Chicago Finalist #1 )
In October 2012, I picked this pit bull type dog up from a rescue group’s boarding facility to foster. She was covered in scars and bite marks. She made no sound and had very little interest in us. I put her in the front seat of the car; my husband and my other dog were in the back seat. She smelled bad and she looked defeated. I drove home thinking, “What have I just done? Did I put my family in jeopardy?” I had very little history on her. Her scars and wounds were the only history that I had. The “what ifs” poured through my head. Time proved all my what-ifs wrong.
After Zoey got well and healed, I had this sweet girl who absolutely loved people, all people. She became much more confident out in the community and with other dogs. She knew that I would keep her safe, and we developed this incredible bond. I ended up adopting her. We went on to be a therapy team. We worked really hard at becoming one. The day we passed our therapy evaluation and canine good citizen test I got in the car and cried. Tears of joy streamed down my face. I was so proud of us. I promptly drove her to the nearest McDonalds for a cheeseburger.
We have been a therapy team for 6 years now. We’ve had the opportunity to volunteer for several reading programs, a local hospital, a group home for kids that have been abused and neglected, and a youth correctional facility. Zoey is a registered therapy dog through Pet Partners, Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy, and is an Ambassador dog for the Safe Humane Program.
I often refer to Zoey as my soul dog. I truly believe that we were always supposed to be together. Zoey and I have volunteered in our community, changing the negative views that people have for pit bull type dogs, and showing the importance of the human/animal bond. Zoey has made me realize that sometimes in life, you just have to take the leap, trust that things will work out. Take chances and dive into the deep end. Taking home that smelly, beat up pit bull that day changed my life, and I didn’t even know my life needed a change. I would take that leap a million times more for her. I wake up thankful everyday, and I feel so honored to have such an amazing dog by my side. We are living our purpose.
Chicago Finalist #2 )
He was found abandoned at 6 months old, on a couch, in an alley, in the winter. He was named Couch Puppy, and he needed a foster home. It was a busy time of year in our family with our son and his sports. We were not thinking of taking in a foster at that particular time, but his picture, video, and my FTF mentor tugged at my heart. He needed us.
Little did we know, that little guy would spend the next two months, not only showing us how loving, gentle, and affectionate Pitbulls can be, (it completely changed how we perceived the breed) but he’d find his way into our hearts as we were fostering him. We knew that he was meant to be a forever part of our family, permanently.
We officially adopted him and named him Mac. He brings us constant joy, love, and laughter. He is the piece of the puzzle that was missing, and is now complete. We could not imagine our lives without him.