Adopted Dog Helps Family Surf Through a Rough Patch

Nicole and her husband intended to adopt a cat. Instead, they met Libby.

Nicole + Libby

A cat-loving family took a chance on an adoptable dog and found a loving companion who brought hope and inspiration in difficult circumstances.

"Libby has brought us immense joy. Her life is packed with fun, love, soft places to nap, and adventures: like riding a paddle board, watching dolphins and fish from our boat, riding a skateboard, having picnics in our '74 VW bus, visiting the farmers market, watching beach sunsets and celebrating her birthday with neighborhood dogs."

Adopted Dog Libby

My husband is an artist and I’m a writer. We have always identified ourselves as cat people — folks with little time or energy for dogs, so we opt for easy-to-manage cats!

We were lost when our two cats passed after 18 wonderful years, but finally decided it was time for a kitten and on June 3, 2017, we went to an adoption event at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue. Upon arrival, we were directed to another location because we were at the building for dogs only, so we headed back to our car.

Then my husband said, “While here, let’s just see what they have.” I said, “But we’re cat people!”

Adopted Dog Libby

When asked the type of dog we wanted, my husband said, “Something small; good for a boat. A female. Maybe like a Jack Russell? Friendly and easygoing, for sure.” I was surprised. I had no idea he had put so much thought into it. The gal at the rescue said, “I’ve got your dog.”

We looked at each other, shocked, and were ushered to a room. Soon after, she brought in a tiny, scruffy dog, with thin, messy hair and a freckled, shaved belly. She told us the dog had just arrived from a shelter, had just returned from surgery, and hadn’t even had a bath, so she wanted us to use our imaginations. This dog looked like a mess, but the more we watched her, we saw she was even-tempered, happy, calm, affectionate and, with all the stress in her life, easygoing. She also had the most amazing, expressive eyes. We knew she was meant for us, and we drove home with her that day.

Adopted Dog Libby

Libby has brought us immense joy. Her life is packed with fun, love, soft places to nap, and adventures: like riding a paddle board, watching dolphins and fish from our boat, riding a skateboard, having picnics in our ’74 VW bus, visiting the farmers market, watching beach sunsets, celebrating her birthday with neighborhood dogs, and more. She also adores her little cat sister Lulu, whom we also adopted at Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue — the two have loved each other since the day they met and are the best of pals.

Adopted Dog Libby

When Red Tide hit hard in Sarasota in 2018 and we lost the art buyers who depend on coastal tourism, we braced for a tough winter with no sales. But then we came up with an idea, and Libby played a big part. My husband designed an image of the things we love about our Gulf, with Libby riding a surfboard at the crest of a wave! The shirts were a hit, featured in several publications and appearing on ABC-7’s Suncoast View (with Libby herself on the set). Sales got us through a rough patch.

So, not only did Libby save our lives (and our financial outlook) during Red Tide; she also filled a void we didn’t know we had, and we cannot imagine our lives without her or our sweet Lulu.

We’re so glad we took that wrong turn at Nate’s. . .

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 Nicole won Nate’s Honor Animal Rescue in Bradenton, Florida a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.