Winners who have won our hearts

At Baxta, we’re massive advocates for all animals, big and small. And we’re here to support them with our pet-loving community — whether it’s fighting animal cruelty, encouraging families to adopt pets from shelters, or sharing important information.

To bring awareness to the ‘adopt, don’t shop’ initiative and the importance of animal rescue, we searched for the most heart-warming rescue stories from Baxta’s community. We want to thank everyone who has contributed their beautiful, touching stories. Your love and dedication to giving rescues a fur-ever home are amazing. For the rest of us, read on to discover the pet rescue journey of our winners. Learn how their experience has changed their lives for the better.

STORY #1: From catty tabby to gentle loving friend
– The story of Ossa and Meru
By Gemma

Meru, a hyperactive, boisterous, boy-tabby, was rescued from the RSPCA. All we know is that he was found as a lone kitten in the heat of summer.

Looking back, Meru was never suited to being an only fur-child. In the beginning, he had behavioural issues and would often focus his efforts on us as his prey (we have plenty of scars to show for it). After nine months of walking around our apartment with water sprays on hand, Meru’s behaviour was getting too much for us to bear. Following vet advice, we started searching for a second cat to keep Meru occupied. His behaviour at this point was so bad we felt we had nothing to lose.

Enter Ossa, a miniature ten-week-old from the Kitten Sanctuary, who came into the picture. She was the only girl and the runt of the litter of 5 rescued from someone’s garage. On the day we visited the Kitten Sanctuary, Ossa enthusiastically climbed the sides of her rescue pen above her brothers (all twice her size) and yowled the loudest to be let out. She fit the bill as a tough enough spirit to take on our Meru.

We took our time to introduce them to each other. However, once both cats connected, Meru’s aggressive behaviour vanished overnight (and hasn’t returned!). Both cats enjoy daily chases around the house, but it is clear they’re besotted with each other as we often find Ossa lovingly licked by Meru. To this day, they’re rarely in separate rooms of the house. I couldn’t tell you the last time Meru preyed on me like he used to. The moral of my story and experience is that two rescue cats are much more manageable than one!

Story #2: The beauty and spirit of Phoenix, and her battle to live
By Jen

I first met Phoenix, a five-year-old English Staffy, in October 2016. Sadly, before she was rescued, Phoenix was used for breeding and baiting. Within weeks, from the day I brought Phoenix home from Monika’s Doggie Rescue, she had firmly claimed my heart and has been by my side ever since.

Phoenix was often anxious about people, reactive to other dogs, and completely unsure of herself. Two months into living with me, she suddenly became extremely unwell. The vet quickly put her on a drip, and not long after that, they rang me and asked me to rush her to emergency at the Sydney Uni Vet Hospital, where she spent a terrifying five nights. Twice the hospital called me to come in and say goodbye to her as they were not expecting her to survive the night. On the fourth day, they rang again, but all I could hear was chaos. I assumed the worst.

Luckily it turned out that my little girl had taken it upon herself to “help” the receptionists by jumping onto the counter to greet all patients and arrivals. She had miraculously recovered and was wagging her tail with such enthusiasm; paperwork was flying everywhere. So to my relief, the hospital was just calling to say, “Get your girl!”.

To this day, I have no idea what caused Phoenix to become so ill; her organs were shutting down; nothing was working. I’m glad she is a fighter and knows how much she is loved. I think that’s why she hung in there. This year, Phoenix will celebrate her 10th birthday and her 5th Gotcha Day! She is the reason I work with rescue groups and why I am passionate about promoting adoption and Staffies.

Phoenix changed my life. And as a result, I fostered rescues (for three years) and then fostered-failed the longest-term resident of DoggieRescue – an Australian Terrier who is terrified of the world and bites first and asks questions later. He is now Phoenix’s little fur brother and has found a safe home that Phoenix and I created. Often, he looks to her for reassurance, and she tries to teach him to play. In her enthusiasm to have a good friend, Phoenix sometimes knocks him over and whips him in the face with her wagging tail – more times than I like to count!

My family loves Phoenix very much. To the extent they’ve fought over her when we visit. Even friends and strangers in our neighbourhood love her. I believe she is slowly changing the stigma around Staffies. I think rescue dogs love you more than you love anything in the world; because you are their world to them.

Story #3: The foster fail — Falling in love with Nala
By Nicole

On the 29th of June, we collected our very first foster dog — two-year-old Nala. She had been left by her previous owners and was tied up outside a pound in Griffith. It was clear no one had shown Nala much love before.

Nala spent a few nights in the pound and was then transported to us. By the time we collected her, she had completely shut down. She was terrified and anxious most of the time, and she always looked so sad. It was heartbreaking — my partner Shaun and I really doubted if we had enough experience to help her.

Some days it felt as if we’d taken two steps back in the trust we were building with her, and we blamed ourselves for doing the wrong things. But we had committed to Nala and said that we would help her find her feet for 14 days before she was adopted, so we continued on.

Slowly but surely, she started to find herself a bit more. After an abundance of love and a whole lot of patience, she’s become my shadow. Although it took a while, she now loves Shaun and feels safe when he’s close to her.

Nala is still afraid of the rain, ceiling lights, loud noises and is wary around new people (men in particular), but we’re getting there. This week she finally plucked up the courage to jump out of the car at the doggy park. She had a ball and ran around with her furry friends.

For a dog who has had a very tough start, Nala is extremely loving and good-natured, and we’re committed to making sure she has a happy life with us! She doesn’t look as sad now, and her tail wags all the time!

We may have failed as foster parents as she’s not going anywhere, but we will succeed as loving parents to our Nala, who has completely stolen our hearts.

Story #4: A heartwarming tale of Albee our rescue
By Emma

Albee was adopted from the Sydney Dog and Cats Home in April 2020. He was extremely matted, very skinny, aggressive towards other dogs, suffered from separation anxiety and was scared.

Not long after Albee joined our family, we discovered he had heartworm. His case was quite severe as he had adult worms and microfilariae. We quickly decided to go ahead with treatment even though we knew that there was only a 50% chance of him surviving. Each day Albee has to take approximately 4 different tablets a day. He was completely restricted from exercise because he was at risk of having a pulmonary embolism. This also meant we had to carry him absolutely everywhere he needed to go. (this included going outside to do his business). Albee’s treatment also included a series of arsenic injections to kill the worms. He had to be sedated morning and night to keep him relaxed. After a very long treatment, and months of being stuck inside on the lounge, Albee was finally no longer infested with heartworm!!

Now that Albee is well again, he enjoys going to the park (although he is still learning to be friendly), loves lying in the sun all day, going on long walks, catching flies in summer and getting big cuddles! He is a very good guard dog and has little quirks that make everyone laugh. Plus he loves learning new tricks.

Adopting Albee was the best thing we ever did and it feels so great to think that we saved his life and turned a bad beginning into a dog’s true life!


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