In the Spring of 2014, a college student living in Miami walked into a shelter to see a scared, skinny dog with a serious skin condition.
For Samantha Kreisler, their connection was immediate. Despite being discouraged by shelter staff, she knew she couldn’t go home without the lonely pup who needed her.
“Lady was actually named Lucy by the shelter. When I got her, her skin on her back legs was so bad and infected, we called her ‘Lady Eczema,’” Kreisler said.
“Once she was healthy we dropped the ‘Eczema,’” she continued, jokingly adding that the name change was “for her self-esteem.”
With love and care, Lady’s physical wounds healed, but it soon became apparent that there was still emotional trauma she hadn’t overcome. The pup suffered from severe separation anxiety, something that Kreisler could pacify for a year or so… until she began working toward her Master’s degree.
“When Lady was a puppy, I took her everywhere,” Kreisler explained. “Everywhere…to classes…out to eat (it’s Miami so we always ate outside). I studied marine science and my campus was on Key Biscayne/the beach, so I would take her to the beach pretty much daily.”
Lucky for Kreisler, her beloved pup was also welcome on campus.
“With permission from my professors, I took her to every single class for the rest of my college career. She was always so well behaved and just loved being around people. But when I started my Masters, I couldn’t bring her to class anymore.”
That’s when the dog mom knew she had to find a solution — and fast.
“I started to notice that Lady would get physically sick when I would leave her—she would vomit, have diarrhea and chew on things incessantly. Even if it was only for a few minutes, she would freak out. So I thought to myself, ‘what is the cure for loneliness?’ A friend! I got Kitty the next day.”
Kitty, formerly named Roo (“she never responded to it, so we changed it to Kitty,” Kreisler said), was a lonely soul, just like Lady had once been. But even before bringing the kitten home, Kreisler had a hunch that her pup would welcome the purring pal with open… paws.
“Before I got Kitty, Lady had a love affair with my next-door neighbor’s cats Penny and Bruce…Lady would constantly sniff, lick and try to play with them. Our apartments were across from each other, so Lady would stare longingly out our window and wait for one of them to sit on the windowsill and stare back. So we always knew Lady would be in love with a kitty of her own.”
Needless to say, it was love at first sight when Lady first laid eyes on the once-wayward kitten. While Kreisler says that the pooch may have “come on a bit strong” with her overwhelming love, it wasn’t long before Kitty returned the affection of the doting dog.
Now, they snuggle, groom, nap, and play together constantly. Better yet, Lady’s separation anxiety has decreased significantly, and Kitty also finds companionship in her big canine sister.
“The cat is a stress reliever for Lady. They don’t care that they aren’t the same species, they’re best friends and sisters. I think that because they both had lonely starts in life, they’re dependent on each other for emotional support and stress release. Lady has her very own therapy kitty! “
“They do everything together. They wake up and groom each other… They eat together (they’re both very noisy eaters its like a chewing symphony when they eat). And play all the time. All. The. Time.”
“The funny thing is that Kitty is the bully. She is usually the instigator of the play fights. And Lady is so incredibly gentle, sometimes she just stands there with her mouth open not even biting.”
These inseparable pals prove that sometimes, a friend can make all the difference in the world.
“They are sisters and best friends. They are there for each other when they need it. Sometimes I feel like a third wheel. It’s their world, we’re all just living in it.”