FBR Real Pet Stories™ has the purr-fect story for Valentine’s Day – Ruppert’s story! We hope the heartwarming tale of love for animals and adoption from a research facility fills your heart with delight this February. Without further ado, meet Ruppert.
I fell in love with Ruppert right away. My drive home with him after his important role as a training cat in a research lab was emotional. Let me tell you about it.
Adopted From a Research Facility
I’ve worked in biomedical research since 2003. We were always told not to get too attached to the animals. That changed in 2012 when my company established an adoption program.
I had the opportunity to adopt Ruppert in September 2015. He was a training animal. Technicians worked with him to learn basic procedures such as shaving, dosing and blood draws.
My family was fostering a rescue greyhound that we were hoping to adopt, but that plan fell through after it bit my youngest daughter. I was discussing how upset my girls were with a coworker who ran the adoption program. She mentioned there was a cat that needed a home and asked if I would be interested.
I fell in love the moment I saw him. I got very emotional and started crying the day I took him home as I drove through the gates at work. I felt so happy and fortunate to be able to give him a home. The technicians already named him Ruppert. My family thought it fit him well, so we kept the name.
He also came to us during a hard transition. I was going through a divorce and all the pets stayed with my girls’ dad so our dogs could stay living on a farm. It was nice to have a cat in the house. Ruppert was a great comfort and quickly became my bud and constant companion.
Ruppert’s New Home
It was amazing watching him react to and explore a new environment, so foreign to living in a lab setting. He was very tactile and would pat his paws on everything like he was testing out the waters. His transition was a little rough; he was inappropriately spraying everything and acting out. I figured out he was just lonely. I got him a little cat buddy from the local shelter named Maceo, and from then on he was great.
Ruppert and Maceo relax.
We call him our cat-dog. He loves to play fetch and will drop his toys at your feet repeatedly to throw again. He wants constant company and attention, not typical of any cat I’ve ever owned. He has no fear and immediately greets everyone who comes over. Everyone is always threatening to kidnap – no, “cat”-nap – him because of how awesome he is.
We also have a dog now that I rescued, named Zero. He’s an American bulldog mix of some sort. He and Ruppert are best buddies. Even though Zero is a big tough looking guy, he knows that Ruppert rules the roost.
Ruppert and Zero are best buds.
My kids and I love him so much. I get joy out of watching him live his best life every day. He has been great company during the pandemic and is always trying to help me with my work. He loves to sit by my computer and knock all my things off the table – and same with my daughter’s home schooling materials. (ALSO READ: Arrow’s Story: How a Loving Home Helped a Poodle Overcome Trauma)
Ruppert helps with work.
A Word on Research
Animal research and testing that take place at facilities like the one where Ruppert lived before adoption contribute to lifesaving medical advances for people and pets. Animals play a role not only in basic research to study diseases but for the development of medical advancements including drugs, surgical techniques and vaccines. It is an honor that Ruppert came to live with me after his time helping laboratory animal technicians with training.
Karen Shanley, BS, CMAR, RLATG, is an animal welfare compliance professional at Charles River Laboratories. Thank you, Karen, for sharing your story and photos with FBR.