If Super Bowl commercials prove anything, it is that America has a soft spot for animals. The same is true in the Bransford household, where four dogs, two cats and a newt have started new lives.
Junior Anna Bransford has grown up with a plethora of pets, rescuing one after another, each with a backstory more heart-breaking than the last.
The Bransfords adopted Wilbur, a chihuahua terrier mix, through the Animal Friends Rescue Project, and they soon returned to bring home Darcy, another chihuahua mix found at the King City Airport after having just had a litter of puppies.
Though both are sweet, Bransford explains that Wilbur greets everyone he meets, while Darcy remains a bit on edge with most people apart from Bransford’s brother, Ben, with whom she is completely enamored.
The family found their next dog when they were introduced to a 1-pound teacup chihuahua who was taken away from her mother too early. Now 4½ pounds, fully grown and often jokingly referred to as a rat, Peppy can barely leave Marilyn, Bransford’s mother, without crying.
Their most recent rescue was found coming back from a trip to Yosemite, when Max, a Labrador-Terrier mix, was spotted along the side of the road, starving and sick in the over-100 degree heat. Though Max is still anxious, he is beginning to play well with the others, a major feat.
The Bransfords’ cats include Tabby, who spends most of her days lounging around the house, and Otis, who leads a drastically different life from the one he began in. As a kitten he lost much of his fur after being caught in a storm drain; however, now gifted with a sleek black coat, Otis is spoiled with affection and treats from the Bransfords and their neighbors.
Although he is not fluffy and lacks a tragic story, the family’s final animal, Mr. Newt, was welcomed just as warmly as the others after being given to the Bransfords upon the retirement of his former owner and one of Ben’s elementary school teachers, Charlotte Roberts.
Despite difficult beginnings, the animals of the Bransford household have found new starts and buried their way into new hearts.