The bond between you and your pet is stronger than almost anything, and sometimes you just know it the second you meet each other. We recently asked pet guardians how they fell in love with their dog or cat, and we can't help but get a little teary-eyed at the answers. Here's how they found their lifelong friends and knew that it was meant to be!
Image via Jacob S.
"On my way to school I almost ran over this stray dog, and she periodically started showing up in my driveway afterwards to terrorize me. During the night I would let her sleep under my heated lamp because it was getting cold out, but during the day she was on her own. She'd stare at me and bark loudly, but there was one week where she didn't come back at all. I assumed someone had given her a home, but then she showed up on my front porch with a broken leg. I took her to the vet, who told me she should have her leg cut off. Instead of doing that, I went home and wrapped her leg up, and she now lives with me happily on all four legs." -- Jacob S.
See also: 16 Of The Most Adorable Pets Up For Adoption In The Midwest
"I found him at the county shelter. I was looking at this big fluffy Maine Coon. One of the volunteers opened Gizmo's kennel to clean it, and he hopped through the open door into my arms, cuddled up to my chest, and started purring his little heart out. How could I say no to that? He is the sweetest, most cuddly and affectionate cat I have ever known, and I love him just to death. He keeps me company at night while my husband is working and follows me to bed to sleep on my pillow." --Reddit
See also: Pet Owners Are Sharing Weird Stories About Their Pets, And It's Hilarious
Image via John R.
"In college I lived with four other people. One of my roommates and I went to the Humane Society to just look at the dogs, not really intending to actually get one. We saw this half-chow, half-shepherd stuck in this tiny cage along with four other dogs. Imagine, five dogs in one kennel! They were all going crazy, barking and jumping, all except for this one dog who was just chilling in the back and watching us, calm as can be. We knew right then and there that we had to get her and adopted her without even asking our roommates!" -- John R.
"Woody came from outside the kitchens in the Royal Hampshire Hotel in Leicester Square, London. My wife and I were sharing a house with the doorkeeper who hated cats. One day he got a taxi all the way home instead of the Tube and said 'you like cats so much, you have have the horrid thing' and shoved a tiny kitten at us. The kitten had been loose around the bins for a couple of days before being brought home, living off scraps and getting water from melon skins. Now we give her all the melon skins she wants! Sometimes it's good to have a grumpy neighbor." --Reddit
Image via Charlie T.
"When we went to the adoption center, my heart had been set on a golden lab puppy. We walked from cage to cage and peered at each little doggy, and they stared and wagged back happily. With a happy purple-tongued smile, Oscar, an Aussie shepherd chow mix, greeted us about every two seconds at eye level — because he was literally hopping with excitement to see us. The decision was instantly made. Eight happy years later, he can still vault his excited smile high enough to meet eye to eye." -- Charlie T.
Image via Allison B.
"During college, my then-boyfriend really wanted to get a cat, but the dorms didn't permit them. But while I was at work one day, he went to a nearby shelter anyway "just to look" and came home with SammyCat. The boy said Sammy jumped into his arms and wouldn't stop talking, so how could he resist? Well, the boy eventually went away, but SammyCat stayed with me, chatting more than any cat I'd ever known and moving across the country with me for new adventures. SammyCat was there through countless boyfriends, job changes, apartment moves and life events and was my very best (and most opinionated) friend for his entire 16 years. I miss him every day." -- Allison B.
See also: These Stories Prove Dogs Are The Smartest Creatures On The Planet
Image via Kelsey S.
"My friend and I went to the Humane Society just to look around because we heard they had just gotten a liter of kittens. There was a room that they all were in, so we went in and I saw this cat that had half her nose orange and the other half black. She was so tiny! As soon as we walked in, she pooped in her liter box. I knew I had to get her because she was cute and was already liter trained!" -- Kelsey S.
"I first came across Shay while fostering for a shelter. She had just gotten in a pretty bad dog fight and needed to get out. First rescued from a dog fighting ring, then through several homes due to unfortunate circumstances, she finally ended up with me. I went to meet her, and she was wearing a filthy, smelly thunder jacket. The shelter said she was so anxious that she had to have it on at all times. She was also on 40 mg of Prozac. Once I got her home, all she wanted to do was sleep. I started working with the shelter to lower her medication. She was so lethargic all the time, and I wasn't noticing any of the anxiety I was warned of. The first thing I did was get the itchy thunder jacket off of her and she seemed so much happier to be rid of it! After two months, Shay got off all of her meds and was no longer living only half of her life. She's now a calm, confident, and brave dog that loves everything that life has to give her." --Reddit
"We'd just lost my husband's black kitty Mischief to lymphoma and were discussing adopting a new kitty from a local shelter. I decided I wanted a white kitten, something I hadn't had for ages. Not long after we had buried Mischief, I started hearing little meows from outside. We have lots of visiting strays and one neighbor with his own cats, so I initially tuned it out. 20 minutes later, I realized the meowing was sounding more distressed, so I grabbed an umbrella and went out in the pouring rain to see if a kitten was stuck somewhere. I found a tiny white kitten, no more than 3-4 weeks old, face-down in the wet grass and seemingly unable to get up. I took it inside where my husband was waiting with a towel and wrapped it up, rubbing her dry and keeping her in my arms until she quieted down and fell asleep." --Gamin D.
"When I was a kid I was afraid of dogs, so even if anyone in the family wanted one, it wasn't an option. That is, until Shiloh came along. My neighborhood had no leash laws, so people just let their dogs run everywhere. Our next-door neighbors had moved away and left their dog behind. The dog was lonely and hung out in our yard, and every night she would sleep under my sister's bedroom window. We felt sorry for her, so we fed her hot dogs for a while. Then it was time for our annual road trip to Grandma's, but we didn't want to leave the dog all alone, so we officially adopted her, named her Shiloh, and introduced her to Grandma." --Reddit