Stealing Harpo's Hearts
Fancy was the adult kitty cat peering into the kitten room window, longing for just as much attention as the kittens received. Her unkempt coat and crazy eyes kept away most visitors, but something about her silly little face drew me to pay her a visit. When I made the choice to enter her private room, it was love right away. This little girl cuddled up into my arms and stole my heart.
Now Fancy spends her days grooming her coat to the purr-fect fluff and shine. She loves to chase her laser beam and bat at the air. Her favorite pastime is listening to the piano, happily perched on the chair beside me while I play and sleeping each night in the windowsill watching passers-by and morning squirrels. The truth is, Fancy Cat chose me, and I sure am glad!
— Tina, sales coordinator
From the moment I saw him, I knew he had to be mine. It was something about his cute little face that stole my heart. Once we were together in the playroom, the first thing he did was lay in my lap, and of course I melted. That was the deal breaker! But since I was living at home at the time, I had one big obstacle—my mom. She wasn't a huge dog fan, so I knew this wasn't going to be easy, but when she saw him, she too knew he had to be ours.
I truly believe he was meant to be with our family because in so many ways he's just like one of us. When he wants your attention he will make it very known. If he wants you to wake up and take him out, he doesn't take "no" for an answer. He will sit on the bed and stare at you until you notice him, and if that doesn't work he'll take a stronger approach by sticking his nose in your face until you wake up. If music is playing, watch out! He's a dancer and will jump and bark to his favorite tunes. When he has an itch, he will lay on your lap and roll over and stare at you as if it's your job to scratch him. He was meant to be with my family, and I will always be happy I walked into the shelter that day and found my son.
— Sylvia, advertising sales coordinator
Molls, who is actually my niece dog, is much more interested in activities like watching TV, eating people food and being posed like a living stuffed animal. She really could care less if you made her sit up like a human, arms in front, staring forward. She'll just stay there and glance at you with those adorable eyes until you move her into her next position—or share your turkey sub.
— Stephanie, senior producer
Drake loves to cuddle and nap in cozy blankets. He's extremely mellow and just wants to love. Walks can take awhile as Drake has to greet everyone he meets! He's the perfect gentleman though—he immediately sits when people walk by so they can pet him.
A funny quirk about little Drake is his mouth curls up on both sides so when he sleeps, he looks like he's smiling. Happy home, happy dog.
— Kelly, ad operations coordinator
When Gabriel was a kitten, his older brother, Trent, came and woke me, and led me into the kitchen, just like Lassie. I heard Gabriel meowing sadly from behind the refrigerator—he had jumped on top and then fallen behind it. I wasn't strong enough to pull the refrigerator out from its niche in the wall, so I made a rope out of a bedsheet, and I tied it to a chair jammed up against the front. Then I hauled myself over the top of the fridge, jumped down to rescue him, and then back out (over the coils!). He never went up there again, thank goodness.
His favorite toy is the feather on a string, and he is a big fan of our heating blanket. He hates having his nails clipped, and he never goes outside, because he is afraid of the Big Room.
— Erin, Web developer
— Anna, copy editor
I admit it—Rusty and I had a love-hate relationship at first. My mother brought Rusty home the day after I left for college. Feeling uncertain and out of my element in my dorm room, I called home after my first night away and she told me they had found my "replacement." Clueless that she was even looking for a dog, I balked. My mom then told me I had a "new sister," which didn't make matters any better. I decided then and there that since the family made the decision without me, she would never be my dog. As my mom sent photos of Rusty and my sister, Rusty in a baseball cap, Rusty lounging in the sun, I put each one in the back of my desk drawer. To make matters worse, when I finally met Rusty, she wouldn't even look at me.
But secretly, I liked Rusty. She was shy around strangers because of the abusive conditions she lived in, and we warmed up to one another as the years went by. For such a big dog, she was a total couch potato and spent hours batting around her dog bed until she had it just the right way. Then, she'd nap for hours. When she woke up, she ran figure-8s around the yard. She'd put down the pig ears she loved and would bark in her two cents if there was a group of us chatting in the living room. She sunbathed practically nose-to-nose with my little sister. She even created holiday memories—one Thanksgiving, she escaped from the backyard and the entire family took off after her. Needless to say, she left us in her dust.
As the years went on and I moved out on my own, Rusty always welcomed me home. The love and compassion she showed my family during some tough times is the legacy she left us after her passing last spring.
— Joan, associate producer
— Christine, senior producer
For the next month, we looked to find her a good home. Because she was so small, we had to keep her in our bathroom when we weren't home so that the other cats wouldn't hurt her. As we searched to find her a good home, we grew more attached to her and finally decided to keep her. It took awhile for our cats to accept her, but after several months she became part of the crew.
It's now nine years later and little Isabella and our two male cats Whiskey and Maynerd are still with us, along with our dog Smokey (who she's good friends with). She's about half the size of our other cats, meows like a kitten and is a total lap cat. We are grateful that we made the decision to keep her as she has been a wonderful addition to our family!
— Dianne, project management director
Gracie was a 10-month-old pup who just had a litter of puppies herself. She was found under a shed with the puppies and brought to an animal rescue group. She was lucky to be rescued by such a great group (a no-kill group), but all the inquiries that had been coming in were for her puppies. No one wanted the "mom"—who was just a puppy herself! Except me. I talked on the phone with Gracie's (who at the time was being called "Latte" due to her tri-coloring) foster mom for a couple of hours, and by the end of the call we were arranging for Gracie's trip to California.
As soon as I met the shy little border collie mix with the beautiful coloring, I fell in love with her. She had such dignity and "grace" for having gone through what she did and had this wonderful way of laying down in front of me and crossing her front paws. Alas, "Gracie" got a new name.
I have had over a dozen dogs during my lifetime, but Gracie is special. She is the smartest dog I have ever owned, and she doesn't leave my side. Gracie has run along side me on the beach and in the mountains in California while I rode my horse, and she is now by my side while I ride in the fields and forest preserves in the Chicago area. Miraculously, Gracie seemed to have come to me knowing every command there is! I spent very little time teaching her, yet she is the most obedient dog I have ever owned and just instinctively knows what I want of her just by looking into my eyes.
I love Gracie—she's beautiful!
— Carol, senior attorney
For seven years, he was my constant companion, seeing me through illness and health (and a few more bad boyfriends!). He died unexpectedly just before Christmas a few years ago while my mom was putting up the Christmas tree. We had a candelight ceremony, read a Rumi poem, and buried him in the garden beneath the snow. I know that he came into my life to show me how to love myself as well as to remind me that it's always better to let my light shine for the world to see...and to meow a little bit when the mood hits!
"I have come to drag you out of your self
and take you in my heart.
I have come to bring out the beauty
you never knew you had
and lift you like a prayer to the sky." —Rumi
— Marlene, programming producer
— Robyn, director of editorial and design