Adopted Dog Helps his Mom Overcome Grief

Lil Mac brought Kayla healing hugs, kisses and loving companionship.

Kayla + Lil Mac

After the devastating loss of her sister, Kayla could not find her way out of depression. Then she met Lil Mac, whose love, hugs, grin, and penchant for peanut butter helped lift her spirits again.

"I couldn’t help but smile every time I looked at his goofy grin and big ears. Because of him, I started to love again; I cried less, but even if I did, I wasn’t alone — Mac would go find me and lick my tears away."

Adopted Dog Lil Mac

August 21, 2016 is a date that has been branded into my mind. My family and I received news that one of my younger siblings was in a fatal car crash. I was absolutely speechless. As the oldest of four, I was in denial that one of my baby sisters wouldn’t be returning home. That the girl I had watched grow and mature would never be in my arms again, her heart would never beat; she would never speak or reach her goal of becoming a nurse. She was stripped of the chance to marry the man of her dreams, become a mother, and live the life she deserved.

Losing her broke my heart beyond what words can express. I slipped down into a depressive hole, not willing to find anything to fill the void of her absence because, in my mind, that meant I was trying to get over losing her.

Adopted Dog Lil Mac

Around October of 2018, my boyfriend at the time mentioned he was interested in adopting a dog. I spent all of my spare time checking every humane society within 150 miles and searching almost every 15 minutes. One afternoon I immediately froze when I saw a little puppy from The Three Little Pitties. This boy was 6 weeks old, a Pit-Boxer mix and all white with a colored ear and a spot on his back. I was in love and immediately felt an unexplainable connection to him.

Adopted Dog Lil Mac

That November, I stood in a parking lot finally holding my boy. Tears of pure joy streamed down my cheeks as I held him to my chest. We decided to name him Lil Mac. I never knew how drastically Lil Mac was going to change my life. I had not smiled or felt genuine joy in years but Mac broke the cycle. I couldn’t help but smile every time I looked at his goofy grin and big ears. Because of him, I started to love again; I cried less, but even if I did, I wasn’t alone — Mac would go find me and lick my tears away (I always felt that was his way of letting me know it was going to be okay). He sleeps on my chest every night, head under my neck (which he has not grown out of, even at 60 pounds), and puts his paws on my shoulders to pull me in for a hug.

Adopted Dog Lil Mac

With every day we share together, he continues to remind me how important moments of happiness are, that life is better with peanut butter, and that it’s never too late for ice cream. Today, I continue to process the loss of my sister but thanks to Lil Mac, I now feel a little less empty and a little less broken. He has patched my heart in ways I never thought were possible.
He helps me celebrate little moments of success and taught me that love is always around the corner with a wagging tail and big ol’ smile.

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 Kayla won Three Little Pitties Rescue in Rosharon, Texas a 2019 Holiday Wishes award.