These pets love their human mamas so much.

We feed them, love them, clean up after them, play with them and protect them. If you have pets or foster pets, you’re an honorary mom (or dad). So, this year for Mother’s Day we’re celebrating pet moms who make their furry or feathered family members the center of their world. And the feeling is mutual.

Here are stories of just a few moms and their pets around the Sanctuary. While it’s safe to say that none of these animals bought or made Mother’s Day cards, they love their human mamas with all their hearts.

Molly and Professor Booty

Molly sitting with Professor Booty the cat on the couch

Best Friends photographer Molly Wald and her cat Professor Booty have been through a lot together. But the Professor, who is nearly 19 years old, is still going strong after two surgeries and chemotherapy treatments. While he’s busy beating cancer, he still loves having heart-to-heart chats with his mom.

Kelsie and Trigger

Trigger the black dog pulling Kelsie uphill on a hike

Kelsie Linneweber, a veterinary technician at the Sanctuary clinic, tells us about her dog, Trigger: “I adopted Trigger after he came in to the clinic where I was working in Indiana. He’d been hit by a car and was paralyzed in the back end. I helped with his rehab and he started walking again after about two months. He has made steady progress over the year I’ve had him and he continues to do new things, like jump on the bed and run through the snow (this winter), which he couldn’t do even a couple months ago. We’re working on his endurance for longer walks and hikes. He’s the perfect mix of playful and snuggly couch potato, and I’m grateful he came into my life.”

Jana with Sange, Paco and Lula

Best Friends co-founder Jana posing with her three small dogs, Sange, Paco and Lula

Best Friends co-founder Jana de Peyer says: “My furry kids bring joy into my life. One came from Nevada, another from Florida and the other from Texas. All were unwanted until they arrived at Best Friends and then my home. They are a band of mischief makers, play seekers and love givers. What could be better than that?”

Penny and Ufro

Ufro the cat up on a cat tree with Penny petting him

Penny Nelson-Newman, a local volunteer, is a mom to Ufro the cat. The handsome kitty needed a foster home because he tends to eat things that are not food. At the Sanctuary, his caregivers were careful about the items in his room so he wouldn’t swallow anything dangerous. The next step was to see if he still tried to eat plastic and paper and other things when he’s in a home. Penny opened her door and welcomed Ufro — quirks and all. In fact, since he’s been at Penny’s house, Ufro isn’t snacking much on things he shouldn’t. He’s even made friends with Penny’s dog, Frido, who also was a foster “son.” Penny’s got a special touch for fostering, and Ufro’s feeling great because of it.

Become a pet foster mom (or dad)

Amy and Captain Turkey

Amy sitting on a couch with Captain Turkey the parrot and a dog looking at them both

Parrots tend to pick their people, and four years ago Captain Turkey chose Amy Thatcher to be his mother. The two are inseparable. Captain Turkey has been coming to work with Amy for about three years and he assists her in her role as administrative assistant in the Sanctuary’s maintenance department., “He laughs when I laugh, sings when I sing and makes siren noises while I am driving,” says Amy. “Being his mom is truly a gift every day. We go everywhere together, and he never fails to make people smile and laugh, which always brightens my day. He changed my life four years ago, and I can't wait to see what the next 40 years has in store for us."

Valorie and Bobby

Valorie holding Bobbie the dog who she had adopted

Since 2007, Valorie Kacherian has been to Best Friends many times to volunteer. Over the years, she has adopted dogs and cats from the Sanctuary, and when she does, she chooses senior pets or those with special needs. She brought Bobby home a few months ago and says, “He is almost always right next to me or following me like my very own shadow.”

Katherine and Birdie

Katherine holding Birdie the cat who she had adopted

As a receptionist at the Best Friends Animal Clinic, Katherine Van Hagan sees a lot of homeless pets coming in for emergency surgery or other critical medical care. But Birdie was the one who captured her heart. Birdie was badly injured after being caught in a trap. She needed surgery and lots of follow-up care while recovering and has learned to walk again. Through it all, Katherine could see that Birdie wasn’t just a rock star patient, but also the sweetest, most affectionate cat. As soon as Birdie was well enough, Katherine welcomed her with open arms.

Caregivers and their “babies”

Woman wearing a protective gown sitting on the floor with a litter of puppies

Rosalie on the ground with a litter of piglets

Janice holding Tony an orange tabby neonatal kitten

We would be remiss if we didn’t tip our hat to all the Sanctuary’s surrogate moms — caregivers who work hard every single day to make sure that all the animals in their care are happy and healthy. Whether they are puppies, kittens, piglets, bunnies or senior equines, these animals will always be their caregivers’ babies.

Adopt a pet of your own to love

Photos by Molly Wald, Kurt Budde and Sarah Ause Kichas