February 19, 2010 06:00 PM

Veterinarian student Anny Beckes and her husband Chris, an American firefighter in Iraq, have wanted to adopt another cat ever since their beloved feline died four years ago.

But they were waiting for Chris, who is stationed at a U.S. military base in Scania, Iraq, to come home this June before shopping around the Fort Collins, Colo., area where they live.

“Chris loves big cats and for some reason there are a lot of them in the Larimer County Humane Society where I volunteer,” Beckes, 25, tells PEOPLEPets.com. “Chris wanted me to send photos but that wasn’t enough. He really had to see the cats personalities!”

So Beckes, who is studying veterinary medicine at Colorado State University, asked the vet at the shelter if she could use Skype, the free video Internet service, so Chris, 34, could see the available cats in action before she brought one home.

“The doctor said yes, and it was so much fun,” says Beckes, who first told her story to KCNC-TV in Denver. “Chris quickly fell in love with an animated orange tabby named Garfield, who has big bones and weighs 14 pounds.”

Now, when Chris and Anny talk on the phone at night, the firefighter wants to see Garfield, whose name is being changed to Smeagol for the character in Lord of The Rings.

“We have a seven-year-old mini dachshund named Balrog, also named from Lord of the Rings, and for some reason he gets along great with the new kitty,” says Beckes. “Balrog can show attitude but the cat just ignores him and wants me to pet him. Then he purrs like he is very happy in his new home.”

See more happy adoptions on PEOPLEPets.com:
An Adoption Story: Why I Brought Home a Senior Pet
California ‘Dumpster Dogs’ Find a Home Sweet Home

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