Adopted Dog Helps Grieve the Loss of Her Packmate

When her best friend crossed the rainbow bridge, Maile gave her mom the comfort she needed most.

Marge + Maile

Marge found her perfect match in Maile, who was beloved by pets and people alike. When her family went through the grief of losing a pet. Maile made all the difference.

"Maile, a tail thumping, Black Lab mix, brought a new energy to our home. Humphrey was 8 years old and Maile brought back his playfulness. It was a joy to watch their relationship grow."

Maile (sounds like Smiley) joined our household on September 1, 2012. Her predecessor, a female named Pele, had crossed the rainbow bridge in 2011. Humphrey, our male dog, had a year to “rule the kingdom” so it was time to invite the next “queen” into our home. Having been a supporter of Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary for years, I asked if they had an energetic female, 2 to 3 years old and compatible with a male dog. Soon they had the perfect match.

Adopted dog Maile

She was a stray. The people listed on her chip denied ever having a dog. Maile, a tail thumping, Black Lab mix, brought a new energy to our home. Humphrey was 8 years old and Maile brought back his playfulness. It was a joy to watch their relationship grow.

Adopted dog Maile

Maile has been my “cuddle bug” in my retirement following 21 years as a Child Protective Services social worker. She brought balance by teaching me to “take time to smell the flowers” by her frequent requests for affection and verbal reassurance that “You’re a good girl, Maile. I love you!” Having been abandoned/abused as a young dog, Maile has afforded me an opportunity to make a difference in her life as I did in the lives of the children I worked with over the years, a win/win.

I had polio as a child and it is important that I exercise regularly to maintain my joint and muscle
flexibility. Maile encourages me to be faithful to my daily two-mile walk by going to the porch each morning where my walking shoes and her leash are kept — in essence saying, “Mom, it’s time to go for our walk.”

Adopted dog Maile

Enter Summer of 2019. My husband left for an extended stay on the Mainland leaving just Humphrey, Maile and me. Humphrey, then 15, was declining in health and my heart told me it was time to help him cross the rainbow bridge. The decision was even more difficult since Humphrey was primarily my husband’s dog. With the help of special friends, Maile and I said good-bye to him on August 15, 2019.

Maile has been my companion in a very special way as we grieve the loss of Humphrey. I have watched Maile visit Humphrey’s favorite spots, often lying down and spending time. Sometimes, Maile sits at the top of the porch stairs just gazing out as if to say, “Where are you?”

Adopted dog Maile

Previous health issues have resurfaced as I mourn Humphrey’s passing. Using what I learned in grief therapy at hospice and Maile’s ongoing, loving presence have brought me great comfort these past three weeks. Maile has been at my side as the tears flow, and they are flowing as I write this story. I have been truly blessed to have this precious, faithful, canine companion in my life.

And now it is time for us to go for our walk, knowing that Humphrey’s spirit walks with us!

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 Marge won Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kurtistown, Hawaii a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.