Adopted Contract Working Dog Rides into Retirement in Style

Thor’s big loves include car rides, couch snuggles and Abby.

Abby + CWD Thor

A cross-country move became the best adventure thanks to Abby’s new best friend, a retired Contract Working Dog named Thor.

"He loves riding in the car more than anything else in the world. He’s just so excited to be going on a car trip, and his joy is contagious."

In college I began volunteering at K9 Hero Haven (K9HH), an organization that rescues retired working dogs. After my dog of 14 years passed away, I decided to fill the void by offering to foster for K9HH in my college apartment. When my fifth foster dog of four months, K9 Demo, got adopted right before my graduation, I thought I was finished fostering. However, K9HH’s kennel was overflowing, so I agreed to take a dog just briefly. I welcomed Thor, a retired narcotics detection dog that spent his career in Afghanistan. Unlike my other fosters, he lacked the intensity and extreme energy of a typical Malinois; he was calm, cuddly and instantly made himself at home on our couch.

Adopted Working Dog CWD Thor

As my college days came to a close, I was job hunting. My work with K9HH convinced me that I wanted to have a career with working dogs. Then, I got a job at an amazing organization, the Search Dog Foundation, which turns rescue dogs into disaster search and rescue dogs. I was thrilled to get the job, but it meant that I would be moving from Pennsylvania, where I grew up and attended school, to the other side of the country in California. The thought of moving 3,000 miles away from all of my friends and family was daunting, but then I realized I didn’t have to go alone.

Adopted Working Dog CWD Thor

So I decided to adopt Thor just a few weeks after I began fostering him. A week later I packed my car with a few suitcases, and my most precious cargo, Thor. My nerves turned to excitement we I began our journey.

Along the way we drove through 12 states, stopped in Nashville, The Grand Canyon, and even Las Vegas. He loves riding in the car more than anything else in the world. When he first gets in, he screams his head off, people think he is scared but in reality he’s just so excited to be going on a car trip, and his joy is contagious. During our road trip, we stayed at hotels along random highway exits in the middle of nowhere. I would normally feel a bit uneasy, but having a big toothy companion cuddled up next to me made me safe.

Adopted Working Dog CWD Thor

Being completely alone in a new place is hard, and even after months of being here, it can still be lonely. However, Thor gives me the confidence to do things that I otherwise would not do alone, such as go lounge out on the beach, walk around a new town, or sit outside a café. He even accompanied me on the first day of my new job and helped calm my nerves. Having my K9 sidekick with me 24/7 helps me not feel alone.

Adopted Working Dog CWD Thor

Thor loves retirement, he can’t wait to go to work with me every day and have play sessions with his canine friends. I am so grateful that Thor came into my life when his career ended and mine began.

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 Abby won K9 Hero Haven in Herndon, Pennsylvania a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.