Adopted Chihuahua Inspires Mom to Foster 17 Dogs (and Counting)

The love of little Junebug motivated Alyssa to give back to other pets in need.

Alyssa + Junebug

An adopted Chihuahua captured the hearts of her family. Their gratitude for their loving little dog inspired Alyssa to help other rescued pets get a second chance.

"While Junebug’s adoption has “paid it forward” a hundred times over in terms of helping other rescue dogs, the connection she has given me to the rescue world is something else entirely. This work gives me a feeling of motivation, pride, satisfaction and belonging."

Four years ago, my husband, Erik, and I saw a Facebook video of a tiny Chihuahua in a pink dress doing her signature trick (sitting upright to get attention). We instantly fell in love and adopted her!

Fast forward a year, and it felt like Junebug had been with us our whole lives. She was the sweetest and kookiest dog, and I was filled with gratitude for Hope Animal Rescue for allowing us to adopt her… so I started volunteering!

Adopted Dog Junebug

I began volunteering at adoption events and, shortly after, we started fostering. We have since fostered 17 dogs (mostly senior dogs and those with medical needs), and that would not be possible without Junebug. Of course, she was the one that motivated me to start fostering in the first place. Besides that, she has helped many of the dogs come out of their shell, feel comforted, and learn what it’s like to be a dog again. She always welcomes the new dogs into our home. Within a few weeks, she is usually playing (or attempting to play) with them as if they lived together for years. We were told that several of the fosters we brought home “might never come out of their shell and feel secure.” Then, after proper introductions, they were playing with Junebug.

Adopted Dog Junebug

If it were not for Junebug, I would not be fostering adoptable pets. I also would not have dedicated the countless hours I have (happily) spent on other forms of life-saving rescue work: photographing adoptables, designing marketing materials, working on fundraising campaigns or coaching adopters. While Junebug’s adoption has “paid it forward” a hundred times over in terms of helping other rescue dogs, the connection she has given me to the rescue world is something else entirely. This work gives me a feeling of motivation, pride, satisfaction and belonging. With rescue work, I’m never at a loss for ideas and I am always excited about the next project. It makes me proud that I’m doing something about an issue that I’m passionate about. And I love seeing my positive impact first-hand when a dog gets adopted to a loving home. Above all, I am now bound to other like-minded people by friendships created through rescue work — people who I would have never met had it not been for Junebug and Hope Animal Rescue.

Adopted Dog Junebug
As many of us rescue volunteers see the constant influx of dogs, we sometimes wonder if we are truly making a difference, or is it “just” one more dog we are saving?

So when I get in that mindset, I try to see the big picture and remind myself that it’s a ripple effect. It’s never just one dog affected. Minimally, it’s one dog and one human life that has been graced with unconditional and unending love. But most of the time, and in my case, it’s much more than that. Thank you, Junebug, for all of the love, laughs, and entertainment you provide, and for allowing me to share your impact on the world.

Adopted Dog Junebug

Each year, the Petco Foundation invites adopters to share the story of how their adopted pet changed their lives during the annual Holiday Wishes campaign, giving the organization that they adopted from a chance to receive a grant award. This story by Alyssa won Hope Animal Rescue in Durham, North Carolina a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.