board browsing, but also the perfect reminder that things WILL get better. “…surprising things can happen even when you feel lost in the woods. Maybe especially then.” Thank you.

  75. Madeleine says...

    Best story I’ve ever read. Thank you!!!!

  76. Erin says...

    Sweet story. Isn’t that cat a tabby, not a calico? I have a calico, and she is white with big orange and black splotches. Her name is Puss. Also, I think calicos are almost always female. Get your facts straight! Haha, I am totally kidding (but not about the calico part :) ).

    • Elle says...

      Yes, I was hoping I wasn’t the only one to have noticed that. That’s a tabby or tiger cat. Calicos have both orange and black among their colors, on white (unless they are dilute, then peach and gray). And calicos are indeed almost always female!

      GREAT STORY, though!

  77. Megan Snyder says...

    Oh. My. GAWD! I’m sobbing! This is just what I needed to read right now (stressful work week, cranky 7 year old, etc.).

    I’ll never forget bringing my little boy home (a dachshund schnauzer mix named Owen). An acquaintance posted on Facebook that she had been re-diagnosed with breast cancer and could no longer care for her 8 week old puppy. We leaped at the opportunity to adopt Owen. On the car ride home, he whimpered softly, and I vividly remember welling up, gently squeezing him close to my boob (LOL), and telling him he was safe now.

    Anywho, gonna go cry in the bathroom and work now. Thanks for this lovely post!

  78. Lynn says...

    We were away on vacation when my friend called and asked if I had any experience with ferrets. I thought this was odd and she told me she had found a ferret sleeping in her holiday decorations on her front porch. So strange! Two days later my family returned home from vacation and I went out in the morning to feed our animals (we live on a farm). What should my eyes behold but a tiny, shivering ferret emerging from a pile of hay bales in our barn! What. Was. Happening?!? Turns out, this was another ferret, different from the one my friend found. We put up signs around our neighborhood but got no responses so she kept her little guy and we kept ours and now we have ferret play dates from time to time.

  79. Rusty says...

    Jo….when are you getting your puppy or, better still, rescue dog?
    I keep wondering about this. 😏

  80. Colleen says...

    this is a top 3 favorite Cup of Jo post! what a lovely story for everyone.

  81. Megn says...

    I’ve read this story three times.

    eom

  82. Ivy Farias says...

    How lovely story! Wonderful! I met my Nany on Facebook: her picture was in a page that someone I knew shared. I felt in love imediatly and the shelter brought her to me! She is a sweet dog and everybody knows her!

  83. Erin says...

    Adorable story. Now, can we discuss car safety for a minute … the hot soup, the kitten on the lap, the selfie-taking, the whole driving thing …. ;-)

    • Katie says...

      I think she’s parked up

    • M.E. says...

      The car is in park…

    • Haylie Swenson says...

      I was definitely parked, I promise! Grendel was in his carrier while I was driving :)

  84. sheri says...

    I love this story! I’m not crying, really, I’m not…

  85. Tara says...

    Such a sweet story!

  86. Ali says...

    “Things eventually got better, as things always eventually do.”

    Thank you for the gem among this absolute trove of a story.

  87. Liz says...

    This is the sweetest story!
    We got our cat (Freddy Mercury) from the ASPCA on 92nd Street. I had been begging my boyfriend (now husband) for a cat since we moved in together two years prior. I would watch cat videos and look at cute pictures of kitties on Instagram non-stop. Finally he gave in and we decided we would go to the shelter after we got back from a trip to Greece in October of 2017. I rushed to the shelter after my first day back at work. Freddy ran right up to play and snuggle as soon as he got out of his cage! My husband met me there about 45 minutes later, but I had already fallen in love with the tough little charmer who was found all by himself in East Harlem. He lived with us on the upper east side for two years, and is now settled with us across the country in Portland, OR! I couldn’t imagine life without him, even when he scratches the couch or makes a mess or meows like crazy.

    • FREDDIE MERCURY.

      That’s just icing on the damn cake.

  88. Megan says...

    LOVE.
    My cat is in the end stages of cancer – while this made me cry, it was also happy tears. The picture of the drive home, gah! Hope you have many wonderful years together!