Take it from Sky: Never too old for a new beginning

Susan Dotson poses with her recently adopted cat Sky, along with her rescued dogs Sweet Pea, from left, and Pepper Potts.

Rob C. Witzel
Published: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, June 5, 2013 at 12:30 p.m.

“Home at Last: Tales of Rescue,” coordinated by Hilary Hynes at Alachua County Animal Services, profiles the success stories of families and their rescue pets.

They say a cat is blessed with nine lives, but what about a 9-year-old that’s turned in to the animal shelter? Could she compete with cuddly kittens and playful adolescents for a chance at a new home?

Sky, a domestic short hair, found herself dropped off at the Alachua County Animal Services Center last November -- her owners were moving away and said they could not take her with them.

She was a loving and affectionate feline, and quickly found her way to Animal Services adoptables, where she waited to be among the chosen.

And waited. And waited some more.

Finally, Susan Dotson, a self-described “big time dog person,” visited the Alachua County Animal Services shelter for the February adoption event. Susan decided to check the cat room. “I saw this big, beautiful older cat and thought how unfair to end up at the shelter,” remembers Dotson, regional operations manager for the Florida Department of Corrections.

Sky played her cards just right, kissing and cuddling up to her potential new owner, and it wasn’t long before Dotson decided to adopt Sky and bring her home to Lake Butler, where she already had four cats, five dogs and and five horses on her 40-acre property.

The minute Sky got to Dotson’s house she became part of the family, says Dotson. “Sky is a lap cat, but if a lap is not available, she goes to her room and climbs into bed.”

When Dotson’s in-laws recently visited, Sky “worked her magic.” They had never quite understood Dotson’s love of animals until they met Sky. By the end of the visit, they were asking her to bring the cat along when she comes to visit.

Sky is Dotson’s fourth rescue cat. “I have to admit, she may be the last one adopted, but she definitely acts as (though) she has always lived with me,” she says.


Sky is one of many animals that find their way into animal shelters across the country. It takes only a few minutes to visit your local animal shelter or rescue group. That visit could save a life. There are many ways to look for your new four-legged family companion. Petfinder online or Pet Harbor online are two. Alachua County Animal Services is always here to help. For more information on adoption, stop by.

— Hilary Hynes, public education program coordinator, Canine Good Citizen evaluator, Alachua County Animal Services, 3400 NE 53rd Ave., Gainesville, 352-264-6881, 352-213-1241, heh@alachuacounty.us.

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