Savannah's Paw Tracks

Autobiography of a Former Shelter Cat

Real Rescue Dogs Are Talking…



A Bi-Monthly Series Featuring Adult Rescue Dogs and Cats

Oh Cat!!! Do I have a couple of great canine furriends here with me today!!! You are so going to luvluvluv them both!!


Now you probably already know them by their blog, but you may not know all about how they came to be together…I know they have been paw bloggers since 2006 and if you have been following them, then you may already know their rescue stories…but rescue stories are always worth telling again… and so without waiting…

Purrlease help me give a warm welcome to Dave and Zim from The Army of Four!!


Zim and dave current

Savannah:  Arrrwooo Zim and Dave!!  Thanks so much for stopping by to have a woof with me.  And I see Dave is kind of over there behind you…is he napping???  Anyways, you two decide who barks and when, ok?

 Zim/Dave:  Ha roo, Savannah!  Wowzers, is this cool!  Dave and I really appreciate you taking the time to interview us.  I’ll do most of the answering, if that’s OK.  And umm… yeah… that’s Dave.  He’s umm… on Guard Duty behind me.  A-hem.

Savannah:  Now, Zim, I think maybe you found your furrever home before Dave, is that right?

Zim:  That’s right, Sav-a-dab-a-do.  I got here in July of ’01 and Davy adopted us in January of ’02 — just 6 months later.

Savannah:  Can you fill us in on how you, Zim, and then Dave, ended up in the same furrever home?

Zim:  Well, to make a long story short, it was just meant to be.  What’s that, Dave?…(Zim leans over to whisper with Dave…woo-woo-rroo—arwoo—woo)

OK, I got it Dave…(turns back to Savadabado)…Dave said maybe that’s too short.

So here’s how it went…through a series of events that certainly weren’t my fault, I landed at the local shelter when I was about a year and a half old.  Mom and Dad had met me in the neighborhood after a Good Samaritan took me in (then gave up on me).

They found out about my unfortunate incarceration and tried to spring me the very day I got there.  Unfortunately, since the guy who turned me in wasn’t my “owner”, they had to wait 5 days (shelter rules).

Mom came and hung out with me and read to me every day—and brought smells of my future sisters with her—until I could go home!  (Mom and Dad had two incredible girl Sibes at home just waiting to adopt me into the fold—Stormy and Amber!)

Six months later, a Siberian Husky rescue group in Oklahoma contacted Mom about a Sibe in our shelter.  Would she be willing to go see if he was adoptable?  If he was, would Mom be willing to do a short-time foster, then help transport him down there into a foster home? (We live in Kansas)

Mom ran with it, pegged Dave as a snuggle-bunny right from the get-go, and Mom and Dad brought him home the next day.  They thought Stormy, our alpha, wouldn’t really accept an adult into her home (Dave was about 4 years old at the time), but they figured they could keep them separated until it was time to head to OK.

Dave knew he was home from the instant he walked through the door!  Me and Ammy loved him right away, and Stormy…well, it was interesting!  Dave didn’t really understand pack dynamics and wouldn’t do what Stormy told him to like us redheads did…but he was so nice, she was OK with it.

He captured Mom and Dad’s hearts, and when the time came to take him on his journey South (I think it was like two days later), they made the decision:  Foster Failure.  Mom called the folks in Oklahoma and told them Dave had already found his forever home.  The Army of Four was born!

Zim and the 3

Savannah:  That’s some story Zim.  What a pawsome furramily!

Zim, I know you have been in your home a long time now, but when you first came, could you arwoo woo a bit about how you and Dave adjusted to your new home and learned to trust your Mom and Dad?…and of course…you had to fit in with Amber and Stormy too! Some challenges, huh Zim?

Zim:   Ahem…koff, koff…Savvy, I don’t like to dwell on it too much, but yeah, problems adjusting for me…(Zim looks off into the distance…quiet…thoughtful ears)…Yeah…(turns back to Savvy)

Well, Savvy, I basically had given up on life.  See, what Mom, Dad, and the vets pieced together was that I had been chained to a tree for the first year and a half of my life.  I’d never been trained, socialized, and walked… never been in a house, in a car, on an adventure…nothing!  I was afraid of most people (especially women).

Much of my bleached-out coat had been cut or shaved, and I was clinically anorexic.  It was a major accomplishment if I could eat 5 pieces of kibble at meal time because my tummy was so shrunken.  And you know what?  I just didn’t care…errrr…ummm…Savvy, do you mind if I take a minute and let Dave answer?    Then I’ll get back to how I coped with it all!

Savannah:  Oh Zim, no problem.  You just sit there…Savannah turns to Dave…Hey Dave, come a bit closer…there, that’s good…why don’t you pick up here for a bit, OK?

 Dave:  Sure Savvy, no problem.  Thanks, Zim.  I was at the shelter screaming this high-pitched Siberian Death Scream for a month or more!  In fact, they named me “Yodel” there because of the scream.  (Sibe furramilies all know what that sound is like…high pitched and ear splitting!!)

As soon as I laid eyes on my mom, though, I let out a soft, gentle “woooo”.  The lady at the shelter said she would have given me more time if she’d heard that sound sooner.  Yeah.  “More time”.  … I had already been scanned a second time to check for a microchip and was scheduled to be put down that very day.

Zim bro Dave

Mom asked the lady if PLEASE she could give her enough time to fill my Dad in on the plan to “foster” me (har woo!) and she promised she was going to spring me.  The nice, nice lady remembered Mom from when she read to Zimmie every day, and cut us some slack.  God was very busy helping me out that day!!!

Anyway – because I’d been in the shelter so long, and because of conditions before that, I have a real problem with being crated…or even kept in the bedroom with the kiddie gate up.  Basically…I can’t stand being away from my Mom.  I still haven’t gotten over any of that.  I can’t help it…(hangs head slightly, softly woos)…Ok…I think that’s enough from me…Zim?…you ready to woo some more with Savvy?

Zim:  Thanks, Dave.  Sav, basically everything was a challenge to me—from trusting to learning the rules to even eating!

Savannah:  Zimmerz, you and Dave had pretty different challenge from each other, huh?  If it’s not too personal, can you bark and woo about stuff you each tried out to learn to show your Mom and Dad more of your REAL SELVES??

Zim:  Mom tried all kinds of stuff to help Dave over his fear of being crated and stuff, but …he just can’t get past it.  She let me and the girls show him that it’s a great place to hang out, she gave him treats in there, she only put him in for 5 seconds at a time and praised the daylights out of him—but no.  He FREAKED!

It’s funny, though—she took the door off one of our carriers, and once she did that, Dave thought it was a great place to nap.  Just—not with the door on!!!  It’s his one thing, and Mom and Dad just don’t ever crate him or kennel him.  (Or me.)

Dave in the carrier

With me, as you can imagine, I needed a LOT of training!  I was a wild man.  I mean—think of it from my perspective!  For instance, what was the difference between the dining room table and a hill?  Nothing!  So why not jump up there and lift my leg on the flowers up there – right?  Apparently not a right thing to do.

Mom didn’t want to discipline me, though, because of how afraid I was of people.  She knew I was in a fragile state, so she just praised the daylights out of me when I did good stuff!  (I learned what to do by watching my sisters!)

So who DID discipline me?  Stormy…our alpha pack leader!  She could reach me in a way Mom couldn’t   When I did jump up on the table, Mom saw, but didn’t want to react.  Stormy did, though.  She waited for me to jump down, then grabbed me by the neck and explained to me as only a Siber-mom could…that we do not use the centerpiece or anything else in the house as a “marking post”.  Who knew?  Storm took care of me like that, correcting me when I messed up.

Zim meeting Ammy and Stormy

Zim meeting Ammy and Stormy

She took care of me in another way, too…as did Amber.  As I said, I really didn’t want to and couldn’t  eat.  Stormy got drinks of water, then came over to me and had me lick her muzzle.  And Ammy…my sweet sister Ammy!  At meal times, she would take kibble out of her own bowl and bring it to me!  Is that the kindest thing you’ve ever heard?  She was incredible!  She taught me about love, showed me there are some people you can trust, and that there really IS good in the world.

I was able to trust my sisters in ways I just couldn’t trust Mom and Dad.  I mean…not at that point.  But Mom and Dad were patient and let the girls help me…I studied everything and saw how they treated them…and that helped!

Once I got stronger, Dave came along!  Guess who taught me how to play?!!?  That’s right, my big brother Dave!  What a guy!

Savannah: Oh Zim, hang on a sec’ ‘kay?? (Savvy turns to paw away little tear with her hankie…sniff, sniff…turns back to Zimmerz)  Oh, thanks for waiting Zimmerz, sorry about that…it’s just that I can’t believe how much Stormy and Ammy showed their love for you and how much they wanted you to be a member of their furramily…nice.

So, after some training with your big sisters, how were you able to start showing your REAL SELF and how did you do that…I mean, like what did you do that was different from before this home?

Zim:  It took several months for me, Savannah.  A long, gradual process!  Mom and Dad were patient and kind (but with consistent training), and Dave and the girls were a huge help to me.  Everything about my real home was different from the place I came from.  Everything!

And now, I can’t wait to go on adventures with Mom…I get to ride shotgun and help her with traffic and stuff.  Remember, I had a problem with women at first, and now, Mom is like my best friend!  Oh yeah, and, ahhhh…ummm…I haven’t done that ‘hike the leg’ thingy for years in our house…and food is definitely a lot  more interesting to me than in my early days…woo wooo!

For Dave, it was pretty immediate.  Ha roo roo roo – what a fun guy right from the get-go!

Zim and Dave

Savannah:  This has been just great.  Now Zim, last question for you guys.  Can you offer any advice to our readers to help them support their adult rescue dog, or one they may be thinkin’ about bringing into their home, through its transition into a new and loving home?

Zim:  I would say don’t hesitate to adopt an adult pet!  We CAN change, we CAN learn, and oh, do we have a lot of loving to give!  Just be patient with us; we want to please, we just have to figure out how to do it.  And don’t hesitate to ‘think outside the box’…like my Mom and Dad letting my sisters handle a lot of my training and mentoring.  I was so much more trusting of other pups than of people!

Dave:  Yeah.  And some of us come pretty well-trained already…and CAN win over alpha dogs!  Stormy and I became really great friends!

Savannah:  Zim and Dave, you have been just pawsome!  I learned so much about you I never knew and how you both have overcome so much to be able to live as your REAL SELF!  Any last thought or words of wisdom you want to share?

Zim:  We both advise everyone to live life to its fullest!  There are so many great adventures out there waiting for you—give a shelter pet a second chance at sharing them with you!

Savvy, thanks again for doing this!  We appreciate you taking the time to do the interview…and especially appreciate your readers taking the time to check us out!

Dave:  I agree!  And thanks, Savannah!  It’s mighty nice of you to do this!

zim and Dave split

ummmm…yeah sure guys…although sometimes it’s hard to tell if you really “agree” on things…MOL…

Give them more APAWS!!! Weren’t they pawsome!!…sometimes I wish I was a Siberian…sigh…but I don’t think I am brave enough yet…

That’s my last Real Rescue Dogs and Cats Are Talking Interview for 2012! I am honored to have had TEN courageous adult rescue dogs and cats bark and meow with me…and I hope I can encourage SEVEN more dogs and SEVEN more cats to share their stories with me. I want to run my series for one year and I am almost half way there.


Thanks for coming by, Paw pats, Savannah

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71 thoughts on “Real Rescue Dogs Are Talking…

  1. i went over to their site on google and said Hiya xx
    so – talk soon savannah xx
    and much love x

  2. beautifullllllllllllll story
    forever and furrever ……………………….YAY 🙂
    huge love xxx

  3. The AO4 all have great rescue stories and we think they were very fortunate to find the wonderful home and humans they have. Great post, Savannah.

    Woos – Phantom, Thunder, Ciara, and Lightning

  4. That’s a beautiful story!

  5. What beautiful doggies!!!!

  6. Another brilliant interview Sav!! What great guys!!

  7. mistletoeandhitch on said:

    I don’t know what happen Savannah, but I know I posted a comment yesterday. I did it twice because I had to refresh the page when the post comment button didn’t show up. Well anyway, you’ve do another great interview that made the HuMom get leaky eyes. We think you should absolutely put them all in a book. They really convey how wonderful an adult rescue can be. We already follow Zim and Dave and we are so glad we got to learn more about them. Great job.
    Purrs to you,
    Mistletoe & Hitch
    RWB. (Readers Without Blogs)

    • Hey Mistletoe, waves to Hitch..I can see him sitting there behind you Mistletoe!! ANd hi Miss Dorothy!! I found you other comment stuck in my spam file, sorry. And that is great that you already know Zim and Dave, aren’t they fun guys!!??

  8. spittythekitty on said:

    The Human and me has hadded a leaky eyed day between this story and Allred showing up home after being missing for 30 whole days! I don’t really understand the happy/leaky-eyed deal, but we is happy!

    • Oh Spitty, I know about Allred, and I was so stunned he came home after 30 days…and I don’t mean to be critical, but when any biped lets us kittehs go outside, not enclosed or on leash, then we kittehs are open game for so many cruel things to happen. I was sure Allred would not come back and am so happy he did. I hope they keep him close from now on. And thank you Spitty for coming by and reading my post…it is indeed a very happy ending for Zim and Dave! warm hugs, Savvy

  9. Wow between this interview and Allred showing up at his home after being gone for 30 whole days the Human and me have hadded a leaky-eyed kinda day, but in a good way! XOXOXO

  10. Thank you for innerducing me to Dave and Zimmer. They certainly are remarkable.

  11. What a very cool story of four beautiful woofies! Nice to meet you guys!

  12. Your interview was…so moving. What some of these rescues go through is unimaginable and those who rescue them are to be commended. We also rescued a dog that had some real fears of being crated and obviously food was an issue as he was emaciated at the time. That was our Toby, who went on to live a full and happy life after that fateful day we saw him at the shelter. Kuddos to Dave and Zim for working through such a difficult time and coming out all the better…thanks to his wonderful humans who rescued them.

    • thank you Miss Sage for your compassionate comment…and someday if you are willing, perhaps you and your bipeds can share that rescue story with me in a Life Changing Interview with Savannah, you choice. And for dogs, crate training is a ‘gift’ and a ‘punishment’ and only bipeds determine what the nature of that becomes…just a thought, Savvy

  13. hi Savannah here, I am not sure I understand your comment?? I guess your comment was for Dave and Zim? I would like to understand if can tell me what you mean. Thank you, Savannah

  14. What a beautiful family!! Learning from new siblings is really good (keeps you out of trouble hehehehehehe)…we know that this is a happy story but Mummy Janey’s eyes got all wet and her face all crumply (AGAIN!).
    Rescues rock!!!
    The Maple Syrup Mob

    • Woot Woot for rescues!!! Mom and I have totally luvluvluvd doing this series and hope to do 7 more months to make it ONE YEAR!! So, how does Heathcliff feel about being in a BOOK!!! Mom will email once she figures out what we will do, but we already have an editor so paws crossed, Savvy

      • Heathcliff thinks it would be a wondeful way to show how rescues bring joy and love …he’s gone all shy now!
        Jane xxx

        • Hi Miss Jane! give Heathcliff some soft paw pats from me. If I decide to try doing a book I will send out notification to all my interviewees to ask their permission and to get a release of some kind. I can’t imagine suing a cat, but who knows! I don’t think I will be writing a best seller!! happy to see you, have a wonderful holiday season, paw hugs, Savannah

  15. And that is just the khondensed fursion!

    Great interWOO Khytty Breath!


  16. We were so honored to do this interview, Savvy! Many thanks to YOU and to your readers for the wonderful comments!
    Oh. And thanks to your mom, too. Ha roo roo roo!
    Play bows,

    • Zimmerz!!!! play bows back!!! arrrwoooowooowooo…see I have learned Siber speak!! I MUST BE part Sibe…Mom is hoping so…thank you ever so much for your contribution and openness and I am just sad I never knew Amber and Stormy, what great lady-dogs!

  17. Pawsome interview as alway´s Savannah !
    Furry glad that Zim and Dave found such a good forever home 🙂

  18. That is a great interview Savvy. We didn’t know about Zim and Dave before.

  19. My first time here, Savannah. What a wonderful post – I got a little teary-eyed just reading it. I’m so thankful for furrever homes; I was a shelter kitty too before my Motor Mommy came and I adopted her!
    Love, Sundae

  20. I’ve heard Dave and Zim’s story before but it always brings a tear to my eyes. It’s so so so beautiful. We love rescue!


  21. Such an incredible story of love and although my whiskers got a bit weepy wet, they did grin up in the end! Wonderful interview!

  22. mistletoeandhitch on said:

    That was a beautiful interview Savannah. We follow Army of 4 already but we didn’t have any idea of their story. So often people see pure bred animals and assume they’ve have cushy lives. Thanks for showing how false that is. And for letting people know that you can rescue any bred or type of animal that touches you. For our HuMom black cats hold a special place. And since Hitch adopted us she has a special fondness for grey&white kitties too! Some girls just like troublemakers! (Disapproving look at HuMom). You gave HuMom leaky eyes today, but she laughed too. I’m pretty sure that means you really did good, You and your Mom should defiantly put these interview all together. You would both touch people and help adult rescues find their furever homes. Great job.
    Purrs to you,
    Mistletoe & Hitch
    RWB (Readers Without Blogs)

  23. catfromhell on said:

    Savannah – Wow! What a story, Me gots all leaky and had to stop reading and then comes back later. Poor Zim. But with patience, yes wes can change!
    If yous is looking for a rescue story, me would bes happy to tells yous mine in the new year.

  24. That was a great interview. I love a happy ending.
    Thanks for visiting Shelter-cats! There’s a cat named Santana at PAWS waiting for a home that reminds me of Savannah. A beautiful grey and white girlcat. You can see her here – Actually she has made many appearances on my blog. Type Santana into the search bar and see. She’s been waiting for well over a year and she’s such a great cat!


    • I was at Kitty Corner for a year when Mom and Dad found me last Dec 2011, they were just starting to volunteer. They had just lost their last before me kitty at 17. They met me, hiding in my dark cubby bed like always, and took me home to foster to help me be more social. They knew I had a long recovery road ahead, and in Jan 3, 2012 they “GOT ME” and we are a furramily now! I had been dumped in the kill shelter’s night drop box, and that shelter had me at 2 different Petsmarts, one month in each, and no one wanted me (I was 4 years)…so I was to be destroyed and a Kitty Corner volunteer took me to foster for 5 days until Kitty Corner had space for me. Then no one wanted me either until Mom and Dad, but at least at Kitty Corner I was safe. whew, long reply, sorry…thank you for coming by…Savannah

  25. Very good to meet the family of four! I love their story, and they are so beautiful, off to visit their blog now! 🙂

  26. Woozers! Thanks fur interviewing our furiends Dave & Zim, we learned a lot about them we didn’t know! Of course, we already KNEW what great Sibes they are, but didn’t know thier back story (they’re very humble about it & don’t dwell on their pasts). we have to say, we “knew” Story & Amber thru the Ao4 blog, and they were both terrific Sibettes! We’ll have to go back thru your rescue series & read more great interviews!

    ~Jack & Moo

    • waves paw at Jack and Mo!!!! Welcome!! I luvluvluv Zimmerz and Dave! They are the first two Sibes Mom and I found to follow, then we found Miss Khyra over at Khyra’s Khorner and then we found RA through Twitter…you can see we luvluvluv SIbes in this house…Mom and Dad had 3 you can see about them on my page OTRB and I did a post about before me Mischa and another about before me Crusty just recently. I am doing before me Rose in a couple of days. paw pats, Savannah

  27. Great fun and very interesting post Savvy,xx Speedy

  28. Chancy and Mumsy (Mag) on said:

    Another Pawsome interview sweet Savannah. We smiled, laughed and had tears but are so happy for the outcome. What amazing sisters Zim and Dave have and all four sweeties are beautiful! We are hopping over to visit them. Hugs and nose kisses

    • oh good, enjoy your visit! You will notice that they are now only 2, the sisters passed OTRB a while ago. But not before doing some pawsome parenting with Zim! And you Chancy, and Scouty and CC were the start to all my interviews. paw pats and play bows to you my furriend, Savvy

  29. Sniffs…what a fabulous rescue story!

    • awww…just think, Scouty and CC started this along with Chancy…you were my first interviews. Thinking about a self published book at end of one year to offer to shelters to give away when they adopt out adult cats and dogs…what think you about that? paw pats, Savannah

  30. Sorry I had to laugh and imagine a big dog jumping on the table and leaving his mark hee hee :-), so glad Stormy sorted that issue out. Found it amazing how the other dogs took over in being there. Fantastic story xxx

  31. da tabbies o trout towne on said:

    this bee a grate inters view savannah…N dave N zim,, sorree ya both hada reeeely reeely ruff start but WAY glad ya both R in yur forever homes now with amber & stormy N ya pawsum parents !!

    • Hi Tuna, Boomer, Dai$y and Sauce!! THanks for coming by. I do try hard to be a good and responsible interviewer. Purrleased you like this one with Zimmerz and Dave and yes, they have found a pawsome furrever home. ummmmmm…but Stormy and Amber went OTRB a while back. I think Dave may be 12 now and Zim maybe 10? What a great Army of Four they made up for a long while though. paw pats, Savannah

  32. *Note to self, do not read these stories at work.
    Thanks for sharing.

  33. Thank you so much for this interview! It was like a christmas gift for me to met this wonderful sibs and to read their story. Savadabado – you are the BEST!!!!!!!

  34. I got leaky eyes over the kibble sharing. So incredibly sweet. Just lovely how they’ve become a family.
    great interview Savvy, thanks for sharing xxx

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